Imagine that you have just found out that your friend was supposedly gossiping about you to some random girl. Not only sharing things about you with a stranger, but telling lies too.
How broken you’d be, right? This happened to me. When I found out about what happened, I was really heartbroken; I was so sad. I asked myself, “Why would my friend do that to me?”
So let’s take a step back to my earlier years in this friendship.
I met, let’s call her Sarah, at university. I still remember the first time I saw her. I was late for my entrance test and I asked her if I was in the right place; she said yes and we didn’t talk again.
Fast forward to our acceptance and the first day of class. I saw her sitting on the steps and I immediately recognised her. From there on, we were basically friends.
Throughout my years at university, we were friends, and we were, in retrospect, fine. However, what I immediately noticed was that she was not one to open up, not at all. I’d call our friendship surface-level because up until this day, I really don’t know who she is. I don’t know what she likes in guys; I don’t know what she’s doing with her life. I know nothing.
In my third year at university, I noticed a shift in Sarah’s behaviour. She got closer to another girl in our class. This was fine, I assure you, but what bugged me was that she pushed me aside even more and I wasn’t sure why; I’m still not. I’d like to think it’s because of my personality; I’m quite straightforward and blunt, and what I say may sometimes not be too nice, but I mean it all in good faith. I mean, isn’t that what friends do – they’re honest with you? I know that when my friends tell me something, it’s because they care and want to see me happy.
As I said before, I found out about her gossiping and such. Naturally, I couldn’t believe it, and I called her to ask what was going on. She assured me that she never said anything remotely as I had heard. I didn’t know what to believe at that point, I’m still unsure. I don’t know whether I should defend my friend or whether there is some truth in what happened.
I feel that bonding and spending time together as friends are so important. Sarah would never really make plans with me, and when she did, we never really spoke much.
I do care about and love her as my friend. I’m just not sure whether I can continue to trust her.
I’m not saying that we should text each other every day, not at all! I just want her to take the initiative and message me once in a while and say, “Hey Amber, how are you? I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
I know that Sarah goes through certain things, like body issues and eating troubles. I know this because we share a common friend and she tells me how Sarah feels. I’d love to help her and give her my thoughts and advice, but she doesn’t come to me when she struggles. Am I the problem? Am I perhaps not approachable?
I’ve long since given up trying to push this friendship. I’ve tried for far too long. Don’t get me wrong, I still see Sarah now and then in a group setting. I just hope in the future that our bond as friends will strengthen.
I reached out to some women and asked them for their advice on how to make a friendship work. This is what they had to say:
Be there for them; don’t make it a competition if they’re winning. Celebrate them; genuinely be happy for them. Check up on them and do something nice for them unexpectedly.
To make a female friendship work, you have to always be there for her; not all in her business, but listen to her when she needs you. Try not to judge her but give her good advice. To respect each other and celebrate each other’s differences, respect each other’s boundaries. Be sincere and be discreet about what she shares with you in confidence.
I hope your friendship journey is a little less complex than mine. Remember, check in with your friends every now and again; it’s what friends should do.
Tell us: Have you ever had a complex friendship with someone?
Read more here on toxic friendships.