Having friends is hard. Harder than it should be! Time and time again I see so many people complain about others, but then they turn around and pretend to be friends every time they see them. I have been a victim of this, but I have also contributed to this.
“I see so many people complain about others, but then they turn around and pretend to be friends every time they see them.”
The first time this happened to me it involved my best friend from middle school. We stayed friends all throughout high school and everyone knew us to be inseparable — that was until I moved to Gainesville for college.
My move in date comes and goes and I had asked him to help me with moving in, but I got no response. Typical. The first week was rough especially without all of my friends by my side, so I ran to him hoping he would provide me with that best friend comfort he had given me for so many years.
Every text and every call ended with no response. It took me having to contact one of our mutual friends for him to just come out and say that he didn’t want to be friends with me. Hearing that hurt, but it would’ve hurt less if he said something sooner. I wouldn’t have been holding out for a response for weeks on end.
“Hearing that hurt, but it would’ve hurt less if he said something sooner.”
Although I’ve been the victim of this “we’re-friends-but-not-really,” I have also fed into it and stood by and watched it happen to someone else. For the sake of anonymity, I’m not going to use names, but it began with a girl. A girl who is not liked by many others. She has been seen as manipulative and toxic to those around her. She has some of the best friends who have stuck by her side for years, well, until this year. They have been drifting from her, but she refuses to believe that they would abandon her like that and she’s right. They won’t because they’re too busy worrying about the consequences of being direct instead of saying how they feel.
We were invited to a going away party. It was a Facebook invite, so nothing serious. I asked her if she was going and she told me that she hadn’t been getting the notifications, so she must’ve been uninvited. She was hurt and felt betrayed. I assured her that it might’ve been an issue within Facebook and she should ask our friend if that was the case. She did and she was assured that it was accidental. Everything was fine and she was going to go.
“They’re too busy worrying about the consequences of being direct instead of saying how they feel.”
I arrived at the party before she did and was told that it was in fact not accidental, but they felt too bad to tell her the truth. She came to the party and was ignored by handfuls of people, but the ones who have told entire groups of people how much they hate her and have been betrayed by her were standing and laughing with her, acting as if nothing was out of place.
She will never know how they truly feel and it’s heartbreaking. They want to drift from her, but don’t want to lose the convenience of her friendship. She has manipulated her friends into taking sides and ending other friendships and she has made them feel guilty for being friends with me and countless others, but regardless, no one deserves to be in a one-sided friendship.
“They want to drift from her, but don’t want to lose the convenience of her friendship.”
How do we get past this? It starts with being comfortable with sharing how you feel. If you have been friends with someone for years, you should be comfortable enough with telling them what has gone wrong within the friendship. They might not take to criticism too well, but it opens up a conversation and can improve the friendship or end it in an amicable manner. It takes learning to forgive them for the things they have done that might have betrayed or hurt us.
Some actions are unforgivable, but they should know that too. Friendships with a lot of baggage are hard to let go of and learning that, maybe, the friendship is the reason why you have so much baggage can be helpful too. Not all friendships are meant to last and looking at it in a positive light, rather than worrying about the consequences, can lead to healthier and stronger friendships. Rather than drifting, you might find that your friendship grows stronger because you had the confidence to talk about what was wrong.
Ally Rybinski is a video game design student at the University of Central Florida. She lives in Orlando, FL with her cat, Equinox, and spends most days playing video games and reading comics. For more from Ally, follow her on Twitter @allygoulding_.