“You are so much better than this, and there is nothing that can make it okay.”-one of my dear friends, William, after the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I am envious of people who have best friends. I always see pictures of people with their best friends on vacation, or being silly with them in the car, or at Disneyland, even watching Squaresville (seriously, I’m super jealous that Esther has Zelda at this point)…I’m envious because I used to have that and I don’t anymore. I don’t have anyone I call my best friend, and I don’t have anyone who calls ME their best friend. I’m one of the “good” friends, one of the “close” friends, but never the “best” friend, and I used to be that person until a tragedy in multiple acts occurred, and it’s called “The Toxic Friendship.”
No, this isn’t a sob story, but it’s a lesson to be learned from experience and how to avoid it. A toxic friendship, according to Psychology Today (because yes, I totally googled the meaning when A. writing this article, and B. getting out of a previous one a few years ago,) is also known as “friendship abuse.” You know those friends: the ones that suck the life out of you, that treat us so badly yet we still are friends with them because of one thing or another, and how when it’s our turn to need something, they aren’t there. We know how to find these people, and as much as it sucks, our lives are always better when we cut them out. Because I am the most extroverted introvert alive, I do enjoy interacting with people and making friends that I become close with, even when, for the most part, I need to have my alone time and be by myself. I’ve had toxic friends before, and after giving them the benefit of the doubt many times, something will occur where I will have the courage to cut them out of my life and be done with them to the point where even the mention of their name makes me change the topic of the conversation because the toxicity of the thought of them makes me cringe. I don’t know why I put up with people for so long before I realize how terrible they are to me. Maybe it’s because I finally feel like people make me feel like I belong until I realize they’re trying to make me their doormat, maybe they don’t realize I’m a strong personality even though I’m nice and I’ll stand up for myself, maybe I just am friends with the wrong people sometimes, but I tend to be friends with people who are terrible for a long time until I realize their friendship isn’t worth draining my sanity over. But how do cut out someone you have considered one of your longest, closest, best friends to the point she is essentially your sister? When is the breaking point?
(My Best Friend and I over the years…someone I thought was my best friend, sister, confidant, and Main Person, anyway.)
My best friend became someone I accepted as my sister, and was essentially known as that. My mother even called her “her other daughter,” and after knowing her and being her best friend for nine years, Beka was someone I thought would be part of my life forever. But after witnessing her relationship with her old girlfriend and her new one, and reevaluating her actions the past few years and how she has abused her powers but always somehow made up for it in one way or another (yet I still questioned if I should be friends with her, which should’ve been sign #1 I was being subject to friendship abuse), she did something unforgiveable. For the past year, Beka dropped off the face of the earth. Seriously. One day, without a trace, after asking me for a HUGE favor (and actually it was my parents, which makes this even worse), she deleted her facebook, cut off her phone, locked her email, locked out of her twitter, and I have theories on why that happened, but sporadically, and I mean once every six months or so, I would hear from her in some convoluted and ridiculously complex way after endless searches to the point I used every string I could pull and after countless people asking me where she was. Her new girlfriend was monitoring her phone and wouldn’t let her talk to me more than five minutes, but I had told her to call me because I didn’t know where to contact her, I called her parents, I did everything in my power, but she still was missing, and when she would come back, she would blame ME for her disappearance, that I “didn’t understand what happened” without reaching out to me and letting me in. She put me through this for a year, and when I hadn’t heard from her around the six month mark, I finally accepted that maybe she had died and no one had thought to tell me because they couldn’t get ahold of me (side note: there were a lot of other circumstances I won’t get into, but I saw and heard a LOT of what was going on as well and tried to reach out to her to help her-she refused).
I had FINALLY accepted life without my “sisterly” when she showed up out of the blue on twitter of all things (through direct message, nonetheless) and blamed ME for not calling her, and that she “gave up” and that “even though you’re mad at me, you’re still my best friend and I can’t make you understand what happened” and that it was MY fault she disappeared. While it wasn’t the first time in my life that I screamed my head off at her, this was the first time that I drew the line in the sand and said (and I’m paraphrasing because there were a LOT of curse words in this) “if you want to fix this, do it. Your words mean nothing to me. I love you, but you have royally F***ed this up, Rebekah, and even if you try to fix it, you cannot and things will never be the same. A best friend does not disappear without a trace and blame the other person for their mistakes and expects her to just be OKAY with what she has done to her. How dare you do what you did and disappear for a YEAR when I have been searching for MONTHS for you, emailing you, exhausting every resource I had, and gave up because I thought you were dead. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a best friend anymore. If you want to make it right, don’t say that you’re going to and tell me what I want to hear, pick up the phone and call me and actually DO it. Otherwise I’m done.”
All she said was that she was truly sorry, which I immediately said (yet again, paraphrased) “don’t bulls*** me with your empty words when I know you’ll just disappear again. If you really want to make it right, you can call me and you can try to explain, but nothing will take away from the fact that I mourned my best friend when she disappeared without a trace, scared everyone that loved and cared for her, and blamed ME for her actions.”
By the way, I was at the beach enjoying the Malibu breeze, the ocean waves, and a nice cup of coffee after an audition that was more like a lottery ticket when this all happened. Try sobbing at the beach and running back to your car when you’re already trying to pick yourself up from a year of terrible situations. Life is a lot more fun that way.
I immediately got ahold of a few people who knew what had transpired the past year and what was currently happening, and when I said “I wasn’t being drastic, right? I had to speak up for myself and that was okay, right?” My dearest William said, “Honestly, she abandoned YOU. For her to f*** you over like that after what she did before she disappeared, she deserved every word. She doesn’t deserve anything from you except what you said. She is a toxic friend, and just because she may have been your best friend once doesn’t mean she is now because obviously she doesn’t care about anyone but herself. And there is nothing I can do or say that can make this okay. There is nothing ANYONE can do to make this okay. You are so much better than this, and there is nothing that can make it okay.” FINALLY, someone tells me something I can relate to-there are no words, no actions, nothing that will make me feel better about any of this, and that because she is toxic, she isn’t worth trying anymore (the other two in this situation who knew agreed and shared the same sentiments). If she calls me, then I will pick up the phone and hear her plead her case before she gets her verdict, but she’s put in the toxic pile and she wrote her ending. Honestly, I have to thank Beka, because not only has her absence taught me how to survive on my own, but that she brought me closer to people like William who actually CARE about me and my well being with the same amount of care and trust that I give to them. I miss the Beka that was like that, and maybe one day she’ll return to the girl that was my “sisterly,” but until then, that toxic friendship is gone and done.
It completely sucks, but one of the things I have learned through this is that the only person you can rely on is yourself. You can’t trust anyone in this world. You can create amazing friends (who, don’t get me wrong, some of the best people I have met in this world I’ve only been friends with for a short amount of time), and you can have best friends you’ve known since you were a child, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to figure out who is best for you. No one can make that decision for yourself, and in the hard times, the people who stick by you are the ones you want around the most. I have friends like that, and they’re some of the best people I know and the closest friends I have, and I love them, but there are also the deceptive ones who seem to be good for you but are poisonous and infect your soul until it’s too late. It just hurts that the one person I thought would be the least toxic turned out to be the most disappointing friend I’ve ever had. As sad as it is to say, until I find someone I can trust with the same depth as Beka that I did in the early years of our sisterdom, I will never believe in the idea of having a best friend again.