Things I Wish My Best Friend Would Realize
When I started this draft months ago, it was a different list entirely. Things have changed a lot since then. Without much context, this is a (long) letter I recently wrote to a close friend who has all but disappeared. I don't plan on sending it & I'm not expecting anyone here to read it. Simply typing & pressing publish is a good form of therapy
- •I hope you've been doing well, & that life is good. That sounds really simple, even trite, but that is the truest thing I could write to you.I have never been anything other than your friend, & no matter where we stand I will always hope that you are healthy & in a good place.
- •I have been thinking about you a lot lately, mostly since this time last year was when you needed me most. You have recently made it pretty clear that you want some space from me (which is why I backed off the past couple of months). I'm still not really sure why that is.Is it because you're tired of me? Did I hurt you in some way? You think, despite everything we've been through, that I have judged you? Do you somehow feel like I'm the Jiminy Cricket who's trying to make you live a certain kind of life? Or are you just bored with me?
- •I felt you pulling away towards end of summer into early fall. I've seen you do that with several friends in the past & I figured that you'd circle back around the way you always tend to. Your birthday (when I sent a gift? When you pointedly refrained from mentioning your celebration plans?) was when it became different.Then I tried to make plans for several weeks out (owing to your busy schedule) that you readily agreed to, only for you to break them 2 days later. After a few weeks of radio silence, I noticed you unfollowed me on Instagram (Bobby too, eh?) - & believe me, I never in a million years thought something so seemingly trivial & petty could hurt like that. I was actually embarrassed over feeling badly about that.
- •You don't want to hear from me or know what's going on in my life. So I opted to cease making contact, to not engage until you made the next move. It's been another 5 weeks since that happened.For someone who has spent holidays with my family, for someone who has helped me when I was lonely & supported my silly writings, for someone who has been so awesome to my children, for the person that I have scooped off the floor & whose tears I have dried to all of a sudden just...cut me off? I racked my brain to try to see how I had failed as your friend. That's how it felt initially.
- •I blamed myself for something I couldn't even grasp. And it took some time before I realized that whatever was going on with us, I didn't have much to do with it. Whatever is going on is all about you, which frankly shouldn't come as a surprise.I thought & thought about the past few months, the past year, the past few years. The ways I have tried to be there for you. The ways you have shown your friendship. Relationships of any kind are not always 50/50. There are, of course, times when one person takes more than she gives. But in good relationships, the roles eventually reverse. It all ultimately evens out as 2 people rely on 1 another & offer support or a laugh or an ear.
- •Support doesn't mean always agreeing with each other. It doesn't mean you always think the other person is making a good decision. Support is, however, acknowledging that the other person wants different things & that you will love her no matter The outcome. It's acknowledging differences but trying not to judge the other's choices.Relationships can't thrive when everything is always about 1 person in a duo. Or when 1 party just fails to engage at all. I wonder if we've been out of balance longer than I want to believe. It's exhausting feeling like I have to be the protective big sister all the time.
- •I remember all the ways you have been my friend. I remember mix CDs, nights you got me to go out when I was lonely/bored, giggling over glasses of bad (then later good) wine, you listening to me complain about the suburbs, complimenting my cooking, you playing with my kids & showing them how much you care.You should know after everything we've been through that I don't judge you or your actions. That I understand that we have very different lives, which is just fine. At this point, there isn't any blame on a lull in our friendship; sometimes it just happens. I remember us talking with wonder about how we would remain friends when we got older. I still hope we will.
- •You don't have to respond to this letter in any way. You don't ever have to bring it up ever if you don't want to. The only thing I hope is that we talk again. That you make room in your life for me too. There's always been room here for you. I just hope our friendship can continue with a better balance than what we've had of late.