Falling-Out in Friendship
I have a variety of friends—older, same age, and younger. For all of them, I always make sure that they feel they are equally loved and taken care of. I always make time for them whenever they need me. All of them know each other because I made them meet once in awhile, although they come from different circles. The three things that are common to them are: books, travel, and me. My closest are my girl friends since we can share so much. That’s why it’s difficult for me when someone is moving away to migrate; somehow I feel something is missing. Eventually, I’ve grown out of it since they are still around, only not so spatially close. Friendship is sacred for me, as I’m the one who deliberately choose them, in a magical and mysterious sense of the word. So imagine, if I have to let go of a friend only because that friend has turned her back on me? Have you ever experienced a “falling-out in friendship?”
Here’s my story:
Three weeks and I still have not heard anything from her. The long silence is deafening, and sometimes it makes me wonder if this silence is the same as ice—cold and frozen. It began when she started drinking almost every night, and coming home almost at dawn with random acquaintances who were mostly boys. It was during the time of school break when I was out of town staying with my family and writing my thesis, and she was staying alone at her condo in the Metro, as she always did. We decided to be roommates for a couple of months so I could go straight to her place after my classes and write my thesis. After all, her place is just a block away from school. I have keys to her place which she made available for me.
Of all my girl friends, she never treats me like a sister. She never wants a sister, she told me before. But she calls me her best friend. Most of the time, she calls me her “alter ego.” She believes that I’m the “nice and kind” side of her, although most of the time when we’re together, our naughty and crazy button is switched on. It’s always fun when I’m with her, talking for hours about indiscriminate things almost everyday like our failed, failing, will fail relationships with guys; our classmates; our teachers; the society at large, and the books that we like and dislike. Not a day that we did not talk, even on the phone.
My family loves her a lot especially my mom who likes it a lot when I bring her home to stay with us. After all, she has no family here in the Philippines. And, I’m the closest friend she’s got. Her whole family is in a different country. We always lambast each other for having different perspectives which always end up accepting each other’s differences. She criticizes me for putting up with friends who she thinks are not even worthy of my time, or my naiveté for believing that people can be truly good and nice. While, I always tell her to be nicer to people around, to be more open and accepting even if they think differently. Although, I understand where she’s coming from, why she seems to be abrasive at times, sometimes I feel that she only needs to come to terms with herself. There are moments that she’s really sweet and almost motherly to me but she feels uncomfortable when people are like that to her. She believes she can take care of herself and she needs no one in her life, except the financial support from her parents while she’s still studying. For the longest time, I’ve been very careful in dealing with her. I don’t want to pull a wrong chord.
I was in Hong Kong when she emailed me about her grandmother who passed away. Her grandmother was the most important person in her life. She even went on LOA to take care of her for a couple of months. And when she died, I could imagine how painful it was for her. Although she said, she did not feel anything and didn’t want people to pity her. As a matter of fact, there were only three friends who knew about this death, and I was one of them. While she was away, I had to fix all her things because her contract was about to expire. I had to move all her things from her old condo to our house on my own while I waited for her to come back. I had to pay for her bills too since the lessor wouldn’t give the deposit money to me even if he knew that I was the one my friend entrusted for everything. For one week I was sleepless and tired. I never knew that moving things and signing contracts were that taxing.
When I came back, we never talked about her grandma. She’d always appear happy and crazy when with me. But sometimes I feel happiness was just a façade. There was something about her eyes that betrayed her smile. She could not articulate her feelings and she’d always tell me, Virgos (her zodiac) appear to be strong on the outside, but inside they crumble. She even told me, people like her, cry when they are alone.
So when she started drinking all night long, I began to worry. I was not there with her but she’d send me phone messages in the middle of the night or sometimes at wee hour telling me she just came home from a bar. As a friend, I’m only concerned on her health and safety. Needless to say, she is quite attractive and catchy because of her foreign features. I reminded her to pull herself together, to avoid trouble and refrain from drinking too much. I said that when we get too drunk we don’t know what’s happening, and especially if you’re with guys you hardly even know. It is as if, the tables have turned and I’m the one suspecting that it’s hard to trust people, and she’s the one who feels ok with acquaintances. For whatever reason, she found my advice offensive. She was furious and told me, “Don’t treat me like you treat your other friend. I’m not messed up. And I don’t need your help.” It was a big blow and I was deeply hurt. I didn’t reply to her. I just kept quiet. That night I prayed to God, and I asked if I deserve such treatment. God was quiet too. It made me cry for weeks. It made me depressed.
Everyday and every night I pray and meditate. I ask for forgiveness if I caused any harm on the person, if being a caring friend is a sin. I’ve forgiven myself and I’ve forgiven her. I find solace in remembering the good times that we had together. I am sure, she’s made an impact on my life for me to hold on and not give up on our friendship. I will not turn my back just because she did. I will still be nice and good even if most of the times, I become more vulnerable and sensitive. I still wish that in the future, she’ll find herself talking to me again, realizing that my intentions have always been good. But I am prepared too if that day will not come for she’s not really the type of person who will say sorry. Whatever happens, whether she knows it or not, feels it or not, I will continue to pray for her. One of my elder best friends told me, “she loves you but she needs to learn something, she needs to learn how to love herself first so that she can articulate it with other people.”
Humility aside, I know I did my best to be a good friend and if this is not enough, I don’t know what is. I don’t know if she still hates me because she still does not want to talk to me. I will just have to let her be. When everything seems to be transient—pains, love, friendship—my prayers will surely hold still. Hopefully in the future, she will meet more friends to love her and realize that it’s totally okay if people care for her.