You Only Like Me When I Have No Boundaries

Photo by Elle Hughes from Pexels

Dear BFF:

This is my answer to the email you sent me last year. You know — right after the big fight.

The first time you were shitty to me was pretty early on in our friendship. We had recently become friends through having kids at the same daycare and decided to go on a ladies weekend with some other moms.

We got back and were unloading your minivan. I walked up to get something and — I don’t know why — you suddenly snapped at me that I needed to wait. You noticed the look of surprise on my face and said something about me being too sensitive, “pouting like a schoolgirl.” Yes, those exact words, I remember clearly.

I should have known then. But I decided not to take it personally and let it go. We remained friends and actually became very close over the next 15 years.

Looking back, I remember taking trips together, celebrating different milestones, helping each other with raising kids, laughing and joking.

I also remember your need for control. You even joked about it. We always got together at *your* house, doing what *you* wanted to do, *you* always having to drive.

You weren’t comfortable around my other friends. If I made plans with one of them, you would guilt-trip me and make jokes about me being your only friend. I was always happy to meet your friends. They usually became my friends, too. Until they pissed you off. Then you didn’t want me hanging out with them anymore.

I remember your constant need to “vent,” about jobs, managers, co-workers, friends, siblings, your in-laws, your neighbors, your husband.

Your manager and co-workers were rude to you because they felt threatened by your expertise. Your neighbors were suspect and always doing shady shit. The lady at the gas station was taking a long time on purpose, just to piss you off.

To be fair, I know I complained plenty, too. Often about the same things. But I was never allowed to vent much because the conversation would always turn back to you. It was always about you. A one-woman show.

As a friend, I was there for you. If I had a nickel for every time you said “I don’t need a therapist, I have you!” I would’ve been easily able to pay my actual therapist. And I somehow sensed it didn’t go both ways. I didn’t feel comfortable showing any vulnerability to you.

Then, 3 years ago, I ran into a pretty significant problem. It was — and still is — something I needed to deal with myself but l really needed a friend, someone who would listen and offer some empathy. So I confided in you.

It went okay at first. As long as I didn’t talk too much about it or go too deep, you were okay with listening. You would listen and then either say nothing or try to tell me how to fix myself. After a while, I stopped confiding in you. It was only making me feel worse.

Looking back, I remember taking trips together, celebrating different milestones, helping each other with raising kids, laughing and joking.

In the last conversation we had, you were again telling me how to fix myself, This time, I had finally had enough and I lost my temper. I might have gone about it the wrong way but that was me finally drawing a boundary by saying I didn’t need fixing. I just needed a friend to be kind to me and not judge me while I was trying to figure shit out. If I could do that for you, why couldn’t you do that for me?

When I pushed back and told you how I felt our friendship was one-sided, you got really angry. You sent me that email telling me how hard it was to be friends with me because I complained all the time. You told me I was selfish and that you liked me better when I thought I was fucked up. And just like that, our friendship was done.

After our argument, I spent time looking at my own actions. I acknowledged my mistakes and apologized to you. I wonder how you never felt compelled to apologize.

There’s a saying that when someone finally sets boundaries, the only people who complain are the ones who don’t want to respect those boundaries. I can see that it’s true.

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

I miss our friendship all the time. I’m trying to take comfort in knowing I learned something from it and I hope it will serve me well. I’m looking forward to finding new friends.

Peace and love.

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Instead of Running

Instead of Running

Writing about what happens when I face my fears. Mom, wife, meditator, therapy goer, sports player, dog lover. I only ever wanted to write.