I have had a few different best friends. My sister; we bonded over Stockholm syndrome. My best friend from high school; we went through a lot of stuff and she’s still important to me. My best friend from college; still my best friend. I’ve also had the pleasure of keeping in touch with certain people over the years who i consider to be good friends.
And then there are the Don’ts.
I used to have the opposite of trust issues. I wouldn’t call myself gullible, but I was optimistic about the people in my life being honest and truthful, caring and considerate. Now I see that I was naive.
My superhuman ability to trust people created a doormat of a person. I would allow people to walk all over me.
You were supposed to be here at 6 and it’s 6:45? I’m sure there’s a good reason for it.
You only keep me around so that you can feel thinner/more educated/more sophisticated/tell a more stories/never feel threatened that the cute guy will choose to talk to you? Great, lots of pressure off me.
You want me to let you into your ex boyfriends building so you can have another confrontation? I’m your girl!
You want to only contact me when it’s convenient for you, every 8 months or so? I’ll answer my phone, no worries.
Your mom died? Please, let me introduce you to my mom so you can have some positive maternal figure in your life.
Wait, you mom didn’t die? But, wait, why did you tell the entire faculty at school that she did? Why did you need to get a loan from my mother and never pay it back? Why did you have to live with my mother rent free, take a free trip to California? Why did you decide to lie about your brother dying as well? Why did you lie about being pregnant? Is the kid you swear up and down that you had in college real? No?
Wait, why am I doing this?
That was the first turning point. Knowing that someone could lie so thoroughly about everything and get away with it, leeching as much as possible from the lives of people who care about them… I stopped being so optimistic.
Then there was almost 10 years of friendship that were voided when I gave a bad haircut. No excuses, a bad haircut is a bad haircut, also I can hardly remember what it turned out to be. I like to block out bad memories I guess. But what did get seared into my mind was the phone call where I was told some of the most hurtful things I’ve ever had to listen to. She was my best friend through so many years, and just like that the entire friendship dissolved. I wanted to believe that the good qualities of our friendship would outweigh the negative ones, but ultimately our friendship is one I don’t miss much.
And life without these friendships is less dramatic. I didn’t realize how much room in my brain was being taken up with stupid fights, hissy fits, drug problems, eating disorders, health issues, my own constant fear of someone I love killing themselves somehow just because I had decided to keep people in my life who didn’t deserve my trust. Life is dramatic enough. Now I don’t have to worry about the unnecessary excess of emotional baggage.
Of course I am not a perfect friend either. I don’t keep in touch very well. I usually say the wrong thing at the most inappropriate time. I also say the wrong thing at the appropriate time. I generally just say the wrong thing a lot. It’s taken me years to learn what the true meaning of loyalty is. It’s taken a lot of observation to understand what consideration and love look like when you use them. But now one issue I don’t think I have to worry about as much is being a doormat. I am who I am and sometimes that’s a pushover, but I also have a better idea as to what being taken advantage of looks like. And I couldn’t have known that without the help of my (former) friends.