First things first: in my adult life so far, I have never been good at maintaining friendships. I am a homebody. It’s hard for me to go out and enjoy parties and the “going out” scene, when I know that I’ll be perfectly happy staying home with my boyfriend, who is also very thankfully, a homebody like me. I understand that it’s hard to keep friendships thriving when I’m not always willing to go out to see people. I’m not particularly ashamed to admit that my boyfriend is my only friend, because at this point in my life, that’s the way that I’m comfortable.
This hasn’t always been the case.
“It’s hard to keep friendships thriving when I’m not always willing to go out to see people.”
Let me preface this story by saying that I do not see myself as anyone’s hero but my own here. In terms of being “ghosted” or being the “ghoster,” I am the latter.
I was in a friendship with a girl purely out of convenience. Personality-wise, we couldn’t have been more opposite. She never stopped moving, worked full time on weekdays, took on side jobs on the weekends, partied at night, went on roadtrips when she had the spare time. That lifestyle sounded like an absolute nightmare to me. You mean you don’t get off work and immediately go bury yourself in a mountain of blankets? When do you eat? When do you relax and recharge? I considered her my best friend, because she was simply the only one I had.
I can’t lie and say that our friendship wasn’t real. For the most part, she was thoughtful. She invited me out places with friends even though it wasn’t likely that I’d want to come. She was always aware of that, but invited me nonetheless. Heck, I wouldn’t know my boyfriend now if it weren’t for her, and for that I will be forever thankful.
“ I considered her my best friend, because she was simply the only one I had.”
We had been friends for many years before, and had our ups and downs. I didn’t agree with many of the choices she made in her personal relationships. She had a tendency to be destructive and selfish, and although she would ask for my advice, none would ever be heeded. It all too frequently became tiring for me, and we would often take “breaks” going weeks or months without speaking to each other until we’d eventually revert back to our normal habit of friendship.
“It all too frequently became tiring for me.”
Things started to get complicated when we began working with each other. A part time position at the fairly relaxed office she worked in opened up, and I was suggested as the person to fill it. It sounded too good to be true. I would essentially be getting paid to hang out with my best friend a few hours per day, there would be some work involved, but the office environment was so relaxed and there were so few people around that we could still be our goofy selves and enjoy the time, all while making some money. I can tell you now that working with your friends is almost NEVER a good idea.
Things were great for the first year. I felt my way around the office, picked up how the job worked slowly and gradually, all with the help of my good friend. Eventually I was able to quit my second part time job and take on more responsibilities and work more hours, all while hanging with my bestie 5 days a week.
“I would essentially be getting paid to hang out with my best friend a few hours per day.”
Soon, she began to take her seniority over me a little too seriously. Issues arose when she would “clean” out her desk, by essentially dumping all her paperwork on me to file. When mistakes were made, I would be thrown looks that said “Why did you let this happen?” when chances were that I had nothing to do with it. As someone who is incredibly prone to anxiety attacks, this became dangerous for me, as I would panic before going to work most days that I did something wrong and I would become chastised for it. I understand that the simplest way to solve this type of problem would be to talk to her about it, and let me tell you that I certainly did try. I let her know to be careful of the way she talked to me, how it made me feel terrible, and she would generally respond with an apology, but the behavior continued. Not only would she criticize my work, but even my taste in clothes, hair and shoes. To this day, I still have clothes in my closet that I still feel self-conscious about wearing because she criticized me one too many times.
“I would panic before going to work most days that I did something wrong and I would become chastised for it.”
While all this was happening, I’d put up a facade of friendship, mostly dealing with it because I couldn’t afford to quit. Finally, she decided to leave. This was my moment. I attended her going away party, and quietly removed her from my life. First a Snapchat removal, then an unfollow from Instagram. I stopped responding to texts completely. At the time, it seemed easiest this way, and now 8 months later I still stand by this decision. While I am still prone to anxiety attacks, I now have one less person in my life who causes them. I have one less person in my life who makes me feel bad about who I am, how I work, how I dress. I can absolutely see how ghosting her this way could be considered mean and selfish of me, but when she had proven time and again to be abusive and selfish in our friendship, I truly do not see how I had much of a better choice.
I’m perfectly happy with my boyfriend being my only friend and I’m sure that someday I will make more friends – people that won’t take advantage of me or make me feel less than what I am. And that is what I think that we all truly deserve.
TJ Harrewyn is a guest blogger for Make New Friends. For more from TJ, check out her instagram @tj_ebooks and @tj_eknits.
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