I am a horrible friend.
Yes, it’s true. When it comes to friendships, I suck. I am stubborn, temperamental, and have an excruciating time accepting people for who they are if who they are differs from who I expect them to be. I walk away from people when I no longer feel that they are a part of my life’s story. It’s not easy to be my friend and I must admit, it is my own damn fault.
When it comes to ending friendships, I am a complete chicken. I hate confrontation and I just end up disappearing from people’s lives, like a phantom. I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who wonder where I went or what they did or didn’t do to make me go poof in the night, but I just don’t have the balls to tell them. When a switch flips in my head that makes me see a person a certain way, it’s impossible for me to flip it back. Believe me, I’ve tried.
I was speaking with my mother the other day and she was commenting on all the friends I have had that are no longer a part of my life. As she put it, “you cut them out without giving them any chances.” She started naming names and me being the argumentative and logical kind of person I am, had a reason for each and every one of them.
Take for instance a girl I knew all the way back to middle school. If life were Beverly Hills 90210 (the original, not the crappy new one), I was Brenda Walsh and she was Kelly Taylor. We loved to hate one another. Sure, we were best friends all through high school, but we drifted apart during college while she planned her wedding—though she eventually called it off—and I studied for finals. After a mutual friend passed away, we reconnected and I went on to be a bridesmaid in the wedding to her current husband.
When it was just the two of us, things were great. We had the close sisterly relationship that I always wanted and never felt like I had with Bree. We had a great time traveling to the East Coast, Hawaii, and Disneyland where people would often mistake us for sisters.
However, when other people were around, she was on the offense and I was on the defense. Kelly would belittle me about my academic successes, where I lived, how I thought I was so much better than everyone else was (never true), and how my relationships almost destroyed our friendship (again, not true). I constantly felt attacked and would retaliate in ways that still haunt me.
At her wedding, I was giving a nice speech about how great of friends we were and how people thought we were sisters when we were out in public. She interrupted to yell, “Yeah, but I’m the pretty one!” With microphone in hand, I returned her verbal volley with, “No, I’m the Mary. You’re the Rhoda.” To this day, I am appalled that I let her get to me and that I stooped so low to insult her on her wedding day. With 200 witnesses present.
But that’s how our friendship always was: sweet in private, hostile in public. Whenever I was around Kelly, I turned into someone I didn’t like. In my mind, I think that justified me walking away from the friendship though I never told her why. As I get older, I have realized that it’s just not healthy to keep negativity in my life and I have cut ties with those that do not have a positive impact on my life.
There was another girl who was the daughter of my mom’s co-worker/friend. My mother had warned me that Jackie Burkhart, though a few years older than me, was all drama. The first time we hung out, I thought she was great. She got my sense of humor and she could make a fine mojito. For the rest of the summer we hung out practically every weekend. Unfortunately, my mother had been right and this girl fueled herself on drama, creating it if need be. Friends, family, douche bag guy she was sleeping with were all a part of what made her dysfunctional world go round. When I started seeing these signs, I knew our friendship wouldn’t last through winter.
On top of the drama, Jackie and her friends were on the immature side. I’ll never forget the night we went to a nice restaurant when they started screaming nonsensical words at one another. I wanted to melt into my bowl of potato cheddar soup to avoid the looks from other patrons.
As with Kelly, I never told Jackie why I didn’t want to be friends anymore. I’m a coward and I really didn’t want to hurt her feelings. How does anyone politely tell someone that they no longer wished to be pulled into the drama of their life and are embarrassed by their behavior in public?
I guess I’m getting a big red F for Friendship on my lifetime report card.