There it was, the unexpected name in an unexpected place. I had picked up an old notepad from the top of a pile of similarly old notepads. The name was written in my handwriting, but it wasn’t my name. It belonged to an ex. The emotions came seemingly out of nowhere as I stood there looking at it. The rest of the pad was a mix of notes from training at an old job. Between how to calculate debt to income ratios and the definition of a NINA was the name of my ex friend. We were friends for the better part of twelve years, and it has been about two years since that friendship ended.
I call her my ex because essentially we did break up. I know, that sounds crazy. Friends don’t break up. You’re thinking of romantic relationship. Are you sure this was a girlfriend? Are you sure she wasn’t a girlfriend girlfriend? Yes, I am sure of all of these things. And if you have ever had a friendship that ended, chances are you guys broke up too. Maybe they moved away when you guys were kids and you couldn’t keep in touch (you know, back before the internet). Maybe they went away to one college and you went to another. Maybe you guys had a fight. I am willing to bet that almost everyone in the world has had a friendship in their lifetime that is over now. Guess what, you guys broke up! Maybe it wasn’t all drawn out and emotional like this one is. Or maybe you just don’t have a flair for the dramatic and a captive audience like I do.
So, there I was, holding that stupid pad of paper. Looking at the name of a person that used to be such a huge part of my life that I hadn’t spoken to in almost two years (also I was beginning to wonder a little bit why I had a notepad from a job where my training took place over TWELVE YEARS AGO). And I wanted to call her. I couldn’t even remember why we had a falling out (BREAKUP). I wanted to call her right then and there and try and reconcile. Who cares about all the times that she said horrible things to me because she knew I would let her (she was just one of those people that always had to speak her mind*)… the constant belittling of everyone that wasn’t her… how every time something good happened to me she reacted as though something bad happened to her… the constant criticism… okay, it’s coming back to me now.
But it wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t even mostly bad. There were really good times. She was one of my closest friends for a long period of time. We went through so much in our lives in those ten years. We came through the other side of most of it with a smile. I’d like to think that was just because we were in it together, but it was probably also the copious amounts alcohol that we drank together. Either way, some really good times were had.
Now, I’d like to think that I’m blameless, but I’m an adult and I know that I’m not. I’m sure that I did a lot of stuff that she could write about in her own blog, were she to have one (like that time I wrote this entire blog post about her comes to mind…). I know that I changed. She changed too. It’s what people are supposed to do. Unfortunately, we changed into people that couldn’t be friends with one another.
I do miss her. And despite how this may come across, I did value her friendship. She was a great friend to me for a very long time. I hope that she feels the same way about me. Not too long ago I spoke to a mutual friend who said that she was doing well. That makes me happy. Even if it also makes me a little sad.
So, I’m going to throw away this stupid pad and symbolically throw away all the guilt and sadness I have over our lost relationship. Then I am going to literally throw away every other notepad in this pile without looking at them, because good lord, those were a lot of feelings.
*Hey you, are you one of those people that is known for speaking your mind? Someone that just has to tell it like it is? Here is a little PSA for you.
First of all, speaking your mind and being mean are two totally different things. You can be honest with someone without being a bitch. “I had to tell her that her shirt made her look like a purple hippopotamus in a tutu. You know me, I have to tell it like it is.” That is not speaking your mind. That is being a jerk and hiding behind being so free with your opinion.
Secondly, not everyone wants to hear your every thought on everything (she types with no irony what so ever). Yes, you may have a strong opinion on something that you can’t keep to yourself, that you must share with the world, or you will burst. That doesn’t mean anyone wants to hear what it is.
And lastly, there is a price to pay for being a person that speaks their mind. You want to buy the ability to say whatever you want to people and have them say, “Oh, that’s just the way that she is.” Then you have to pay the price. That price may vary, but it just may be the thing that costs you a friendship someday.
Forewarned is forearmed.