A Letter To My (Ex) Best-Friend

You know we’ve been distant, and a few months back you asked me why. It simply made me laugh. You’ve been distant towards me for a long time, but now that I return the favour you only notice my fault in it. I guess your distance is where it all began.

We’re cousins, only a year apart, and we literally grew up together. Attending high-school together with the same group of friends only made us closer, sisters. But I feel like this was one-sided. I doted on you, I looked up to you, I followed you around, I copied the things that you did and I’m sorry that it annoyed you.

sisters friends holding hands

I was very insecure, you knew this and you were a good friend because you listened to my endless problems, my worries, my upsets, my everything basically. I told you it all, I told you too much. But you weren’t always gracious, I could see you get annoyed, see you zone out, see the dazed look in your eyes thinking ‘here she goes again’. But I don’t blame you for that, a person can only put up with so much. So for that I am truly sorry.

But you weren’t all perfect either. There were 3 things you did in high-school which hurt me the most.

  1. In our first year at high-school us giggling group of silly girls went around our friend-circle and each labelled our best-friend. I’m so glad you answered before me because that would have been embarrassing. You called out the name of your best-friend and I was shocked to hear it wasn’t me. She sat next to you and you both smiled at each other as you declared your strong-bond to the rest of us. My face fell and I knew I didn’t hide it quickly enough because you tried to placate me. “Don’t worry, you’re my best cousin”. I laughed it off but that was first crack I felt on my heart. Yes, that’s sad but as a little school-girl that was important at the time. When it was my turn to answer I proudly stated that I had no best-friend, as if I was better than anyone else in not needing one.
  2. Again during first year other people in our year-group started to realize we were related. When a guy asked us you said no. You then took me aside and said if anyone asks tell them that we are not related. That was harsh of you. Your reason “people might think it’s weird that we are cousins and we still hang around with the same group of friends at school”. I was PROUD AND HAPPY to be your cousin but you made me feel like an embarrassment.
  3. During the second/third year of high-school you were having a birthday party/meal with all your friends on the weekend. We shared the same group of friends but my position was weird because of my strict family. We shared the same strict grandparents, but they ruled more over my family than yours. You were allowed to go out with friends on weekends, I was not. For the first time in my life I was actually UNINVITED from an event. “Hey, my mum said do you mind if you don’t come on Saturday because if you do then Grandma will find out and she won’t let me have the get-together at all”. I didn’t let myself feel anything at that point. I put on a smile because I didn’t want you to feel bad, I could see the apprehension on your face and I vowed that I wouldn’t be more of a burden than I was. “No of course not, I totally understand it’s cool. Don’t worry about it. I don’t mind going, it’s better if I don’t go.” That was a lie. I was looking forward to that outing more than you would know because it would be first time ever that I would be able to go out anywhere with our friends. It would be the first opportunity for me to actually experience a weekend out with friends shopping and having a meal. But you took that away from me. You knew my position and you could have helped, but you chose not to. Grandma would never have made you cancel anything, she would have muttered a few things about children being better off staying at home, but then she would have gotten over it.

Unlike you I wasn’t hard and strong, I wore my heart on my sleeve. But all that soon changed.

that awkward moment when you think you're important to someone and you're not

When we were apart at our separate universities I started to lose patience with you. You would take days to respond to my calls, texts and messages. Your personal best was five days, which was laughable considering you were hooked to your phone 24/7. When I went through a particularly hard moment and needed you, I didn’t get response until later that evening. “What’s up?” “Nothing It’s fine I’ve dealt with it now. Don’t worry.” “Ok, fine.” In hindsight I realize that this irrational of me. It was obviously a good thing because I learned to fight my own battles and learned that I could only depend on myself. But this slowly led to the new hardened me.

I was always super excited to meet you and have a catch-up along with our other friends, but you always made it so difficult. You always turned down suggested dates and get-togethers because of your superior and extra-special timetable and schedule. Funny how you always seemed to be so busy compared to the rest of us, which was never actually the case. When you would agree to meet months in advance, you ruined it by making sharp, hurtful comments. “Let’s not meet for at least 6 months now, I’ve seen enough of you guys.” Of course you would laugh it off, but it wasn’t funny.

You stopped coming around my house with your mum. This actually really upset me because I was genuinely excited to see you, but left sad when you were a no show. Again this was a good thing because I had to stop letting other people’s actions disappoint me. I had to stop becoming so dependent and this factored into me hardening myself. When you didn’t show for Christmas, New-Year or Diwali I didn’t ask your mum where you were. You obviously didn’t care so why should I?

Our aunt told me a secret about what was happening in your household. The adults in the family new, but the kids were not told, merely to keep things normal. I was shocked and hurt when I found out. This was a game-changer to your life, but also to our friendship. I told you EVERYTHING about my life and the ins and outs of my household. But you didn’t tell me anything about this BIG issue or even hint towards it. You kept your stone-cold poker face tight. I’m confused because you’ve always listened to my woes but you didn’t give me chance to help you through yours. I understand why you didn’t tell me, but your lack of trust hurt. But when the scales of our friendship was so unfavorably balanced towards me, this really was the final straw. Whats laughable is that you still have no idea that I know.

Speaking of trust, you told me many a time during our high-school years that you didn’t trust me. This was deserved in the first few years because I learned about keeping secrets and trust the hard way. I was an naive person. I didn’t do drama or consider certain conversations to be ‘secret’. If I heard something I would innocently relay that to any person who asked. Like I said I didn’t do drama. So when you first told me you didn’t trust me it hurt, I learned my lesson. But you never gave me a second-chance. Also you were really quite abrupt in relaying your opinions to me. On multiple occasions you outright called me a bitch, which was harsh to hear because everyone knew you didn’t swear. This was admittedly deserved on some occasions where I could get hyper and go over the top with things and I would accept your comments and apologize. But you should realize that I never confronted you. You’re not perfect, but I never put you down. Like I said you were my idol and the more I look back the more of a burden I feel.

If I treated you the way you treated me. You would hate me.

Back to the distance issue; the secret changed everything. I told you a very personal secret which no one else knew and you judged me for it big time (something I did not expect). But if I could tell you my secret, but you couldn’t tell me yours then I felt short-changed. You held too much information on me, but I had little on you. I think they call this a power play. I didn’t like it. Coupled with the fact that you were hard to get hold of, you never expressed desire to meet up and you never expressed desire to keep our friendship going. So the new hardened me, courtesy of you, decided to give up. I stopped pulling my end of the rope and distanced myself.

So this should answer your question. But of course it doesn’t because we had a mini-fight via text, where you told me I was being rude by not speaking to you properly. I said ditto. I was ready for a full blown fight, so ready to let all of this out. But we didn’t. You said we’re cousins and that this is silly and we need to brush it under the rug. Bad idea really because I still hold a grudge. Wish you could know all this but then again it really would be the final nail in the coffin and that’s just awkward because at the end of the day we are family.

It’s just pisses me of that you always make me out to be the bad guy. You never fault yourself, but I’m guilty of that too because I didn’t speak up to you when I should have. I just want to say that you are the one who has lost 3 best-friends over the past years. You’ve blamed them for that saying you have no idea what happened and you didn’t do anything wrong. I’ve only lost one; you. Maybe this says more about you than the rest of us?

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8 thoughts on “A Letter To My (Ex) Best-Friend

  1. I read through this whole piece and I think you were mostly responsible for yall friendship dissolving because you never told her what you were thinking, feeling, or stand up for your principles. It’s hard to be around someone that expects you to read their mind must of the time. You should have been a better friend by putting honesty to the test and seeing if it brought yall closer or tore yall apart. You chose to keep the biggest secrets of all, your true feelings and that isn’t friendship at all. P.S. bitterness/hardened doesn’t make you a better person. It extracts all the good away from yours sweeter self, so rethink that approach to life. There are great people you can depend on but they will expect you to be straightforward and be a great friend in the process. Thanks for allowing me in your heart, i enjoyed the read. Think about what i am saying, i am not attacking you just giving you Brash reality. Grow from it, don’t get defensive….

    • Ok, your comment made me really mad and quite defensive, but then I decided to mull it over for a while. I agree with some of the things you say, but I don’t agree that I am ‘mostly responsible’ for the failure. You’re right, I realize that we are not mind-readers and I should have just been upfront about things, instead of hiding the hurt and letting her get away with it, thinking there was nothing wrong. Your advice has made me realize that in future, particularly when in a relationship with a man I will need to be vocal about what I am thinking, even if I fear that it may place awkwardness in our relationship.

      As for my friend do you think I should bring this up and deal it out on the table once and for all. Or will this just cause trouble? Should I let bygones be bygones, or clear the air once and for all, even if that is the final nail in the coffin?

      Also I agree about the hardness/bitterness. I hate being a cold, hard, bitter person, because I’m mirroring her now! I need to break down the walls and let those kind souls around me back in again. Why should they suffer for something they didn’t do.

      Thanks for the advice, it was harsh but parts of it are true.

      • I glad my comment caused some form of emotion in you because now we know you have a heart. I want you to think about what i am saying, you have a selfish friend but never tell them they are selfish who is the one being phony? Who was a friend that builds angrier without sharing? I know i don’t and I am sure you wouldn’t. So the silent person is always more responsible than the person being themselves (regardless of how bad themselves are). I do think you need to get it off your chest and take full responsibility for the role you played in it. You need to express how you should have expressed your pain and challenged her to either repair it or create distance from it. Every relationship needs closure before closing. So yes, if she was ever your friend you should make time to be clear to air in hopes to get rid of all that is polluting it.

        • Ouch.

          What you have to understand is that I was brought up to pretty much be a doormat. I was never allowed to question family decisions made about my life. When my mum lectured me/ shouted at me/ beat me I wasn’t allowed to shout back or hit back. I wasn’t allowed to say stop or argue. I had to accept it. So I grew up biting my tongue and hiding my true feelings. I just had to act as if I was happy with everything.

          So that comes across in my relationships and the way I act. It’s hard to up and change the grain of your existence.

          • Did you enjoy being that way in your upbringing? Because if not you are grown now and you should become the person you wish to be; or at least become the person you would like your cousin to be to you. At this point you are justifying not communicating your heart by blaming it on how you was raised, But if you felt those things you should have said something because if you look back you would have expected your cousin to say things that may have been hard to tell you.

          • You can’t just change how you were raised overnight! It’s like trying to convince someone that the sky is green.

          • Change is instant, it starts with a thought/idea than you start act on that thought until it becomes habit. The “I can’t change overnight mentality” is a myth, it was created by people who wanted to justify staying the same. Think once you say you are going to so something, you just start doing it. That is change….you can’t change peoples perception of you overnight that takes time!!!!

  2. […] My best friend was my cousin (I wrote about our relationship here). […]

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