Most people I know will read the title of this article and think, "Duh. Who doesn't know that?"
I know if someone shoved this article in my face two years ago, I would have thought the same thing. Of course love and manipulation are two totally different things. How could anyone mistake one for the other? And how could anyone not know they were mixing them up?
Oddly enough, I mixed them up far more than I'd like to admit. I mixed them up when I had no idea I was mixing them up.
I met a guy during my junior year of high school who I firmly believed was the perfect, most flawless friend. All he seemed to want to do was talk to me on the phone for hours, spend quality time with me, and listen to what I had to say. While our relationship was never romantic, it was definitely intense. At the time, I misinterpreted intensity for depth. I thought we had an impenetrable emotional connection, even when my mother repeatedly told me I was crazy for caring so much about him.
In hindsight, I realize that my friend didn't want me to be totally happy and content. While we had a lot of good times, I can also recall a million occasions where we fought and I cried my eyes out over the things we said to each other. Eventually, it mostly just seemed like he wanted to pull me down into the hole he was in. Once again, I misinterpreted this as a sign of our closeness. I jumped into a hole without looking down, and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life, especially when he turned around and shook me off for another girl. I wish I could say that was the final straw, but I still needed to discover myself a little more to figure everything out.
Near the end of what I deemed as our "close" friendship, he found himself in a tough situation; a situation that was entirely his fault. He had the nerve to abandon me for some other girl, but in his hour of need, he fully expected me to welcome him back with open arms. That was the final push I needed in order to realize that what we had was not friendship. Our situation consisted of me foolishly giving someone my all and mistaking his manipulation for true friendship.
The last time I saw him was over the summer, and hanging out wasn't terrible. I was just surprised to find that the spark I had imagined with him had totally flickered out. When I looked at him, I didn't feel any strong emotion at all. I didn't feel happy, sad, angry, or anything. The only thing I know for sure about detaching from him is that time really does heal all wounds. I once considered our friendship to be the most important one in my life, and now it's just a distant memory.
Blind optimism can be fun, but it can also never last too long. Be careful before you give anyone everything you have to offer. Sometimes the lines between what you want someone's intentions to be and what someone else's intentions are can get blurry.
Like I said earlier, of course friendship and manipulation are different things. Don't let anyone try to fool you into mixing them up.