I was never the girl to have a ton of friends and go out every weekend. Sure, I talked to a lot of people in class, but those conversations rarely left the classroom. I went to a small school where everyone knew everyone in a sense, and there were primarily two social groups in our grade: the “popular” kids, and then everyone else who formed their own cliques. Needless to say, I didn’t really belong in any of the cliques, and either did the four other people I claimed as my best friends.
Originally, there was just two of us, and then three, four, and eventually five. Now it’s just down to me and one other, and one we occasionally see. I’ve managed to piss off the other two.
We’re all juniors now, but the original four of us had been friends since freshmen year, with the fifth one joining sometime sophomore year. I was always closest with the one I met first; a lanky awkward ball of a girl who had a love for anime and science; and even though we barely had anything in common, we were rarely seen without each other. Besides her not appreciating my love for writing and me not understanding her knowledge of chemistry, we would fight all the time, and mainly about life choices we thought the other one was attacking. It got to a point where that was all we would do: hang out, fight, not talk to each other, empty apologies and forgiveness, and repeat. I became closer to other people when we weren’t talking, and they shed some light on the unhealthy friendship we had, but I hated letting people go, so she stayed.
The other one I managed to piss off, the one who joined in the middle of sophomore year, originally joined because I was annoyed at the first one and I wanted a steadier girl friend. To put it simply, she has a “I don’t care about the world” attitude, and at first it comes off as “hey this person is really chill and really interesting,” which was a nice change of pace, but eventually it becomes annoying when she complains about a bad grade in a class that she skipped often. She was also heavily self centered, and would chastise you if your opinion didn’t match hers or if she didn’t get her way. I started to feel trapped in the friendship because of her mindset; she wasn’t a bad person or anything, we just didn’t click.
Being with the both of them made me feel trapped. Like I wasn’t smart enough because I didn’t speak science, or that I was too naive in my hopes to be a writer, or just the plan fact that I was nothing like either of them. They both seemed to downplay my problems; never being there for me, but always expecting me to be there for them. Everything seemed on edge because all I wanted to do was to please my friends but it seemed so impossible. And I’m no walk in the park either, I have my own baggage and lug it around, but to not be bothered by not speaking to your “best friends” is a sign that maybe the friendship wasn’t meant to last.
We each had our own fights and arguments, me with the last and then me with the first, over separate topics, but both coincidentally originating from the topic of boys, which seemed to be the end. And I was upset at first, upset for losing close friends, and upset for feeling alone. But I was never truly alone; I had my partner-in-crime, connected by the hip best friend with me at all times, plus my friends outside of our tiny high school. I started talking to other people, leaving the bound security I thought I felt in our old tight friend group.
They were an unnecessary negative influence on my mindset, and losing them made a positive impact. Yes, I miss always having someone to call up and gossip with, but did gossiping have to come with extra insecurities about my writing? Or with them always bashing my boyfriend and making him feel disliked and unwanted? Or with them making me feel uncomfortable whenever politics or religion was talked about? I always wanted a small but secure group of friends, but not one where I felt on the outside at times. People say you don’t get to choose your friends, friendships just happen, but you shouldn’t feel stuck with people just because none of you have anyone better to befriend. When you start to feel “stuck” with someone, then you know it isn’t real.
I feel free now. I felt trapped with them, and now I feel free. I laugh more, and I bake. I’m trying out a vegetarian lifestyle, and I’m writing more and more. I’m expanding my social boundaries and meeting new people. I may just walk in a pair now, sometimes a trio, but it’s less restraining. Losing the two anchors of my social circle that were drowning me instead of keeping me afloat is showing me that I’m my own anchor.