“There was a void that has been filled that I was not aware of” -Nahko Bear
“I Don’t Want to be Friends”
Fiction. Based on a True Story
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional
It’s been three years since we were friends. Feels much longer than that. I’m at the point now where the sight of you don’t give me anxiety and make me want to hide. It’s still awkward if I do see you, and I don’t know how to respond when you want to talk to me. I’m learning how to find the balance between cordial without sharing too much—without crossing that line back into friendship.
Because we can never be friends again. I don’t want to be friends again.
I had ignored the warning signs for years before the fallout. The clinginess. The energy that was slowly drained by your proximity. That one night we thought you were having breathing problems at 2 am and wanted to call the nurse, but you told us if we did that, you wouldn’t be friends with us. The constant moving around, jumping from one thing to the next. The stories with vague details that were enough to keep people interested without divulging any truths. All the half-truths. All the shallowness. All the immaturity.
Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore.
You called me your best friend, but I didn’t feel that way. You wanted an emotional crutch, and I wasn’t going to be that. You feigned wanting deep conversations, but the things you said weren’t authentic.
When you were kicked out of your house—or so you said—we took you in without hesitation. My house was only meant to be a short stop until you could find a place, but you always dragged your feet on that, wouldn’t seek help, and seemed purposefully vague about everything. Those months signaled the beginning of the end as the tension grew. I saw how you treated the room and grew irritated. So many people tried to help you by sending you apartment listings, new jobs postings, names of therapists, but you didn’t do anything. How you treated those who wanted to help you—especially those who you called friends—made me angry.
Looking back, you shutting down and being flighty was your way of coping with the changes in your life. You never seemed to have stability and when you had the chance for it, you ran from it. You feared setting down roots because you didn’t want to face what with being rooted, facing the hard facts of life and emotions. You wanted to run from your problems, pretend like things were fine—like Peter Pan in Neverland. And you wanted others to support you emotionally without confronting yourself.
That drained me, and those around you—those of us who knew you and saw past the happy-go-lucky façade you put on.
Perhaps I should have listened more rather than telling you what to do, but you wanted something for me that I couldn’t give you.
Calling you an emotional leech seems harsh, but that’s how I felt. Being around you was like handling a child—an adult child. Your idea of friendship was not healthy, asking and taking from others while not putting forth the same amount of honesty and transparency others gave you. When I hear my friends who are still friends with you talk about how exhausted they are being around you, I realize it wasn’t just me who felt that way. I would listen over the years about how exhausting it was for them to be around you, knowing that you did it to yourself.
Where you’re at now isn’t healthy for anyone. But who can tell you that when all you do is shut down, throw a pity party, and make others feel back for calling you out, only to come back later acting like nothing is wrong and thus avoiding the whole issue without it being resolved?
When I stumbled across the definition and signs of a toxic person, many of the boxes fit you.
You need a person to help you along with your brokenness, but that person isn’t me. Or your other friends. You want them to be your therapist, but they aren’t your therapist.
Maybe I should have stuck by your side amidst all the issues and the hard moments, but I think I got the clarity about our relationship at the right time. I’m not about the coinvent friendships. I crave that deeper depth, knowing that both are messed up people who acknowledge their faults and want to walk alongside each other. I want those friendships that aren’t painted with half-truths and mostly taking. I know you do too, but I don’t think you’ll have them unless you face the major issues within yourself and take responsibility.
That I think was a huge problem with our friendship. Amongst other things.
I used to have high anxiety around you. In my own home, I didn’t feel like I could be alone. You seemed to be lurking everywhere I went. The only places where I knew you wouldn’t be were work and school. Even when I went to talk with the pastor about this issue, you were there, in the background of this personal moment. Even the sight of your car—or what I sometimes thought was your car—made my heart beat frantically. It wasn’t healthy. No matter how many times I told you, you didn’t want to listen. You would shut down, and I would feel bad. And angry.
Even after you left my house, it was hard to be around you because your problems were everywhere. I would hear different and conflicting parts of the story, parts you didn’t tell me. I began to question every word out of your mouth. Did you really have all the issues you said you did? Did the trauma you experience in your life actually happen? The details didn’t connect, and I resented you for lying to the people who cared about you.
I resented you for lying to me, who took you into my home when no one else did. The fact that you didn’t trust me despite all your talk of us being friends.
But that is the past. It’s taken three years to get to a decent place. I realize that I didn’t handle everything as well as I should have. So many things should have been said, and I should have told you up front how I felt rather than hoping the problem would resolve itself. My biggest regret is how things ended, unresolved with so many things left unsaid. I struggled with whether or not it was the Christian thing to not be friends with you (that guilt lingered for a long time). I struggled to forgive you and pray genuine prayers for your prosperity and for you to get to a healthy place in your life. I struggled with not thinking negatively anytime I saw you hanging out with people I knew, tried to shut down the thoughts “What lies are you telling them?” and “If only they knew you.”
I don’t think I ever knew the real you.
You are allowed to be happy, and you’re allowed to exist, faults and all. I can’t make you into the person I think you should be. That’s your journey. You have your good points, but you have a lot of growing to do.
I just won’t be a part of that journey.
I hear sometimes from friends that you want to be friends again. That won’t happen. It’s to protect myself, as selfish as it may be. The dregs of resentment linger, and I’m still trying to untangle the mess leftover.