When a Friendship Burns

After high school, I moved in with the person I considered to be my best friend. She and I had the same blue corduroys, pixie haircuts, and infatuation with Brandon Boyd from Incubus.

We were inseparable. We’d go out dancing three nights a week, get wasted, and take turns vomiting in the bathroom after too many margaritas. We screamed Linkin Park songs as we drove around aimlessly in her little white pickup truck smoking cigarettes. She was my soulmate, the Thelma to my Louise.

During the height of our friendship, we made a promise that if we never found love, we’d be there for each other, no matter what. We thought we’d end up two old kid-less ladies in a flat downtown with one cat and two dogs. We’d be chain smokers with curlers in our hair and sparkles on our cheeks. A couple of cougars on the prowl, we’d hit the bars night after night getting trashed and having fun.

Oh, the dreams we have when we’re young and stupid.

Our wild behavior only managed to last so long, before we ran out of money. When that happened, I regretfully returned home to my parents. She started dating a guy she met at the club, and stopped spending time with me on the dance floor. There were no longer midnight cruises with our favorite rock bands. Instead, she stayed home watching movies with him.

I’ve learned over time that one person cannot be the sole communicator in a friendship. Without taking turns listening and talking, without being there emotionally, there isn’t much left to hold it together.

Our friendship was losing importance to her, and our communication was dwindling. Each time I asked her to hang out, she claimed to already have plans. It was a sign that she didn’t want me as her friend anymore. I kept trying, leaving her message after message, but she stopped returning my calls.

Eventually, I stopped dialing her number.

Cherie Burbach, a friendship expert, says lack of communication is “one of the biggest reasons” why friendships end. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t figure out how to put the pieces back together. Especially after we had already put each other through hell, and made it through without a single burn.

She took boyfriends from me and lied about it. I took jewelry from her and kept it. We fought over who got to wear the neon pink leopard halter almost weekly, and who got the last beer in the fridge every time we were running low. But we always picked the friendship over the fight. Nothing could tear us apart, until we didn’t have that willingness on both ends to communicate anymore.

Then we had nothing.

Today, we both have kids roughly the same age. We’re both married. We both have our version of white picket fence perfection. Our paths have been similar, but in opposite directions.

I wonder if our relationship would have lasted, had she and I had been raised today. If she could have texted me when she didn’t feel like talking, or messaged me on Facebook, would we have been better off? Or would it have only delayed the inevitable? In my heart, I know even in modern times with better access to communication tools, she would have eventually stopped responding.

So many times I’ve sat in front of my computer with a half-typed message to her, asking simple niceties. But my fingers hover over the enter button, never quite ready to reopen that line. We weren’t destined to be forever friends.

Our relationship was like throwing kerosene on a bonfire: it was intense, fun, and full of energy. But a fire like that can only get so crazy, before someone has to suffocate it. 

Maybe after all these years, I don’t want to find my matches.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Earle/Stocksnap.io

Categories nonfiction, UncategorizedTags , , , , , , , ,

9 thoughts on “When a Friendship Burns

  1. I’ve had BFFs I thought would stick around forever but…people change, so do I. Now looking back I’m still grateful we’ve had so much fun even bittersweetness together. Those were the days 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. The way you wrote this, truly touched me. And make me think about relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You know I love this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I made a few changes to remove some of the persuasiveness 🙂 but mostly kept it the same. Glad you like it, Nancy!!


  4. As we evolve, friends will either grow with you or away from you. She wasn’t meant to be in your life. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Thinking Penguin March 4, 2017 — 5:13 pm

    It hurts to lose a friend, but perhaps it was for the best. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you’re right. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel this way about my childhood best friend. I had to make a tough decision, one to that both betrayed her and potentially saved her life, and she’s never forgiven me for it I don’t think. We talk a few times a year, if that, and it’s only a few messages back and forth. I’m not sure things will ever heal, but I know she has a new support system now and a plan for the future, that’s all that matters to me.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to travel460 Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close