To All 5 Of My Ex-Best Friends, Thank You For The Life Lessons

To All 5 Of My Ex-Best Friends, Thank You For The Life Lessons

I could have avoided a broken heart had I actually paid attention to "Mean Girls."

I've finally come to terms with who I am, what I value in myself and what I value in friends. Thank you to all five of you for teaching me these life lessons well before my 20s.

1. To the 2nd grader BFF who ditched me for the popular girl...

You never seemed sure of what to do with our friendship, so when I started going through a hard time, you didn't stick around to see how it'd work out. Second grade was a rough time, but it became worse with the release of "Mean Girls." Little kids did an A+ job copying cliques, especially that one scene where your best friend suddenly leaves you to become best friends with the girl you secretly hate because she's always making fun of you. Yep, no beating around the bush. However, early disappointments helped prepare me to suck it up when all our other friends started ostracizing me as well.

So, thanks, for teaching me that people don't need a good reason to leave you.

2. Best friend number two: anime violence in its human form

Our childhood was forever imprinted with the rage of "Naruto" and the birth of an entire generation of weaboos, so recess fights were oftentimes more bloody than not. Play fights became a lot more hardcore, because what kind of ninja were you if you couldn't unleash a low spinning kick at the speed of light — Rock Lee style. Though I officially embraced the ninja life after graduating high school, I was just a punching bag in the fourth grade. I never knew how to successfully tell her to stop actually hitting me during our playfights, because saying, "That hurts, stop," was unclear, apparently. I didn't know how to stand up for myself and forcefully stop her without feeling like I was being "too harsh."

So I just went along with it, grimacing through the pain. Until one day... she kicked another kid. And that kid cried. Hard. Not only did my best friend have to tearfully apologize to our classmate, but she also had to sit in time-out for the rest of recess. My best friend understood she had misbehaved by hitting the other kid. But then what about all the times I was shin-kicked?

I confronted her about it but never got an apology. However, I learned a vital lesson.

Thank you for teaching me that physical abuse is never okay, even if it's just a "game," and they claim to be your "friend."

3. Seventh-grade bestie, back when we both needed reality checks

In seventh grade, you were an amazing, supportive best friend. When we ended up in different schools for eighth grade, I knew it would be harder to stay in touch, but we always tried our best — except, I was making new friends, getting along with kind teachers and finally gaining self-confidence whereas you were still hanging with our toxic ex-friends. This changed you. I understood why, even then. It's hard to be happy for someone, even if that someone is your best friend, if you're having going through the worst period of your life, and they're having a grand ol' time. There was an emotional disconnect. That's why you lashed out and tore me down whenever I shared my accomplishments. You just wanted your best friend back. But I wasn't that girl anymore.

I'm sorry if I hurt you, but I don't regret breaking off our friendship. If I could go back in time, I would still switch schools. If I could go back to that night, I would still hit send on that final email.

Losing you was hard, but losing myself to keep you would have broken us both. Inevitably, you taught me that self comes first, then friends. People will always demand your time, energy and attention. It's up to you to meet your own needs first by setting standards.

Thank you for showing me that people can change with time and distance, for the better or worse.

4. Then, the girl who fancied herself as "the one who got away"

Fool me once, shame on you. Fooled me twice, shame on me. That was exactly the case with my ninth grade homegirl. She was intense, could keep up with my adventurous antics and always strived to be on top. She was the reason why I started to take school seriously and actually put in effort to work towards getting straight A's. Except, once I started doing well, she became antagonistic. It wasn't like I was doing much better than her, but instead of encouraging my progress, she would either verbally downplay my achievements in comparison to hers or worse, try to destroy my work.

I remember in biology class, we had an extra credit opportunity to write anagrams of a vocabulary term. No one took it seriously, except my best friend and I who made it a friendly game. We hustled for three days straight, googling every combination possible and racking up our word counts to 800 for her and 1000 for me. Our teacher was flabbergasted. "I should offer more extra credit if y'all feel so passionately about it," she exclaimed, trading off my print-outs for a homework pass. All our friends were bemusedly surprised, congratulating me — except my best friend. She just grinned widely. Then, she snatched the homework pass from my hands and pranced around the classroom, daring me to "come get it." What I thought was just teasing took a turn when she tore up the pass and threw the remains on my desk. The rest of my friends were stunned, and I just stood there, memories flashing through my mind, like wow, shouldn't you have known better, three ex-best friends later?

I realized that one of the reasons she had been friends with me because I was beneath her. I had lower grades. I wasn't as assertive. I didn't participate in any extracurriculars or contests. As soon as I raised my grades, somehow became likable and began taking part in school activities, she lashed out. My own best friend didn't like it when I did well. We're still acquaintances today, but since that day, there has always been a gaping fissure between us.

Nonetheless, thank you for showing me that sometimes, life hands you lemons a second time to teach you the lesson you didn't learn the first time around.

5. The fade-out bestie who was always too busy to keep in touch

You were the bestest friend out of every single one of these girls. You were there for me from childhood to now. When I was struggling, you'd give me a pep talk. When I accomplished something, you'd celebrate with me. You held my hand through so many stages of life that if the memory of you were erased from my brain, then half my life would be blank without your presence. I loved you. I still love you. I think you're one of the most amazing people I know. But unfortunately, I just couldn't be that best friend for you then or now.

I still wonder, if maybe I had tried harder, if I had put in more time, if we had hung out longer or shared more secrets, would things have been different? Where did we go wrong? At what point did I miss my timing? There are too many years to flip through.

And nearly a decade later, I've come to the conclusion: you can love someone with all your heart, you can do your best to change yourself for them, but if you both don't belong together, you just naturally won't stay together. No amount of me wanting that or you wishing things could be different will change that. You cared, and you still care, but you didn't invest. You didn't prioritize me the way you prioritize the members of your squad. And I don't know what else to say, except that I still think all of you are great girls.

As a crew of BFFs, y'all rule.

I'm just not part of that squad, and I'm not your best friend. Let's be real, a girl with emotional baggage like mine? I was never cut out for the #squadlife. Let's just stick to friends.

Thank you for teaching me that, even if you put time and effort into a friendship, sometimes it's just not meant to work out, and that's OK.

Wherever you all are now, I hope you're enjoying the best in life, achieving all your dreams and spending quality time with some wonderful, true friends who will stick by you for the rest of your life.

As for me? I've taken all your lessons to heart. I'm going to do my best to become a loving, attentive friend to the ones who are still standing by my side. Thanks for taking part in making me the strong woman I am today.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Suhyeon Choi

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This Is What Happens When A 3-Person Friend Group Stops Being Friends

What was once three best friends is now two guys and a stranger.

Once in a blue moon, you meet these people and just click. It is insanely easy to get along with them and the world just seems right.

In 7th grade, there was this girl who met two guys and just that happened. They all became the best of friends; they just clicked. All the way through middle school and most of high school they were inseparable.

Sadly, things didn't stay that way.

When they first became friends, it was definitely a random combination. While they were all interested in different things, they had one thing in common: each other. After middle school, they basically spent the summer staying in touch, preparing for high school, and spending time together.

In high school, things were going great! Everyone knew them as the three kids who were always together and if someone was missing, they had the answers to where he/she was. Freshman year flew by and the three friends stayed closer than ever.

During sophomore year, one of the guys got a girlfriend, and thankfully nothing changed. They all welcomed her in and treated her as their own. Life was great for those three, now four.

But soon, things would change.

The second guy got a girlfriend and she was not as accepting of the close friendship of the three as the first guy's girlfriend. She was sometimes controlling and demeaning, and when things weren't going her way, it was no way. This caused issues within the friendship, eventually breaking it apart. Soon, it went from three (and a girlfriend) to two, and life was completely different.

Fast forward to the middle of junior year and things were getting worse between guy #2 and his girlfriend. As good friends the other two wanted to tell him to just get out of the relationship before it progressed, but he was stubborn, and he wouldn't have listened to them anyway. Over time they broke up, but the friendship took a while to get back to where things used to be.

Starting senior year, the three were back stronger than ever. It looked as though nothing had ever happened between them, and no one would ever know the difference. In the fall of that school year, guy #2 got another girlfriend.

At first, things were great, he was the same guy he'd been before the relationship. Progressively he got more distant from his female friend because of his new girlfriend, and guy #1 did nothing to stop it. The two boys still stayed close but pushed the girl farther and farther away.

Over Christmas break, the boys stopped talking to the girl altogether. For two weeks they had absolutely nothing to do with her. While they hung out together and with their girlfriends (since now they both had girlfriends), they no longer spoke to the girl they've had in their lives for the last 6 years.

Now, the girl doesn't talk to the guys as often (basically never) and when she does it's only when she has to. Things aren't the same with these three "best friends" and likely never will be again.

But here's where the plot thickens... that girl was me. This is the (partial) story of how I lost my (ex) best friends to their girlfriends.

Although only one of the two guys still has a relationship with his girlfriend, the friendship has never recovered. Soon, we won't have to see one another again. Between graduating and starting college, I will finally get my fresh start. Sure, sometimes I miss them and miss having people to talk to about any little thing, or being their female voice of reason, but I won't miss being the second choice.

They chose their girlfriends over their best friend and unfortunately it's a bit too frustrating to worry about any longer. It's time to say goodbye to a friendship that once was.

I wish them both the best in life and love, but it's time for me to finally focus on myself.

My own happy and healthy relationships.

A new beginning.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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10 Things That Happen When You Reunite With Your College Friends

The best years of your life give you best friends for life.

Oh, adulthood.

Remember how excited you were to finally receive your diploma and put the days of midterms and final exams well behind you? And while life after graduation is a time of self-discovery and responsibility, your college years were the ones where you were carefree and adventurous and you and your friends could somehow make it out to the bars four nights a week.

Those were the years that defined you, that made you the prosperous and thriving adult that you are today. And there's nothing better than reliving the glory days with the people who were by your side through it all.

1. You take Jell-O shots like you're 21 again

Once upon a time at a university party far, far away someone decided to combine blue raspberry Jell-O with Fleischman's vodka and a tradition was born. Fast-forward five years later, two years past graduation when you all get together for so-and-so's housewarming party and someone breaks out those same blue raspberry Jell-O shots and you suddenly feel like it's freshman year all over again.

2. You prepare for a weekend of drinking like you haven't experienced in nearly a year

It doesn't matter the occasion - whether it's because your fraternity brother is gonna be in town for the weekend for a conference or because your old college roommate is visiting her cousin - you know that once night falls, you will pretend that your liver is suddenly a young and willing virgin.

3. You reminisce about all of the awful one-night stands and random hookups you had in college

Amongst old friends, nothing is off limits. And when it comes to the people who have seen you fun-drunk and dancing on a table or blackout drunk and crying about the fact that you broke the strap on your sandal, nothing rounds out a Friday night like recalling the time you hooked up with your Biology TA and ended up getting an A in your lab class.

4. All of your conversations are about boring, adult stuff

Phoebe got a new job, Rachel and Chandler got engaged, Ross is buying a house, and Monica was just made partner in her firm. You used to have conversations about who hooked up with who in the bathroom of the bar on Saturday night and how JD and Turk got into a fight because JD's girlfriend was grinding on Turk in the fraternity basement. Now, you purposely gather around wine and beer to make your boring adult lives seem much more interesting.

5. You can afford nicer alcohol and to do nicer "activites"

Yes, partying in college was probably the best time you'll ever have. You were young and hot and could show up to class on Thursday morning probably still a little drunk and pull off a solid 3.0 GPA. But now, as an adult with a real job and a salary, you still party like you're in college, but now with sophisticated tastes and hobbies.

6. Your hangovers are worse than they ever were in college

What happens between the age of 23 and 24 where suddenly, two vodka sodas and a beer leaves you bed-ridden the entire next day? In college, you could start tailgating at 10 A.M. and continue drinking until you and your friends closed down the bars and somehow find it in you to make it to brunch the next morning. Now, you and your friends take one shot of tequila and spend all of Sunday on the couch marathoning "Parks and Rec."

7. You can never find a bar that fits your age group

Once you're out of college, it seems no matter where you go, the bar is always crawling with college students. Determined to relive your glory days, you seek out some place with a decent bar and maybe some pool tables or a dance floor. What you usually find is a "hip" bar spewing out AMFs and Long Island Iced Teas while drunk sorority girls crowd around a table and giggle in the direction of the boys from Phi Kappa Kegstand and they seem to need all of the 8 chairs at their table even though there is only five of them.

8. You do keg stands and you shotgun beers to prove you're still young

I mean it when I say that you will never think you're too old to do a keg stand. And I mean it when I say that there comes a point in your life when you will be older than the number of seconds in which you can actually do said kegstand. But, because old habits die hard and your friends will always be your biggest cheerleaders, you will undoubtedly find yourself shotgunning a Coors Light and swearing up and down that you will still kick everyone's ass.

9. EVERYONE you know is talking about their wedding

This one shouldn't even come as a surprise. LIterally - LITERALLY - everyone is getting married. You can't go a day without seeing a new engagement announcement on Facebook or photos of someone's wedding popping up in your news feed. But still, you can't help but talk about all of the wonderful milestones everyone is reaching. And besides, who doesn't love open bars and free food?

10. And most importantly, you remember how much you love these people and would trade anything else in the world to be with them

These are your people. There the ones who have been there through all of highs and lows and the tail-end of your awkward stage. They love you no matter where you are on the earth and will always make you feel young again. You are meant to run with their crowd and they are mean to be the ones you run with.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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