The Case of the Missing Best Friend

The transition happened slowly. We weren’t the type of friends who saw each other very frequently and neither of us particularly enjoys phone conversations. Rather, we would typically catch up every several weeks for a few hours over dinner and drinks. Even when we found ourselves going through a longer than desired period of absence from each other’s lives, a simple text expressing the need to meet up because x, y or z happened was enough to get something on the calendar ASAP. So when she slowly started disappearing from my life I almost didn’t even notice it. At least, until things got rough.

By that point we had gone months without speaking to each other more than once. I knew she was busy with her new teaching job, her engagement as well as grad school so I told myself the “you have to be understanding” story. However, I started struggling with things in my last relationship and I gradually became bitter as I realized she wasn’t readily available to be the listening ear and objective advisor I’d become dependent on.

I don’t open up easily to people, and I’m very selective about with whom I share what. I have another best friend who lives in Atlanta whom I spoke with every so often. But I’m an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of girl, and this best friend was literally the only person I told everything to – including my secrets – without hesitation. She was the one I felt I needed. Yet she was nowhere to be found.

*Cue the loneliness.*

When the only other person you share your emotions with (other than your significant other) is unavailable, what do you do? You pick up and try to keep moving. But it’s hard when you’re doing it through the hurt, the tears and the confusion that you refuse to talk to anyone about. It’s even harder when you feel guilty for feeling bitter.

I felt I was being given a taste of my own medicine. I’ve always been that friend who never picks up the phone to call. Even worse, I’m guilty of screening calls and not answering because I’m in an I-don’t-feel-like-talking kind of mood. And if it’s not that, I’ve legitimately missed your call, yet my good intentions of calling back at a better time quickly get lost in my black-hole of a memory.

This is how I’d been treating my best friend in Atlanta. I reasoned that that's just me, and anyone who loved me would get it. So how could I get upset when the person I needed wasn’t there when I called? What do you do when someone you cherish, someone who had become so integral to your emotional well-being essentially disappears from your life? How do you adjust?

Well, I’ve gone through the experience of losing friends and, more recently, the process of realizing that certain people aren’t truly friends. So I’m beginning to think that this is the period where I learn to adjust to the changing nature of relationships.

My best friend doesn’t love me any less. If I needed proof, it exists in her poor attempts to respond to my communicated desires to connect. She has even randomly sent me a text letting me know that she’s thinking of me and misses me. These things mean the world to me and assure me that our friendship is still intact. However, the role she plays in my life has changed. It may be temporary, it may be forever or it may continue to evolve. Only time will tell.

The positive things that I’ve been able to take away from this experience include my commitment to being more active in my friendships (i.e. calling more or even just answering the phone often enough) and efforts to become more open to taking friends and family up on their offers to be a listening ear. While it’s easier said than done, life is not meant to be lived in a bubble. I'm starting to realize that ignoring and hiding from my feelings only makes things more difficult than they need to be, especially when there are so many people in my life available for me to lean on.

Nonetheless, I look forward to the possibility of having my best friend as a central part of my life again one day.


Image source

2 Comments:

M.S.J. | May 10, 2010 at 9:08 PM

Hmm, so many things I can say about this one.

"Even worse, I’m guilty of screening calls and not answering because I’m in an I-don’t-feel-like-talking kind of mood."

*Raises hand.* Guilty.

Opening up and becoming more responsive to people who have been trying to come into my life has been the hardest, best thing I've done as of late.

Its true your bff loves you no less - times are just changing and we have to adjust. In the meantime, you're not alone and I'm sure there are people trying to support you. Not to replace a best friend but to help you weather the storm.

BLUEBUTTERFLY | May 10, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Absolutely beautiful reflection of this are they were, are, AND MOST IMPORTANT, as you are hoping they will be.

I love it!!!

Post a Comment