Friendships are deep and meaningful relationships and when they come to an end, it is oftentimes hurtful to one or both parties. Sometimes, the relationship fades but other times it ends when it is harmful or hurtful for one or both of the individuals. It takes a lot of strength and deliberation to realize that a friendship has become toxic and is no longer a healthy relationship to be in. I was in one of those friendships. Towards the end of the friendship, I felt so much hurt and I was and still am haunted by certain aspects of it.
We were childhood friends and we had spent countless hours together going to different field trips and attending the same church youth group etc. There were even times that for one reason or another, we’d see each other every single day of the week. As we got older, the closeness started to fade but the friendliness remained, at least for a time. Slowly, we started to drift apart. He started spending time with a different group of friends, and became loud, brash and borderline disrespectful. He didn’t take his studies in our classes seriously, always talking loudly and joking around. I began to feel disconnected from him and we no longer spent time together. The last straw was when he and his friends started teasing/bullying my brother. It is NOT teasing when only one party is having fun. The harassment was horrible and my brother and I dreaded having to go to class with them. That was when I decided that I had had enough and stopped trying to be friends. It’s not a friendship if you’re doing all the work in the relationship. I thought that our friendship meant something to both of us. I was wrong. He changed.
It hurts to realize that someone has destroyed your orbit and hurt you while theirs is still spinning just fine without you in it. Sometimes it is unintentional, sometimes it is not. When they don’t answer your texts ever or seek out your company, then they make it pretty clear who and where their priorities are. Once I realized all of this, I stopped trying to be friends; it just wasn’t worth it anymore. He truly hurt me. Not only that, he betrayed the trust I had put in him and our friendship. He knew what was important to me yet he still acted the way he did. I don’t trust easily, I never have and I put my trust in him only to have it broken. To treat me badly was one thing but to hurt my family was an entirely different matter. All these years later I still don’t trust him but the hurt is starting to go away. Every year I wish him happy birthday in honor of what we used to have. We don’t see each other and we don’t speak to each other except for when I send him birthday greetings.
I put up many walls after this and I was even more reluctant to trust others. I didn’t want to open myself up only to be hurt again. This went on for years until I found a group of people who I could be myself around and cared about me for who I was. I still get nervous and second guess myself in my friendships sometimes and I still wonder if people are just being nice or genuinely being my friend. Every little gesture that anyone does for me always means so much. I’m starting to become a little less guarded and have learnt to start to open up to people again. I now have an incredible support system to confide in and share all the good and bad things that happen in my life. Most importantly, I learnt to not sell myself short in relationships of any kind. Do not mistake my kindness for weakness, friendship is a two way street and if you can’t respect that than we can’t be friends.