Friendship is a really interesting union. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, most likely due to how much my friendships have changed over the years and also due to the fact that I just saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower last weekend. And I’m putting this below a “Read More” because it is really quite long.
I have had many friends in my life so far. Some of them lasted for only a short amount of time, and some have lasted for much longer. Some friendships have gotten stronger as I’ve aged, but so many more have faded away. These diminishing friendships were with people I once thought I would always have in my life and would always be close with, but I was naïve. We grew apart. They moved on. Time passed. I eventually moved on as well. Some friendships ended painlessly, leaving behind only a sweet nostalgia and many fond memories, but others ended with harsh words and bitter feelings about past events that poisoned all the positive memories I could have possibly had about them.
I have a really difficult time letting go. It’s very hard for me to no longer have people in my life that I thought I’d have forever, and its even more difficult for me to leave a relationship. I’ve had several people that I know loved me, and wanted to be friends with me, but treated me horribly and so frequently made me feel terrible about myself. I would feel physically sick because I feared they would leave me, even though it was I that needed to do the leaving. These friends said things to me that very strongly implied they thought I was stupid and they didn’t make me feel appreciated. But I didn’t want to leave because I knew they did in fact care about me, even though they didn’t treat me in a fashion I deserved. I used the good memories to persuade myself to stay, even though it was hurting me, even though I was physically and mentally sick because of them.
I missed out on so much because I was friends with the wrong people. I stayed home from school because I had terrible anxiety caused by my relationships with certain people. I skipped out on parties and camps and events rather than going and being faced with the chance that my friend would once again say something to hurt me because I was afraid I would show my pain and show that I was weak. I missed so much because I let other people have power over me.
I have always had trust issues, but these relationships made them far worse. The people that hurt me the most were the people that I once trusted the most, the ones that were so quick to replace me with other friends. Sometimes they even replaced me with people they knew because of me. It’s why I distance myself from almost everyone I know. I very rarely talk about problems I’m currently facing in my life, or about my family, or about my fears, because I’ve had people use them against me and belittle my issues. These people I called my friends hurt me. They caused severe damage that I don’t think will ever go away.
Not all of my friendships that have ended have ended because people haven’t been kind to each other. Some of us have simply grown apart, ended up in different cities and schools, and just grown apart. We still check up on each other. We still care about each other. And we never treated each other badly. We just aren’t close anymore.
And now I finally have good friends. Some I have had for several years, but quite a few I have only really gotten to know in the past year or so. I finally have people that love me as I am, and that I can be myself around without feeling unsure. (I have always been myself around all the people I’ve been friends with, but some of these people haven’t appreciate it. My current friends do.) I finally have people that tell me I am smart and talented and beautiful. I finally have people who put effort into the friendship instead of just leaving things one-sided and assuming they will work. I finally have friends who tell me I deserve to be appreciated and shouldn’t feel bad about leaving because I should be treated better than how some of my past friends have treated me. I finally have friends that don’t make me feel anxious and that acknowledge my problems and never belittle what I’m dealing with. And for that I am so grateful.
It took me so long to find people that treat me as nicely as my current friends do. (Other than my mother. My mother is perfect.) And not only are they good to me, but they also make me a better person. I love who I am when I’m around them, or even just texting them. I didn’t always love who I was or the things I did or said when I was around my past friends.
To the people I’m friends with now: thank you. Thank you for helping me to realize I deserve more than what I had. Thank you for treating me nicely and making me a better person. I don’t expect all of us to be friends for the rest of our lives, but I sure hope we are, because you mean so much to me and you have helped me to be happy again.
And to the people who have hurt me, I hope you’re doing well. I hope you are happy, because I finally am, and you should be as well.
I don’t regret the things that have happened in my past because they have made me who I am today. But sometimes I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time being friends with the wrong people. So don’t be like how I was. Choose people who love you. Choose people who treat you as an equal. Choose people who tell you that you are beautiful and important and worth the effort, because you are. And you know what? So am I.