I had a best friend that I met in college in 2010, and had a massive falling out with in 2015. Although “massive falling out” tends to imply that we got into some sort of a fight. In reality, she just sent me a message one day telling me that we were “going in different directions in life” or something generically similar, and then she blocked me on everything. I was left to figure out on my own what I had done wrong. And as far as I could tell, what I had done wrong was treat this girl like she was my best friend.
You see, during this same period of my life, I was in a Complicated Situation with a guy that I now realize was probably literally Satan. He’s definitely the worst person I’ve ever met. A dishonest, manipulative, cheating slimeball who walked all over me and basically used my heart to wipe his ass. You know the type- literally Satan, but damn was he cute. As you can imagine, that relationship didn’t exactly leave me with a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings. I was miserable almost all the time, constantly worried, and needed more emotional support than a puppy during a thunderstorm. I thought I could lean on my best friend for that emotional support, but apparently I overdid it.
That’s the inherent problem with a best friend, right? When you share everything with one person, it can be a lot to handle. Friendships can’t sustain that level of prolonged intensity. And so, she bailed on me because she got sick of listening to me blather on about the same asshole for too many months. On one level I was hurt that she couldn’t care enough to be there for me when I really needed someone, but mostly I didn’t blame her. I was the annoying, shitty, whiny one. I pushed her away with my refusal to get over a guy that was fucking two other women the whole time. What a dumbass, right? I’m still mad at myself for it. I deserved to lose a friend.
But I never stopped feeling bad about it. Even if I could accept that the friendship had probably run its course by that point, I still blamed myself for causing it to end so abruptly by being so needy and irritating.
So I apologized. Just this week, in fact. I sent my old best friend a heartfelt message telling her that I was sorry if I was a shitty friend to her or just a toxic person to be around, and that I was sorry for whatever I did that contributed to us no longer being friends. I even sent her a poem I wrote about her (it’s in my book), and how I realized that I took advantage of the fact that she “had to” listen to my problems.
And she wrote back to tell me that what I’ve thought to be my mistake for the last five years, what I’ve spent this whole time in guilty contemplation over, was not the reason that she cut me out.
No, she cut me out because she didn’t like the way that I used to tease her. Which is….not something I would’ve spent five years beating myself up over I’d known.
Because sure, she’d get really touchy about it whenever I’d razz her over something like using up all the clean drinking glasses to make chocolate milk or liking the band Green Day, but she didn’t ever tell me that it was a big deal. If she had, I would’ve done what I do whenever anyone gets offended by me making fun of them- apologize for it and remember in the future that they don’t enjoy that kind of joking. But I didn’t have that chance because she, in her own words, found it easier to cut me out of her life than to tell me how she felt.
All these years I thought I’d abused the goodwill of someone that would otherwise have had my back forever and always. Only to find out that she didn’t even care enough about our friendship to tell me that something I said pissed her off.
Sometimes you lose a best friend, but sometimes you learn that you didn’t have a best friend in the first place.