I met my best friend in middle school. She was quiet but when she spoke I knew there was more to her than she led on. We bonded over everything; we both didn’t have any siblings, we both loved music, we were both obsessed over everything the nearby outlet had to offer. She was my entire childhood and adolescence. As time went by, she slowly came out of her shell. She transformed into the person I always knew she could be. To most she became known as “talkative” a term that I had proudly been the champion of, but now gladly shared.
I felt like I had finally had the sister I always wanted. Society tells you that your soulmate is the person you are physically attracted to, but it’s not true. Your soulmate can be anyone, and to me it was her. She was the person I confided in for everything. I wanted us to be the most unstoppable force on this earth. Successful. Beautiful. Witty. Ambitious. I wanted us to be the dynamic duo.
Of course no friendship is perfect, but I early on decided that I would ignore all the small stuff that weren’t perfect. I told myself that they didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. We were going to grow up together, take on the world, and give absolutely no fucks. But I’m not here to divulge the greatest friendship the world has ever known, I am here to let you know that sometimes it’s okay to let go of a friendship you have spent a lifetime working on.
I had been friends with her for 10 years. A decade of long conversations over a bagel and a smoothie. A decade of advice. A decade of bonding over all the homework school bestowed upon us. A decade of ignoring every sign that she did not have my best interest at heart.
It was not until I met my current best friend that I realized what type of friendship I had with my ex-best friend. It was a jealous, selfish, and fake friendship. How many times did I have to pull a “Gretchen and Karen” and suppress my feelings and stay friends with her because it was better than not being her friend at all? How many times did I have to ignore the fact that she wasn’t happy for me when I received or achieved something? How many times did I cry because she put others above me? How many times did I have to remind her not to talk to a certain person because that person was bullying me? How many times did I have to swallow my pride and reach out to her because I knew she would never reach out to me?
There are too many stories to support every question I am posing, but I know that a friendship is 50-50. So I know I have been wrong at times too. In high school, I was the “boyfriend girl.” I remember wanting to spend every waking moment with whatever high school boyfriend I had. I know that she must have felt like I didn’t care anymore. But of course, once I realized this, I became the friend she wanted and the friend I wanted her to be. I started focusing more on our friendship and hoped she would too.
I can be jealous, selfish, and fake too. I am not a perfect person. But I can tell you with completely certainty that I would never walk away from her without knowing why. At this very moment, my ex best friend has no idea why I stopped talking to her. She has no idea why I got mad and walked away. Honestly, this isn’t even about why I walked away because if it was a petty reason than so be it, but no true best friend would let a friendship die and not even know why. She has.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time she has been willing to let go for no reason. The first time, she called it “growing apart.” I immediately told her I didn’t accept it, and that we should just get together and work on our friendship. Why didn’t I see that as a clear sign that she did not want to be my best friend?
I can remember countless summers where out of nowhere she would stop talking to me. I would see her hanging out with our mutual friends but I was never invited. I had to fight back my tears and reach out. I didn’t care about all my other friends throwing me away because to me, she was the only one that mattered. I don’t go around throwing the “best friend” term around. As an only child, I know what it means to have someone in your corner. I know what it means to be lonely. I thrive when I’m alone, but being lonely? That’s very different.
She’s not a bad person, and she will be amazing in her adult life. She will be what we said we would always be: Dynamic. But to me she will always be a lesson learned. No one should ever stay friends with someone who does not put in the same work. No one should be friends with someone who cannot revel in your achievements. No one should be friends with someone who can’t even ask a simple question: What’s wrong?
She is my favorite person, but I know that I never was and can never be hers.