Can we be friends?

Friendships. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is to be someone’s friend,as recently, I was thrusted into a situation that was extremely uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. Starting from feeling like I was being rushed to feel the depths of emotion for a person that I didn’t have, to feeling like I was truly deeply concerned for them, to apathy, to rejection, to finally some form of normalcy and it caused me to come home each day, feeling quite like a plastic bag with soda inside.

entirely at the mercy of the person who held me.

it was a miserable experience but it did lend itself to helping me find clarity in what I considered a friend.

I’ve always been the type to dive head in when I find someone I like or “vibe with”, but multiple experiences through childhood and adolescent have shown me that this may not be the smartest way to make life long friendships or relationships. All too often I’d find myself changing to become the kind of person they would want to keep around, a result of the never ending fear of rejection one faces, due the the feeling of not being desirable or worthy of anyone’s attention. I learnt to hone in more to what exactly these “vibes” were, was I simply attracted to their presence, confidence, style of dressing, or was there something truly there that I saw was the potential for a friendship.

That’s not to say that I haven’t made some amazing friends along the one, but it’s more to say that those friends were almost placed in my life, rather than a result of me having worked to actually make them. ( I know my current best friends would disagree greatly) but it is how I often felt about them. I tended to never fight to gain their attention, or try to really make conversation with them, and very often I was happy to stay in the sidelines, if they got along with someone else. ( Why try when they clearly already have a best friend?)

I know what you’re thinking, pretty immature thought process no?
Just because they have a best friend, they can’t be your friend?

But well adolescent me was extremely insecure and jealous and the idea of my friend diverting their attention to someone else, was a horrible burning sensation in my heart. It felt like a betrayal, how could they do this to me, I was supposed to be the most important person in their life, because well, they were the most important in mine?


But the long lasting friendships I’ve had, have shown me differently. I wouldn’t place any of them over the other, in fact I’d go so far to say that none of them fall below any romantic relationship I may have, they would be of equal importance to me, if not more. They have never been one’s to let my insecurities grow, but at the same time they have never halted to make me painfully aware of them and the effects they have on my behavior towards them. A rawer painful truth is that I used to resent them for it. ( I wish I could say I was over it but there are still days when I hate them showing me the mirror but from what I’ve learnt that’s just human nature)

As someone who came from a broken home dynamic, reeling through the abuse of a father who loved me but didn’t know how to show it, I have always placed a stronger emphasis on the way my friends viewed me. I needed their acceptance, validation and love and I thrived on being the center of their attention, the “glue” of the group. It was only recently, due to the experience I mentioned earlier, that I realized, I no longer wanted to be that person.

I didn’t want to be prized about. I didn’t want to be cause of random bouts of jealousy of “hey wait you’re my best friend so you can’t be someone else’s”. I didn’t want it at all. In fact, I hated it. It made me wonder how my friends managed to stick around when I acted that way because I was losing my mind by their erratic behavior. They would throw hurtful accusations and then return with claims of strong deep love and concern and it was truly frightening and disorienting. And I hate roller coasters, or even slightly bumpy roads, so this was just a whole gauntlet for my exhausted mind.

I ended up going some place very dark as a result. I was irritable and lashing out at people who came to me with genuine concern and empathy. Watching yourself be mean to such people, just led to ever more depths of self hatred and I just wanted to curl up into a ball and never talk to anyone again, since it felt like I was regressing into a version of myself that wasn’t healthy.

I wanted to be healthy. I worked hard to be healthier than that version of me, and I feared it was getting stolen the more I stuck around, letting myself be concerned by this friend’s behavior. So, I stopped.

I stopped letting it affect me, a friend doesn’t treat their friend the way I was being treated. Basic respect and trust is a requirement for a friend and I wasn’t being offered that, emotional attachment can only get you so far, if the other person is unwilling to see where you’re coming from and meet you halfway.

Some of you reading this may disagree with me, maybe it isn’t right to just create emotional distance. Maybe my friend deserves a chance to redeem themselves or at least an open conversation where we discuss these issues, and you may be right. But I don’t think I have it in me, maybe it’s the fear of getting hurt again, maybe I’m being selfish and refusing to see their point of view, but when your mental health is at risk, I think that’s fair.

Not right, and maybe not even justifiable, but it is fair. I’ve felt extreme guilt over my decision to do so, because I do care about this person, otherwise this situation would have never occurred, but I think at this point it’s a requirement for me to stay healthy. I don’t know, I could be entirely wrong.

I hope we can become friends again, just not now.

– Alien Snig


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