This letter writer fell out with her best friend after being ignored at summer camp – but now she misses her. Should she reach out?
I can relate, says our elder. You deserve better.
I’ve been best friends with a girl since 5th grade and we aren’t friends anymore. Over the last year she became popular and started to deprioritize me. But to be honest, I’ve always felt like I always made a lot more effort than she has. She used to completely ignore my texts when I invited her over. Also, I don’t think she ever tried to hang out with me, I was always the one to invite her to do something. Also, she now does things that I’m not comfortable with that she promised me she would never do. I would never do any of these things. Also, after our parting, even though she never acknowledged that we did, I was really sad and angry so I talked bad about her to some of my friends. Not too bad, just saying things like she was a bad friend and other things. If I became friends with her again would my friends get mad because I was so mean to her and now wanted to be friends with her?
This really started over summer at a soccer camp we did together. Flashback to a year before, she never left my side during this camp and even though I had other friends there she begged me to be her partner. This year her other friend was there, her new popular friends she’s known for two months. She ignored me that entire camp and was her other friend’s partner and didn’t even talk to me. Another time we were hanging out and she invited her popular group over and I felt completely uncomfortable because I didn’t even know them. Then that whole summer I decided not to invite her over and see if she would invite me. We didn’t talk the whole summer. Then in September, we didn’t talk much because I never initiated a conversation, proving I was the only one making an effort. We then were forced into a group together so we talked a bit and she didn’t even know anything was wrong with us. I guess she didn’t miss me too much, at least she didn’t act like it. I know she was a terrible friend; this isn’t why I pushed her aside for a summer to spend more time with good friends. Now I look back at pictures and videos of us and miss our relationship together desperately. Now I need advice, what should I do?
It sounds to me like this relationship with your BFF has been lopsided – one sided in fact. It brought to mind a friendship I had in grade school, middle school, high school and college. I was “friends” with Paula for all those years. She lived across the street. She had six siblings and always seemed distracted by them and weighed down by the “chaos” of her home. I guess I always felt a little sorry for her home circumstances. She was a sweet, smart girl and always polite and fun to be around.
The problem with Paula, from my perspective, is that she never initiated. She never made the effort. She always waited to be invited. So, if we girls (usually there were a group of five to eight of us who would hang out) were going someplace, we’d invite Paula. Paula never called to see if there was anything planned. She just assumed we’d call/include her. That went on for years. I still can’t figure out how so many of us kept her in our social circle. After a while, I think the message she was sending was that she could take us or leave us. She was content to come along, but equally content to stay at home. Yet, we always felt the need to include her. We thought she was a friend and couldn’t quite figure out the quirkiness of her lacking initiative.
In college she behaved the same way. Paula and two other friends and I shared an apartment on campus. We invited her to live with us. When Paula started dating someone seriously in college, he moved into our two-bedroom apartment with her, displacing one of our roommate friends. Shortly after that, Paula and her boyfriend moved out. I never saw or heard from Paula again. I’ve learned that she became a teacher and later a high school principal. Not once has she attended a class reunion. Not once has she reached out to any in our group of friends. She dropped us like a hot potato. I don’t understand that kind of friendship. It shouldn’t have been so one sided, and we should not have tolerated her lack of manners for so long. It’s easy to see in retrospect.
Your friendship is too valuable to spend on someone like Paula, in my view. You deserve a truer friend than someone who finds you convenient to align with at summer camp. I think you should invest your time, and feelings and true friendship in people who reciprocate. You’ll find the rewards from true friendships to be fulfilling and long lasting. You won’t have to question whether or not to remain/rekindle the friendship. You’ll know who your true friends are. They are open and honest and consistent in their behavior toward you. They put out the effort to stay in contact and they don’t do things that make you uncomfortable. They behave like a friend, with sincerity, warmth and kindness. I looked up ‘friend’ in the dictionary. It says:
- a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. synonyms: companion, soul mate, intimate, confidante, confidant, familiar, alter ego, second self, classmate, schoolmate, workmate.
You deserve to have real friends. This partial “friend” you described won’t miss you. And I would predict that you will not miss her. Move forward – not backward. Invest in people who will reciprocate your friendship by being true friends back.
Article #: 420690