Friends are the family that we choose. We find those that share the same qualities as us and try to bring them together. You build bonds that you believe will never break. You face the harsh realities of life together, leaning on each other to make it through the days. But what happens when that bond is tested by outside forces? When that tight family bond doesn’t feel strong anymore and the people who were the closest to you start to feel like strangers.
It’s senior year of high school. I had a boyfriend for almost a year and the greatest group of friends. It was shaping out to be the best year of my high school career. After years of never feeling like I belonged anywhere I had finally found my people. We were always together, getting into things we shouldn’t have and going on great adventures. Little did I know that everything was going to quickly change.
I broke up with the boyfriend I had, which was inevitable. Unfortunately after that relationship ended I jumped into another one. A year long relationship might not seem to other people, but for me it was. I shared a year of my life with someone, growing and changing with them, and now that I didn’t have one I was terrified of being alone. I didn’t want to feel alone. So jumping into another relationship seemed to make sense at the time. There was nothing healthy about this new relationship. He would try to find things to argue about with my friends. Trying to irate them as much as he possibly could, especially my best friend. He took pleasure in driving them away. Too afraid to be alone I ignored all of their warnings. I would play things off as them being irrational, though inside I always knew they were right.
Slowly but surely my friends grew more distant. My closest friend wouldn’t talk to me or even look in my direction anymore. Everything I did so I wouldn’t have to face the world alone backfired on me as soon as I made an attempt. I felt small and scared to lose them. And to top it all off I was with a guy who had no respect for me, the people I cared about, or anything in my life.
One day he threatened to physically hurt my best friend. In that moment something in me said enough. Maybe it was two months of tension building up inside me, or it might have been my natural instinct to protect people. Either way, I had enough. Enough of letting people walk all over me. Enough of not standing up for myself. I broke up with him despite all the arguments he had for us not to. Everything he said went in one ear and out the other. Standing tall and doing what was best for me was the best feeling. Knowing that I was strong enough to do that gave me the confidence I needed to be comfortable with not being in a relationship. To just be happy being me.
I swallowed my pride and apologized to the people I cared about. Apologizing for not standing up for them when I should have. And I apologized to myself for not doing what was best for me in the first place. With time and lots of hugs, the people I cared about were part of my life again. My family was back.