As a girl, I’ve heard and given the following advice many times: if a boyfriend gets too comfortable with you, you should remind them that nothing is permanent and your life does not revolve around them. So why don’t we hold regular friendships to this standard as well?
I met my best friend, E, at the beginning of sixth grade. We were fast friends and, since we lived just down the street from each other, were often together. Her mother was our girl scout leader and came to refer to me as her “second daughter.” True, E is often naive and a bit out there, but it makes things interesting. When we went off to different colleges, I knew we’d stay close. In the beginning we talked about 3 or 4 times a week. Two years later, we still talk at least once a week. In the beginning we called each other equally. Now, it’s usually me who has to make those calls.
E is very sociable, so it was no surprise when she made many new, close friends at her school, but what was a surpise is how I was pushed to the background by them. She still called me her best friend, still told me things she never told her college friends, but I began to feel like I was just there for her to rant at. The first Christmas we were physically together again, things seemed to go back to normal. We hung out, went on our usual walks, and gossipped. I noticed she had a necklace on that said ‘sister.’ It was in the shape of half a heart. I asked her about it and she said that the other half was with her suite-mate. She told me “Yeah, H is like my sister.” So I said, “like us, right?” figuring that after being close with each other for over 6 years, we could qualify as that. Her response: “Not really. I mean….we’re just best friends. It’s awesome, but not the same.” Ouch. A girl she had known for a semester held a closer relationship title than I did.
After that, I stopped calling her for a while, to see if she would notice. She kind of did, and called me once every couple weeks. Things went back to normal, and then she got a bf, which gave us a lot more to talk about. Or…maybe it only seemed like we talked about more because we talked fewer times, so more info had to go into each conversation. While she was in this relationship with a guy who she didn’t really like, she rarely called me, and every time I called her she was either with her bf, just had been with her bf, or was going to meet her bf. But when things went sour, guess who was suddenly important again?
Whenever we’re home together, we’re almost inseparable, and she’s the one doing most of the planning and calling me her bff. But when we’re apart, it’s almost as though she has an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. If she had to choose between talking to me and going to find one of her school friends, I don’t think she’d choose me unless she wanted to rant. And now she has a new bf who is also of higher importance than I am. Example: E is leaving to study abroad in France tomorrow. I’ll see her at Christmas, but we won’t be able to talk over the phone before then. So, I figured we’d talk a couple times this week to make up for it. I didn’t call her over the weekend because I knew she’d gone to visit her school friends and bf before she left. I waited until the night she got back (it’s only a two hour drive) and called her. We talked for maybe 5 minutes before she said that she “was tired and wanted to make sure she got to Skype with Zach (her bf) tonight.” She had just seen Zach a few hours before and had spent the past four days hanging out with him, yet Skyping with him was more important than talking to me. She said she’d make sure to call me before she left, but she’s leaving tomorrow, it’s night, and she hasn’t called. As much as I want to talk to her before she leaves, if she won’t make the effort, she’s not worth it.
We used to be inseparable, but she’s far from my closest friend now. It’s sad how a little indifference and small, yet hurtful, actions can add up over time and erode away a friendship. Maybe after we graduate and I move back home we can be closer again, but I know it’ll never be the same.