I recently wrote To the Bestfriend I Decided I Couldn’t Be Friends With Anymore. While I stand by everything I said in that article, I realized that I needed to check myself a little bit because I, once was the toxic friend. I was once guilty of all of those things that lead me to ending my friendship.
I need to hold myself accountable, and so should you.
The fact of that matter is, most of us will experience toxic relationships at some point. Most of us will, although many won't admit it, be a toxic friend to another. We will all make mistakes. Friendships are hard and we learn as we go.
In my case, I was the toxic friend first. I recognized how damaging my friendship was with the person I walked away from because I was that friend to someone else a few years prior.
Dear old friend,
I’m sorry I took you for granted.
I don’t even remember how we became best friends, to be honest. I think it probably started with basketball in elementary school. All I know is, most of my memories from fifth grade to junior year involve you.
Your childhood home was, and is still, one of my favorite places. It was perfect to me with the hammock and the big picture windows looking out into the woods filled with white birch trees. We spent so many days outside with your dog and your sisters. Or inside during the winter months, drinking hot cocoa and watching movies. Your big, beautiful family became my second family. They included me in every special occasion and even brought me to church every Sunday.
I am moved to tears thinking about everything you, they, did for me over the years. I have so many fond memories of that time in my life, and I owe a big part of that to you.
Thank you for loving me when I still hadn’t learned to love myself. Adolescence was a hard time for me. I know I was not an easy person to be friends with. My negative body image, anxiety and depression were a constant issue. I let them hold me back, but you were always there reminding me that they shouldn’t. I wasn’t grateful for that then. Instead, I focused on how beautiful you were and how ugly I felt. You were the prettiest girl in the world to me. You still are. You were tall, thin and athletic. Academics seemed to come easily for you. So did boys.
To say I was jealous would be an understatement. I let my jealousy overcome our friendship, and I am sorry.
When you succeeded — whether it be athletically, academically or socially — I was bitter. Instead of being happy for you and supporting you, I would feel sorry for myself. When you were hurting, I would “one-up” you. I was self-centered and the only pain I saw was my own. I made it about me when it wasn’t, and I’m sorry.
When I got my first “real” boyfriend, I pushed you aside and became super flakey. You recognized immediately that this relationship was not a good idea. You told me you were concerned he was going to be a bad influence. You reminded me of all of the months he played games with me, all of the times he ignored me, all of the times he said bad things about me. Despite all of that, you still gave me rides to his house before I got my license. You saw that I was happy and you did you your best to keep it that way. I didn’t care. I was livid that you weren’t excited about this relationship and for that, I tried to punish you by shutting you out.
You were right, by the way. About all of it. I am sorry that I didn’t listen, but I am more sorry that I chose a boy over our friendship.
I was a toxic friend and you should have walked away from me, but you didn’t.
Our friendship faded. I bailed on you enough that you stopped trying to hang out with me. If we saw each other, we would talk and make empty plans. After graduation, we messaged on Facebook every now and then. You never truly gave up on me, although you really should have. You stuck by me through the worst and now, 5 years later, I am grateful.
We aren’t “best friends” anymore, but I know that if I needed you now, you would be there. Guess what? I would be there too. I recognize now how great of a friend you were. I learned from my mistakes and I learned from you.
Thank you for being a part of all of my favorite childhood memories.Thank you for showing me what loyalty and acceptance is.Thank you for teaching me how to be a good friend. Most of all, thank you for showing me I was wrong.
The Best Friend that took you for granted
PS: Listening to T-Swift just isn't the same without you.