Brittny, the amazing and incomparable founder of this life changing site says “write what you know”. I don’t know much. I know music, Doctor Who and World of Warcraft. I know that mixing clear alcohol with a dark soda is near fatal. I know not to mix my anti-depressants with pain killers.
I know silly things like that and I know I could write a book on toxic friendships, dependency and on not knowing when to let go.
It started freshman year of high school. I met a girl that I found extremely annoying. She was loud, awkward, and just all around spacey, even for my group of friends. I always said if you’d told me back then we’d be best friends, I would have punched you in the face.
I should have punched myself in the face instead.
Somehow, we became friends. We liked the same bands and the same shows but I’m not sure how we remained friends for so long. After a while, we hated one another. She couldn’t stand me and I was afraid to be alone so I put up with her taunts, her bullying, her constantly demeaning me. Every time we would get in a group of people, she would pick at me and make me look dumb. I abandoned all my other friends because she thought they were “toxic”. Every time I would get another friend, she would either make them like her more or just flat out tell me their “faults” to make me not want to hang out with them anymore. We stopped talking twice, and each time, she pulled me back in. She would cry and say she didn’t know why I left her like that. I would tell her how I felt, she would make me feel stupid for feeling it. I believed it.
Like I said, I was afraid to be alone. I had no friends but her, and it didn’t bother me at the time. Without her, I had no life. When I look back on how I was with her, I hate myself. I can’t believe I was ever that weak. After I found feminism, I learned the term “toxic friendship” and I begun to realize that this was not something that everyone goes through. You don’t treat the people you love that way, and you don’t let people treat you that way, regardless of how you feel about them. I kept trying to mold her into the best friend I wanted (photo booths in malls, heart to heart talks, lunch dates, etc.) and… well, she didn’t care enough to mold me into anything. The sad thing is, if she had told me what she wanted me to be, I would have done it in half a heartbeat. I loved her that much.
Even sadder, I couldn’t end it. If she hadn’t ended it, I would still be doing the same things. She was the one who said “enough, we aren’t good for each other” and left. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t even relieved. I was just… empty. You spend seven years of your life trying to make someone care about you as much as you do them and when they go, you lose your purpose.
But you find another one. I threw the same energy I spent trying to conserve our friendship into journalism, crafting, and traveling. I got back a few of the friends from the days I threw everyone away because they were “bad for me”. I’ve made amends with my weak, sad, past self.
And most importantly, I’ve forgiven her. I don’t think she was a bad person. She definitely wasn’t. She cared deeply about her other friends, she loved her family and her job. She had her moments with me that made the bad times worth it, at least for a while. I’ve thought about her a lot in the last three years, especially around March… she left in March. I think about what I could have done differently, what we could have done differently. Communicated more? Ended things earlier? Could I have stopped myself from being so dependent on her? Could I have been less… resent-able? I think about the concerts we went to and how when she had cats I hated them, but now I have one of my own and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me (don’t tell my boyfriend). I think sometimes how she was sensible sometimes, when she wasn’t being cruel. I think about how we’d drive to shows and be hoarse by the time we got there because we’d sung “Jamie All Over” at the top of our lungs.
I honestly hope she’s as happy with her life as I am with mine. I hope you can have the strength to realize a toxic friendship needs to be left, that sometimes no one is to blame when two people aren’t compatible. That friendships, like romantic relationships, are okay to leave. Friends don’t have to be forever.