Back when I was in high school, I considered one of my friends my best friend in the world. Eventually, though, I found out that I wasn’t their best friend too. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that this person wasn’t my friend until after high school because they never said anything about where our friendship stood.
One day, that all changed. My friend said something that hurt me badly, and from that day forward, our friendship was never the same.
“I’m tired of pretending to be your best friend.”
Those words stung — and they still sting. They don’t hurt as badly as they did when I first saw them, but I still think about them sometimes.
Am I still friends with this person? Yes, I am. Are we as close as we used to be? No, we aren’t.
After I saw that message years ago, our friendship hasn’t been the same.
I don’t know whether or not my friend wanted to hurt me, but regardless, their words did cause damage at the end of the day.
Although I’m still friends with this person, our friendship feels distant and awkward. I’m forever grateful that I became friends with them, though, because they introduced me to one of my (current) best friends.
The thing that bothers me most is that many of us don’t speak up when we have a problem in a friendship — and when we do, it’s usually too late. Sometimes we communicate our feelings about certain friends to everyone except those friends. When we don’t directly share how we’re feeling with these friends, those emotions often build up until the relationship falls apart and we can no longer repair it.
I’m guilty of this too. I never told my friend how their words made me feel — even though it’s been years since they said they only pretended that I was their best friend. I don’t know what would have happened to our friendship if I had shared how I really felt, but maybe our friendship would be stronger today if I hadn’t been so afraid of losing them back then.
Words can impact friendships for better or for worse, but we don’t think enough about the “for better” part.
Having open communication on both sides of a friendship can show you whether or not that friendship is fixable. If people were more open and honest with each other, their friendships would be much happier and healthier. They might also realize how much their words affect their friends.
Thanks to what happened with this friend, I always wonder if people see me as their best friend too or if they just pretend that I have that time in their life. My friend’s words changed how I feel about all of my friendships, but if they had communicated with me earlier on, I might not fear the worst in my relationships now.
Featured Photo by Surface on Unsplash.
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