It’s been a weird day for reminiscing.
I spent some time hanging out with a coworker while procrastinating on working. Bad, I know. But hey, it was a busy day and my patience was running low. We ended up talking about small towns, and running into people that we used to know, which turned into high school reunions.
A big part of the reason I did not go to my 10 year high school reunion is specifically because there are certain people that I don’t ever want to see again. Unfortunately, most of those people were part of my core friend group throughout high school. And so I was afraid of them either wanting to play nice and talk to me, or them not realizing what an effect they had on me and how much I’ve changed since I knew them.
One of those friends I will call R.
R and I were best friends for a few years. We were SO NOT FRIENDS when we first met, in fact, I treated her like an enemy and a threat. See, we both played bassoon, and because we were the only two who played starting in sophomore year, we were both in the highest level band together. But I had been playing for a whole two years more than her, plus I had a private instructor. So I was TOTALLY BETTER and how dare she encroach on my territory. Yeah… That’s all me. I admit it. I was a bitch because I felt threatened by … Something obscure that I had picked up that was mine and mine alone, that I defined myself by, and all of a sudden, here was this other person trying to rip that specialness away.
Anyway. I eventually got over that and opened up to R. Because the friend group I joined at the end of my freshman year, she was a part of. So through various iterations of us being forced together, we eventually bonded.
Fast forward to college. I “go away” to college. That is, I go to a college 45 minutes away and chose to live on campus.So, it’s not a terrible drive home. But not one I wanted to make every single weekend, for various reasons. Including that hey, I’m at college! College life! New people and things to experience! I saw so many of my friends stay local and live at home, and I wanted to adventure out into the world. Though, it was a relatively controlled and not drastic adventure. It was my first one, and I didn’t want to miss out on things. (What things? I dunno. But things!)
I was cruising through my “On this day” thing on FB, and amazingly, on this day, many years ago, I found not one but TWO examples of exactly why R and I ultimately drifted apart. Or rather, why I drifted away from R and just stopped trying to be her friend.
The first was 8 years ago. I made a post that said “[college] can die in a fire”. Ok… not sure what that was in reference to, but it was made at the end of the first semester of my final year. So I’m assuming it was something finals related or possibly independent study related. Anyway. Some comments follow… including one from R: “I agree bc then u could come home!” No sympathy for my situation, whatever it was. Just… She tried to take my problem and make it something positive for HER. My post. About me. She wanted to make about her. Like she was the center of the universe or something.
The second was 11 years ago, the first year I was at college. She left the following post on my wall: “hey you pain in the butt what… you cant leave me any messages anymore? our last conversation really didn’t accomplish much other than directions… when are you coming home?” Again… all about ME visiting HER. And “coming home”. This “coming home” thing is particularly bothersome. I didn’t want to “come home”. That… that was no longer home for me. Even then, I think I was set on not sticking around my home town for forever. I wanted to go somewhere else. Not sure where, but… I didn’t want that to continue to be “home.”
So, ultimately it was this incredibly self-centered attitude that just really got to me. In the four years I was away at college, I don’t think she visited me once. I went back a handful of times, but by junior year, I was really trying to make a life for myself around / at college. I had gotten an on-campus apartment, I got a job up there so I could continue to work through the school year (because tuition is expensive, folks). I had changed my major my sophomore year, so I was on overload for the last 2 years trying to complete coursework that was designed to take 3-4 years. And I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do after college… Masters? Job?
My new best friend, K, ended up changing colleges and majors, so we didn’t get to see each other much after that. But she still made time to come up and visit me once or twice during that time. And we’re still best friends now. In fact, she’s coming to see me in a couple weeks! I’m excited!
I don’t know if R has changed in the past few years since I’ve spoken to her. Part of me wants to give her the benefit of the doubt. But a much bigger part of me is convinced that she is one of those people that will never change, and we’ll just end up in the same cycle. At some point, I had stopped reaching out to her. Texting, facebook, whatever… I just… stopped. And she never, not once, said a thing to me about it.
I remember a few years ago, I was feeling nostalgic, and reached out to her then-fiancee, (who was her high school love and a terrible boyfriend but whatever) and said that I kinda miss her. He said she missed me, too. So I refriended her. And… I don’t remember what happened. But, I feel like it was the same old, same old, and I ended up unfriending her shortly afterwards. And once again, absolutely nothing.
I have one friend, we’ve been friends online for a number of years now, 4 or 5 years ago, I noticed I had stopped seeing her post on FB. I then realized she unfriended me, so I checked her blog… Turned out she took something I said really badly, it was not how I meant it to come out, but… there you go. But I really valued her friendship, so I ended up emailing her about it. And I ended up blathering about that, about how it hurt, and I didn’t mean to offend her, and I wish she had said something… really emotional stuff. And she responded. And we talked about it. And she ended up re-friending me, and we’re still casual friends today.
So… did R just never realize? Not care? Where was the outreach from her? Did she not realize that I was so, so tired of always being the one to make an effort? Should I have told her that? Would it have helped if I had?
This summer, K & her husband had a big house-warming / birthday party, and invited about a bazillion people over. Me & hubs went. And… shortly before we went… I saw that R had responded to the FB event, saying she was coming. And I kinda panicked. But I really wanted to go to see K and catch up a bit. So we went anyway. And pretty much as soon as R showed up, I told my husband we should go. Because I really didn’t want to see her. Well, I ended up running into her on my way to find K to say goodbye. And she was all “oh my god I haven’t seen you in forever!” And it started to sound like she wanted to talk and reminisce and pretend nothing was wrong… But I dodged out of that saying I had to leave, hubs had to work early, blah blah….
And yeah. It’s like she doesn’t realize how badly she fucked up. I’m done being the one to reach out. I’m not going to do it again. It’s too stressful. So… sorry, R, but, well… I’m not really that sorry. It’s not me, it’s you.