I’d like to go back to the day before my 23rd birthday. May 27, 2017.
The day before everything changed. The day before I realized my own friends were holding me back from being my true self.
They say that who you associate with is a reflection of yourself. Hence why we have so much in common with our best friend(s).
Or do we?
I’m sure you’ve also heard that we tend to hold the same characteristics as our best friend(s). Whether it be our physical characteristics, our values, or our likes/dislikes.
Think about your closest friends for a minute. Do they have the same hair color as you? As each other? Are they the same height? Can you think of any physical characteristics of them, which are similar to yours?
All in all, when we click with another person, it just feels so natural, so perfect. Like nothing can stop us. We complete each other. She gives me a shoulder to lean on when I need it, and I am there to listen to her ramble on about something I pretend to care about. Because that’s what friends are for. That’s what friends do.
The differences that lay within our minds shouldn’t enable a broken friendship. As we grow older, we tend to value things differently than we did when we were a kid. For instance, money. $10 to a 13 year old means buying candy and snacks from the dollar store down the street. $10 to a 25 year old means gas for the car. We grow up, and we change. Our priorities change.
But what about the more complicated stuff. You know, the way we react to confrontation, or how we cope with feeling like a 5th wheel around your dearest and truest friends. How do we communicate these intense, and complicated feelings to our friends without sounding inconsiderate or immature?
The day is May 28, 2017. The sun is shinin’, my hair looks fabulous (it’s my birthday, so it better!), and I’m ready to spend the day with my favorite people.
I spend the afternoon hours with an older friend, one who I have known for years. Let me add, this is also a friend I frequently ride a rollercoaster ride with (metaphor). Within the past year or so, we have stopped talking on more than one occasion. The second occasion colliding into the weeks prior to my birthday. But we (I) swallowed our(my) pride and rekindled. We agreed that life is short to throw away a solid friendship, so it’s better to forgive, throw away the grudge, and move on. That we did.
Back to what I started with: I spent the afternoon hours with an older friend. We had lunch, and enjoyed our conversation with raised eyebrows and big smiles. We laughed on about the good ol’ days.
Fast forward four hours.
7:00PM, May 28th, 2017. There’s 6 of us. Two couples, my rollercoaster girlyfriend, and myself. We are all best friends, and have been since ’06. Very rarely do all of us find some time to get together, so you can bet we are all happy to be together.
We are playing a board game. Not a very interesting board game…so I can’t say I was having the time of my life. But, the boys were enjoying the board game so without ruining anybodys fun, I went with it. I continued to play.
About 20 minutes into the game, I excused myself from the game table, and stepped outside for some fresh air. While I was out there, my sister called, so it was the perfect time to chat with my sister.
When I walked back inside, my friend started giving me the silent treatment. She was mad I left the game table. She insisted I was “escaping” so I wouldn’t have to play.
And, well, maybe she was right. But in my defense, my sister called and I got caught up in the conversation. And mind you, the way I excused myself was very respectable, and if I watched another adult doing the same thing I wouldn’t think anything serious of it. Unless of course, the situation deemed necessary.
Fast forward, my friend continued to give me the cold shoulder. She was very offended that I left the table. When I pulled her to the side and asked her if there was anything I could do to make it better, she looked at me like I was some sort of enemy. All I saw were two aggressive looking black colored eyes (we were in a kitchen with barely any light)…but what I truly saw was a woman (in her mid 20’s) who possibly secretly hated me.
Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe I am over analyzing this. But the intensity was real, and it was present.
She answered my question and said “No, you are being inconsiderate of other people. We set all of this up for your birthday and you’re escaping. You seem to be in your own little bubble and we are all tired of it”
I started to cry.
I started to apologize.
My anxiety (very mild) started to kick in.
I felt like I was being accused of acting like an anti-social freak.
I apologized and explained myself.
I didn’t mean anybody any hardship. Why I left the game table is simply a result of my own insecurities. In that moment, I was thinking about no one but myself. I sat there, unfamiliar with this board game and not really enjoying myself. So what does my instinct say? Politely excuse yourself and get some fresh air. Hey, these are your best friends, so they should understand.
So…I went home that night asking myself so many questions.
Why did my friend take it so personal? Why did my friend get so hateful? Why did she look at me like I had just slept with her husband? What did she mean when she said “We are all tired of it” WHO IS WE?!
I felt attacked. I felt alone. I felt misunderstood.
Ever since that day, I haven’t talked to anybody who was there that day—present on my birthday. No one has reached out to me to ask how I am doing. No one.
The days following my birthday, I started feeling alone. So very, very alone. I felt like I was about to lose all of my friends.
Physically speaking, I wasn’t alone. I had my dog, Marbelz, and my mom. Oh, my lovely mother. But in my mind, I was seriously alone.
I started to wonder why my own friend couldn’t understand that any of my actions that night were not because of her. It was me. Purely, and truly me. I also couldn’t understand why she got so offended by my excused presence. No one else seemed to mind except her. Then it hit me. She doesn’t accept me for who I am. In fact, she flat out told me that she finds my personality unacceptable.
I kept trying to convince myself that this will all pass. And I don’t need my ’06 girlfriends in order to feel complete.
But to be honest, I was breaking down. In the midst of all this, I was also experiencing the end of a relationship.
I felt completely, and truly fragile, and I have never experienced anything like this in the past.
As the days passed, I started to get bored. Of course I had nobody to call and hang out with. So I needed to put my good time to use. I started painting. I started this blog. I thought maybe my happiness would reappear if I listed exactly the things that make me happy:
-Sand between my toes
-Styling my hair
…the list went on
I am currently taking it day by day–trying to find myself again. Your friends shouldn’t have the kind of power to define you, so if you are reading this and can relate in any way, try to remember that your friends should accept you exactly for who you are.
I realized, I am only 23 years young. I have many many years ahead of me. And although I am losing friends, I will find new ones. I will create new friendships and new memories. And I will find myself again. I now know the most important quality in a friendship:
A C C E P T A N C E
Nobody is perfect. Everybody has an imperfection, and at times, we tend to forget that fact not only about ourselves; but other people, too.