- Hot Off The Mess -Our Last Text Was About Meeting For A Dinner That Never Happened
You open Instagram for the fourteenth time, you scroll mindlessly past all the bullshit and then there it is. They got engaged. You zoom in on the ring, notice that he got the hidden photographer just like she always said she always wanted; she's surrounded by her family, and she's happy. It's your ex-best friend. It's such a bizarre feeling. It's different than when you see an ex moving on with their life; this is somehow sadder.
The breakdown of a female friendship is actually devastating. Honestly, I think it’s almost easier to lose a friend when something big happens, when you can say “this is why I fell out with this person,” like there was a huge fight, or someone was stealing from orphans and widows. But there’s something uniquely painful about the slow dissolution of a friendship that you thought you’d have forever.
I’ve known this for a while, but have only recently felt it. I used to have a friend, a best friend, really. We met the first week of high school in the lunchroom. She was the polar opposite of me. She was tall, athletic, organized, and naturally beautiful in a way that she didn’t even have to try. And to make it even worse, she’s just a nice person (don’t you hate that? when not only is someone beautiful but they are a good person too?). We immediately clicked for some reason; we didn’t have much in common, but we both just liked to be with each other.
Her family became my family. I would talk to her mom like she was my own, would share inside jokes with her sister, and I was invited on the family vacations. Theirs is a family that is naturally warm and welcoming; they're just the kind of people you want to be around all the time.
I don’t remember the exact moment I knew she was my best friend but one of the times that stands out to me is when we went to Panama City for spring break. The second we got there we walked onto the balcony, looked down at the pools filled with hundreds of people (and semen probably), and then immediately looked at each other and we were both like, “we don’t belong here.” It just wasn’t our scene. So we spent the entire vacation together, just us going to a little restaurant across the street and laying out on the beach away from all the chaos. That was our relationship in a nutshell.
We remained friends for almost 13 years. And the thing is we never fought, ever. We really had nothing to fight about, it was such an easy friendship. But as we got a little older, our lives just started going in different directions. We stayed close through our college years even though we went to different schools, but after she graduated (I didn't), she got an amazing job and she was understandably focused on her career. Me, on the other hand, I was very lost from when I was 22 to 25, like, I was barely able to pay my phone bill.
I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I felt like the more stable she got, the more unstable I felt in comparison, and we slowly moved apart. What used to be hourly text conversations became weekly, then monthly.
By our mid-twenties she was in a long-term relationship and had a successful career, and at the time, I was still floundering. I was single and trying to find my footing and had no idea where I was going. We were always different, but the more the outside world defined us and our place, the more it emphasized those differences.
The last real text we exchange we had three years ago was about her birthday. I was unable to make her birthday dinner that night so I said we should grab dinner sometime that week. We never did. We just never texted again.
I didn't reach out to her because I had other close friends who could understand better what I was going through. She probably felt the same way about whomever else she was texting and drinking wine with. I didn't think she'd wanna chat with me about boy drama and what I wanted to do with my life, and she maybe thought I didn't want to chat with her about her steady long distance relationship and work events.
She got married over the summer, and it kills me to even admit this, but I cried. I wasn't unhappy for her or jealous; it was just emotional for me to see a family I was once a part of celebrate something so meaningful. I felt a sense of FOMO in a way I wasn't expecting. And it was no one's fault, which almost makes it worse: I wish I could direct my anger and sadness at something or someone.
This was a very important relationship to me and now I watch her life on Instagram and she watches mine. It’s funny (in the worst way) that a friendship breakup can hurt more than any romantic one could. The pain just lingers. Throughout my 29 years, I've shared more of myself, my secrets, and my insecurities with my friends, which is more than I can say about the people I've dated.
And during times like this, in an ongoing pandemic, and over the holidays, it’s fucking hard to be reminded that a connection has been lost. Everywhere I look I'm surrounded by love and happiness and togetherness and it just highlights how alone I sometimes feel. I miss those wine nights and Bachelor Mondays (even if Michelle's season is so boring) more than I normally would. I’d love to laugh with her mom, hang with her sister, and hug my friend.
You're probably thinking to yourself, "Oh god, just text her, Sam!" and I get that. I think that all the time, too. I'm always tempted to reach out and then I talk myself out of it: maybe she's mad at me, and/or busy; it's the holidays, she's busy; it's the summer, she's busy; she's married, she's busy. I've convinced myself that there’s no grabbing a casual drink together to catch up on what’s been going on for the three years we haven't spoken because too much time has passed and it would be awkward. And then there's the fact that she hasn't texted me, because what if there is something I'm forgetting, what if there is a reason we just stopped texting one day, and it's my fault. And then I begin to spiral.
And when I climb out of that coiled corkscrew, I think about being back in Panama City, secretly drinking vodka out of water bottles, laughing at the Christian missionaries who were searching the beach for lost souls.