COVID-19 has put a magnifying glass over a lot of relationships during the summer lockdown; people were finding new information about people every day because they had no workplace, school or social activity to depart to in the daily rhythm of life.
Social distancing has allowed me to develop a much stronger appreciation for my best friends. Accept for one. Unfortunately I lost a friendship, someone I respected more than anyone else: my best friend from secondary school
We were as thick as thieves in school, FaceTiming most nights even though we had spent six hours together at school. Even until two in the morning some nights, we’d laugh and joke about everything and anything.
But what I didn’t realise was it was a routine; something which – because she was a friend and there was a great sense of camaraderie – I completely shrugged off. Maybe she would call and I’d have to rush up to my room from my family; but i considered her a friend if not a part of my family.
We continued this lifestyle throughout school and university, and all was going fine. Then ‘lockdown’ struck. In the first few months, I felt completely lethargic and didn’t desire to talk to anyone. I sat in my room, watched TV and ate poorly. And she kept FaceTiming, as she had done all those years before. But I began to tire of my three hour conversations of nothing; I had no energy to laugh or engage even with the people closest to me.
So I avoided her calls, didn’t tell her why, or made up some excuse. And so naturally there arrived a boiling point, where things had to be said. I picked up the phone one evening in April and she questioned me about why I had been so ‘elusive’. I could have told her any excuse, but I thought to myself, what is friendship if it isn’t based in truth?
In my head, I rehearsed a Shakespearian style monologue. But in reality what I said to her was: ‘I don’t think we should talk every day. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and there have been times you’d call and I’d scurry away from my family to talk to you.’ She looked at me, a cold visage moving over her face. I could see in that very moment a clear shift in her view towards me.
She’d lost friends in the past, and she probably thought I would never leave her. And yet there I was telling her I didn’t want to talk to her. In my eyes, I was just telling her how I was feeling; I felt our relationship of seven years would survive this turbulence, but soon she stopped texting me like before, only replying with single words.
When questioned, she accused me of only wanting a ‘part-time friendship’ where she was there to entertain me, which was abhorrently untrue. In the past, I loved and respected her, but the more I thought about it, the more my view had changed.
It became clear we were no longer friends, and it stung like a hornet. I spent many sleepless nights going over what had happened and wishing I could change it. But I had to see the reality and progress with my life, fostering the friendships I still have.
There are still times now when I think of her and wonder how she is. But I’m glad we are no longer friends. In hindsight, I was clinging on to the past, to secondary school and someone I no longer am.
I cut a toxic relationship and I am better off for it. I don’t particularly miss her but I miss what I have lost; a close friend, someone to share memories and overcome challenges with. Friendships aren’t always easy, and only true friends understand. Be honest.