My friend dumped me.
This week officially marks an anniversary I’d rather not think about. It’s been exactly one year since I lost my friend. No, she didn’t die: I got dumped. Being dumped is always terrible but in this case, she didn’t even tell me what I had done that was so wrong. As far as I can tell, I lost my friend simply because she decided I wasn’t worth keeping in her life. Suddenly ten years of friendship didn’t matter to her anymore. But those years still matter to me. And even though an entire year has passed without her in my life, it still hurts.
At first, I didn’t even realize what had happened. We live far apart but every year, I come to visit family in the city where I went to college and we always see each other. As my visit approached, I emailed and texted her and tried to make plans. There was no response. Then when I was actually in her city, I texted her and I called her and there was still no response. It was so strange. In the past, she had always answered me right away. Our yearly meetings were something that both of us looked forward to. We always made a point to get our kids together. Finally I wrote her a text and told her I only had one afternoon left to hang out before I went home. She said she couldn’t make time for me. She said she was too busy with work, with her husband being in graduate school, and her kids’ busy schedules. I said I understood. I said, “Hopefully we will get together soon.” But in the back of my mind, the whole interaction, or really it was the lack of interaction, bothered me. Something wasn’t right.
Several months passed and I wondered from time to time why I still had never heard from her.
Then one evening she made some strange comments on an article I posted on social media. It was like she was attacking me. I was still confused. So I emailed her and asked if something was the matter, if it was more than busyness that prevented us from hanging out when we had the chance. Finally she admitted that it was. She told me that I had said some things that upset her and that we had grown apart; my values had changed.
In one email, my friend of ten years dumped me.
I’ve had friendships break up before. I’ve even initiated the break ups, casting people out of my life. Is this how it felt for those friends? Maybe this was karma. Either way it was terrible. But I thought there must be some way I could fix this whole thing. I had no idea what I had done to deserve this. It must be a misunderstanding. I begged her to tell me what exactly I had said. I told her, “I say stupid things all the time and I’d like to apologize.” But she never responded to any of my emails. It’s been one year now, and she’s never said anything again. Presumably she’s moved on with her life. She doesn’t miss me and she doesn’t care. But I still think of her often and it always hurts; a little stab in my chest, like being pricked by one of those tiny plastic swords they use for skewering olives in a martini.
Finally I put a few pieces together and I think I figured out why it was that I got friend-dumped. It was nothing that I said and nothing that I physically did. I saw that sometime last summer, her husband had deleted me as a friend on Facebook. Combined with the post she had chosen to attack me on, I realized that this person had chosen to end our ten year friendship because of some articles I have posted on social media.
Yes, just let that sink in a minute.
I posted an article or two about a controversial subject and just like that, one of my longest-standing friendships was over.
I had always known that we didn’t agree on this subject. And even though it is something very important to me, I had always been willing to look past our difference. In fact many of my friends and I hold differing beliefs about this particular topic, which is why I had never discussed it. Also, I don’t usually use social media to post about political issues, precisely because my friends and family hold such diverse views and have gotten into intense fights in response to the very few conversial things I’ve posted in the past. This is why my post must have taken my friend or her husband by surprise. But I believe in being friends with all kinds of people, especially those who think differently than I do. It challenges me and makes my life richer.
I know that you are probably thinking that I am better off without a friend like this. That obviously the whole relationship meant more to me than it did to her and I agree with you. But even though I try so hard not to think about, even though I’ve tried to put the whole thing in the past, I often still find my thoughts drifting back to her. Like when someone pronounces the word sauna as sa-ow-na like she always did. And suddenly I’m thinking about how we used to sit together steaming naked in the dark. And then I can almost smell the cardamom from the Turkish coffee that she used to brew. And try as I might to hate her, I just can’t. And that just makes me feel so pathetic. I was dumped! I should hate her, but I don’t. Instead I miss her.
I’m the loser that still wishes we could be friends even though she hates me for no reason.
I’ve tried to give away the handmade gift she gave me for our wedding. I didn’t want to be reminded that I asked her daughter to be my flower girl. And when I unpacked the clothes for my second child, there were the hand-me-downs she brought my firstborn when I was a new mother and I was so grateful that she forced me to be brave enough to take my tiny baby out of the house. But I didn’t want to be reminded of that either. So, I threw those tiny, fancy clothes into a donation bin. I don’t want the memories woven into their fabric.
I’ve had friendships end before. I’ve had friendships crash implode in fiery infernos. It’s usually a mutual thing. Sometimes it’s me that messed up; sometimes it’s me who closes the door. But always there is an explanation. Always there is closure. I hope that somehow these words find their way to this woman and I hope they make her cry. I hope that she feels sorry. Unfortunately I don’t have high hopes for that.