Outgrowing Friendships

I never thought we could outgrow friendships until I outgrew one not that long ago. It’s funny, isn’t it? We make friends and sometimes we think friendships will last a lifetime. You meet someone and you think this is my person that will go through life with me. Sometimes you make friends in the most random ways and don’t imagine you would become so close but then slowly, one challenge in your friendship turns into another and then suddenly, the friendship starts deteriorating. I had a friendship like this of eleven years. We were inseparable and we grew together a lot. But things started to change the moment a man entered her life. For me, I feel that friendships shouldn’t change just because one person gets into a relationship. I feel that when the rose-tinted glasses are on, some people don’t value their friends as much anymore. However, at some point when you get complacent in your relationship and the rose-tinted glasses come off, you start missing your friends and by this point, it could be too late. 

I made a friend in my first year of university. I had moved away from home so friends were of a lot of significance whilst living away. In the first week, I was the only one in my accommodation. I’d been away to a different city to meet with some friends and whilst I was away, a girl moved in next door. I introduced myself and that was the end of the conversation. In the first semester, because we lived together, we ended up spending some time together and after bonding over some music we both liked, we realised we had a lot more in common than we initially thought. During our first-year at university, our friendship slowly grew from strength to strength, and we just worked. We shared a lot of things about our lives and started hanging out with each other all the time. Eventually, our circle of friends became the same and we did everything together. We were always there for each other, but the thing I liked most about our friendship was that we could be our authentic selves, yet it never affected our friendship. Even after we left university, we stayed the best of friends. We would go to family events our families had and we would go to each other’s houses regularly. We would sleep over and travel together. We went on quite a few holidays and we would have the best time. There was just this unspoken level of understanding that we had. We were from similar cultures, so this strengthened our friendship when we discussed issues relating to our culture. Our friendship was this solid for eight years. Meeting at the age of eighteen, you can only imagine how much we went through together, with all the changes a young adult goes through around that age. We grew as people and there was this unbreakable bond, until it slowly started breaking.

In 2017, our friendship started to change when she met a man who didn’t like me. This was her first serious relationship and despite always saying that no man would ever be able to get in-between our friendship, one did. We were on holiday at the time in Dubai (not knowing it would be our final holiday) and had an argument about something which I guess marked the beginning of the end. Things were not okay for the rest of the holiday, but we made it through and got home. After that, there was this distance between us, but I valued our friendship so dearly that it didn’t make sense that we had fallen out and felt things were unfixable. I always like to fix things because I am one of those people that doesn’t feel content if things aren’t right, especially with someone who has been a significant part of my life for a long time. We eventually made up after me turning up to her house and wanting to talk through things. Her boyfriend at the time still didn’t like me but that was okay as long as I had my best friend. However, from then on, it was never the same. 

See, the thing is, sometimes, when a friend gets a partner, their priorities change which is completely natural and I can understand that. However, no matter happened, her boyfriend decided that he just didn’t like me even though I tried to make an effort with him. They eventually got married in 2018 but we both were busy with our lives, so it wasn’t the way it used to be and we were both in different places. I don’t think that is a good enough reason for such a solid friendship to change so drastically, but I appreciate that if your partner doesn’t like one of your friends, your natural instinct is to be a little distant because you don’t want to upset them. This is not me agreeing whether that is right or wrong but just outlining that I can understand why this happens. As we continued with our lives, again we grew distant, and months would go by where we would no longer make the same effort with each other. In late 2018, I lost a college best friend and wanted some support from whom I thought would be able to provide that for me. I had never seen death so closely and it had impacted me in more ways than one. However, my ‘best friend’ just didn’t know how to be there for me so another nine months went by and when we spoke this time, I asked to meet up so I could tell her that I had a job offer and was moving abroad. I didn’t want to move abroad with our friendship being so frosty. Despite everything that had happened, I still had faith that our friendship could still make it through any difficulty we went through. This was in mid 2019 and we again, talked about our differences and what was going wrong in our friendship. We talked about how this could be fixed which was great! We were back to being semi-normal and were making more of a conscious effort with each other. At the start of 2020, we had a disagreement over something but this time, my best friend was quite rude and honestly, it just wasn’t what I needed. I think I was just fed up by this point of things always seeming to go wrong and me always being the one to initiate repairing the damage. A few months later, she tried to contact me to tell me about her sister having a baby and I just felt like I didn’t care anymore, especially because the real issue had been brushed under the carpet. It was a brief conversation, and we didn’t speak after that for months until I got a birthday message. I replied to her message but when her birthday came a couple of months later, I knew that not contacting her would mark the end of this friendship completely. And that is exactly what happened because I made that decision of ending a friendship I didn’t think would ever end. Since October 2020, we have not spoken and honestly, I am content with that.

There are many reasons I feel content with my decision, but I felt like it got to a point in our friendship where I started wondering why every time something went wrong, it was always me that was making the first move to fix things. I think I am at that point in my life where I have realised that sometimes, you can’t always be the one to fix things, regardless of whatever trauma someone has been through in their lives. I realise that at times, you have to let things just fizzle out because sometimes, things have an expiry date. It can never be justified that one person in any kind of relationship is always the one doing the emotional work just because the other person has a certain type of mentality. One thing I learned towards the end of our friendship was that maybe my best friend had a slight ego problem which is why she could never be the one to initiate fixing things when they went wrong, no matter how she felt deep down. Maybe it is also one of the reasons that things used to get brushed under the carpet unless I was the one wanting to communicate about them.

I personally think that the decision to not make contact with her on her birthday was because I had made peace with how the friendship turned out. I felt that regardless of how much we tried to make things right, they would never be the same. It wasn’t always an easy journey for me. Since 2017, I was deeply affected by how our friendship had turned out because I talked about it a lot with those closest to me. The way the friendship turned out bothered me. I mean, of course it bothered me because if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have talked about it so much. I also think that in the process of talking about it so much, I had already mourned the loss of the friendship which is why I was very content with the friendship fading away. It is completely normal to mourn a friendship because when a friend has been a huge part of your life, you feel the loss when things are no longer the same. I feel everything so deeply so the fact that this friendship had turned out the way I had never imagined, really did break my heart.

Reflecting on the friendship we had, I now believe that sometimes, people only come into your lives for a short period of time to teach you things or because that is exactly what you need at that point in your life. I am not sad anymore because I have made peace with the fact that maybe throughout our twenties, we needed each other for whatever we went through. We were destined to grow as much as we did together before we both progressed onto separate chapters in our lives. I always remind myself that not everyone that comes into my life is supposed to stay and I feel that is how I have made peace with the fact that even when we don’t ever want someone to leave our lives, sometimes people do and we have no choice but to accept this bitter truth. It does however, get easier as time goes on.

Now, my ex-best friend is married, and she has welcomed a child into the world which is wonderful. There are no hard feelings from my side. I feel we have both moved on with our lives and I am personally very content with where I currently am. I don’t think I would ever want to fix this friendship anymore or try to attempt to go back to how it used to be because that is impossible. Plus, I feel too much has happened in the interim period for it to go back to how it was once upon a time. Instead, I cherish the memories we made, and I will always wish her the best. It’s just, I choose not to be a part of her life anymore because too much has happened for me to make that effort. And that is how I know I have outgrown the friendship.

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

Him & I

We’re the happiest when we’re with each other. When I am with him, I forget the world. It’s just me and him in this little bubble, talking, laughing, making jokes, understanding each other. He is my best friend. With him, I can completely be myself. I can talk about everything; I can have mood swings and show an attitude. But he’s still there. He accepts me for me. We have deep and meaningful conversations about our journey through life. We talk about how we will always be there for each other no matter where we are in the world. And I trust him. I trust him with my life and the fact that he won’t ever leave me. He trusts me with his and shares all his secrets with me. We have this bond that is indescribable. Like, we just get on. We make each other laugh with our lame jokes that others might not find funny. We have an excessive amount of sarcasm pouring out of us. We share our food, and he even lets me steal the pineapple from his slices of pizza. We also compromise on a lot of things. If I’m being moody and he leaves, he’ll call me shortly after and shows his caring nature and kindness, trying to reason with me. He’s the most patient with me and gives me space. When he knows I’m being off with him, he becomes talkative. I’m there to guide him through his difficult thoughts and emotions. He’s learning to share his thoughts and emotions without the fear of being judged more each day. He values my opinions and is interested in everything I say. He learns a lot from me, and our time together, whether it is going for a walk, sitting on the beach, walking around a mall, or just lounging on the sofa is peaceful. We fight but we hate fighting and can’t go for long without making up. He’s a shy and reserved person. He’s simple. That’s how I met him. Me? I’m out there. I’m loud and feisty and expressive. I ask a lot of questions. I force him out of his shell. But we balance each other out. I’ve got him and he’s got us. This is a love like I’ve never felt before. It’s true what they say. Friendship is the perfect recipe for a relationship. And I love him and what we have, I want this forever. I have never felt like I can grow with a man like this before. He is my favourite. But this man, I don’t think this man is mine to keep.

Until next time.

Yours,

The Unveiled Reflector x

Frenemy

Do you have a friend that can be identified as a frenemy? That one who is your friend but secretly hates on you? Your friend that seems to be competing with you? Or reminding you of your shortcomings to make themselves feel better? I feel many of us have that one friend at some point in our lives. Friends play an important part of our journey as we progress through life. From a young age, we try to make friends with ‘our’ type of people. Someone we can connect with and share parts of ourselves with. We place our trust in them and hope for a lifelong friendship. Sometimes that works. Sometimes, two friends remain friends forever, because they have a mutual understanding. You trust each other whole-heartedly, they can respect your boundaries and you theirs, you celebrate each other and your successes, and know how and when to give each other space. This is the definition of friendship for me. But I feel that sometimes, friends can secretly envy you.  

At the age of eleven, I made friends with a girl at school. We are born one day apart, both the same star sign, from the same culture, yet we were different because she was skinny, and I was fat. That automatically makes her better, right? Well, according to her, it does. We spoke to each other all day, every day. But from a young age, there was some bullying that was a ‘joke’ in her eyes, all because she made fun of me being fat. See, my thoughts are that if someone is insecure about something, and you do everything to make them feel more insecure, then you are deliberately being malicious. You should not use people’s insecurities against them. Friendship is about trust and trusting your friends enough, to not do something like that because if they do, then that is intentional. They are making a choice to make you feel that way. Growing up, I wanted to be skinny because that is what was classed as beautiful. Anything other than that, would resort to being taunted about things such as not being good enough or not being desirable. So, my alleged best friend thought it was a great idea to nickname me ‘Fatz’, to remind me of my insecurity constantly. Despite having the conversation about how it made me feel, she paid no mind to, especially when she would say it in front of other people in an attempt to belittle and embarrass me. She had no intention of acknowledging how it made me feel because she was used to calling me that.

We got through our GCSE’s and schooling was all coming to an end where we started deciding what our next steps would be. This would be the starting point of where our differences became more prominent. I have always been an advocate of education because for me personally, academic growth is important. Academia is a personal choice. For me, it was important to have views on things happening around the world at a young age and it still is. I never dreamed of going to the sixth form attached to my school. It wasn’t the place for me as I have always been too much of a free spirit. But my friend wanted me to stay because it would mean that she would be lonely without me, and I was selfish for wanting something different that didn’t necessarily involve her.  

Although there was some tension, it was fine because we had a weekend job together at the same place. Here she met a man who was a good ten years older than her and was our manager. Now, being in a new relationship at the age of seventeen with an older man was the best thing that could have happened to her, until it was the worst thing that happened to her. Over a short period of time, our friendship started deteriorating. Namely because she broke the best friend code by talking about all the bad things about her beloved boyfriend to me, and then repeating to him, everything I was advising her, which wasn’t necessarily what he wanted to hear. I ended up becoming the problem in their relationship and he hated me. She was in love so that was the end of our friendship for a year. We eventually reconnected because he was out of her life and she realised that she had made a mistake by sharing everything with him. However, our lives were very different at this point as she had taken on the working world and I had chosen the student life at university, completing my undergraduate degree. 

After finishing university and moving back home, we started to spend more time together. Now at the age of twenty-two, we were in different places in life. She had a stable job, and I was searching for one. I worked as a customer service advisor because it was something temporary until I figured out my next move. However, things started to change once again. There was this constant need to reiterate how she was beautiful because she was skinny and the snapchat pictures of a flat stomach were constant. Every time she headed to the gym, it needed to be known. It was almost like she felt the need to continue using my insecurity to validate herself. She had to constantly remind me that she was something I was not. It even went as far as her telling me that ‘all men want something pretty to look at’ when I trusted her with the experiences I was having with men. I mean how rude! She obviously needed my glasses to recognise that I am more than pretty. I am f****** beautiful!

However, after some time, she reunited with her psychotic long lost lover, and married him for reasons that are still beyond me. Whatever reason, low and behold, it didn’t work out. He was the same aggressive and psychologically abusive man he had always been. They got divorced and a year later she met someone else. Now this man is lovely. He really does love her. But since then, there has been this silent competition that she is in with me, but only by herself. Namely because I don’t compete. I am a firm believer that people’s fate is always different so there is no competition.  We get what is in our destiny and depends on how hard we are willing to work. It was a silent competition because everything became about how wonderful her life was, how much money she was earning and how much her things cost. See, the difference between her and I is that I don’t ever talk about money. It makes me uncomfortable. I feel that people who constantly need to reiterate the price of material possessions to have an interesting conversation are coming from a place of insecurity, almost like they are trying to compensate for something. There is something missing in their lives which is why they must give themselves self-worth and importance by making it a point to tell you how much they earn or what material possessions they have. I appreciate that sometimes we share these things with those who are close to us, but then there is excessively talking about it which is a red flag in my humble opinion. 

Whilst all of this was going on, I had decided to further my own education by studying for a master’s and working full time. However, because I was constantly busy, it was a problem as it meant I didn’t value our friendship. Yet, it was always me that was accommodating her needs for what she needed in this friendship. It was always me listening to her problems because they were bigger than anyone else’s. All the important things were happening in her life. She was getting married, she had bought a house, she was having a baby. The things in my life were not as important such as furthering my education and looking after my sick mum. She had a problem if I would make the effort to call her on my drive home from the library and say she didn’t appreciate that I was doing something else at the same time. It felt like she wanted me to make her a priority in my life, instead of me making myself a priority in my life. 

Now, the problem is we’re still ‘friends’ because you can’t prove someone is a frenemy. Instead, you get told that it is in your head and you’re the jealous friend. You become the problem! But the reason that we are so different is because we took different paths. However, she was never able to appreciate mine because it wasn’t the typical, wanting a fairy-tale ‘happily ever after’, whilst I did everything to appreciate hers. From when we were at school, I always said that I wanted a professional career whereas she was concerned about getting married. We grew up in different environments. My parents were strict but not as strict as hers which made sense as to why she wanted to get married young. She wanted the freedom her family wouldn’t give her and the only way to get that was to have a husband. It’s a cultural thing. 

At the age of thirty, again we are in different places. I work and live abroad; she is married with two children and a husband. We have very different lifestyles. I am grateful for mine. I cherish memories and precious moments with special people. But I feel there is this still this subliminal competition despite me living halfway across the world. I feel that maybe there is something missing in her life which is why material possessions have become a priority in her life. My successes have never really been celebrated in this friendship. Her successes are always extraordinary, and no one gets opportunities like she does which is why her successes are always more important. Everything is about all the job opportunities she has been receiving amidst a pandemic and the amount of money she can earn on a temporary role. I wonder though, is it because she has this need to overly glamourise her working skills because she didn’t pursue higher education and is trying to prove that she is better than me with all that comes her way despite not being as educated? 

As time has gone on, our conversations have become more and more about her life and I find it boring. I want to discuss things that don’t involve money, material things or the refurbishments to her house. Everything is about constantly shopping online and showcasing it on social media, and the minute you raise something about this not being healthy, the jealousy projections begin. She feels the need to be concerned that I am single because I should really get a move on with starting a family. Why is that associated with success? I am trying to understand what the real issue is here because I don’t think having a family is associated with success. Having a family like a partner or children, is a choice we make. And I respect people who make that choice. But I also need people to understand that for those of us that don’t, we also need to be respected just as much, without being labelled as ‘getting on a bit.’  

Why can people we think are our friends, be like this towards us? I am genuinely trying to work out whether this is all in my head. I am trying to make sense of it because if I am the issue here, I want to work on this. Is it that she constantly needed to make me feel like I was inadequate to make herself feel adequate? Or am I just experiencing this in a negative way, and she may be coming from a place of love? I’m uncertain. It’s just that the difference is, I have never spoken about her insecurities or used them against her. It’s not the person I am because I believe that unless you are perfect yourself, you have no right to do that. To anyone. Ever! So, in my mind, I am trying to comprehend why she would need to remind me of mine. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Tell me if you have, or have had a frenemy, how you knew and how you dealt with this. 

Until next time. 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

The ’30s’ Club

Well, I officially I joined the 30s club in October 2020 and it’s a different kind of club. Not because I feel different but because other people try to make you feel different about being 30 years old. Personally, I think it’s a cool club. I guess all clubs are cool in their own way. The 20s club was all about fun, misunderstandings, not having boundaries, putting up with people’s trauma and negativity, trying too hard, feeling lost, and failing to recognise myself in the mirror. But those things started to change towards the end of my 20s and these changes will hopefully continue for a lifetime. 

People always make being 30 years old a big deal. Like, you’re supposed to have your life all figured out by now and heaven forbid if you haven’t. Apparently, I’m supposed to have a husband and children by now because my biological clock is ticking and men around my age will start seeing me as old. Well, I have neither; not a husband nor children, which according to many, is just unfathomable. In fact, I had a friend recently imply that I should go back to an ex and give him a chance. He couldn’t appreciate me when we were together but because she is losing hope that I will find ‘the one’, she thinks I should give it a shot. I mean, people often find the one in their 20s, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to work unless you work on yourself and build a relationship together. Relationships take a lot more work than people think. It was disappointing that my friend didn’t have faith I would find the love I’m seeking and so worthy of, and implied that I should settle for less. According to her, she has her life together you see, because she has a husband and two children. But we both see life very differently; we always have with all due respect, but more on friendships later!

So, back to the 30s club. Who said that you’re supposed to have it all figured out by 30? Who said you must have kids by this age? Let’s be honest, not everyone who is a parent should be one. For me, the 30s club is a different kind of mature. I can set boundaries and keep myself to myself, not have to worry about what people will think and without ever feeling like I am wasting my time and energy on things and people that I don’t want to. I did a lot of people pleasing earlier on in my life. It’s what happens when you don’t know yourself unfortunately. I know myself rather well now. I love my own company and I genuinely just don’t have the time to be dealing with trivial issues that do not serve a purpose in my life. Honestly, I have no interest in what ‘she’ got up to over the weekend. I have never been more content with who I am as a person and who I am continuously growing to be. The journey of self-love is never ending and one hell of a mind game.

So, why is it that we as women are made to feel like we are not enough when we get to a certain age? Why is it, that the only question you get asked is when you will get married? See, I feel that I am the best version of myself that I have ever been and I am working on becoming an even better version of myself now. I am sick and tired of being made to feel like there is something wrong with me because I don’t fit into the norm of having met someone and not planning a wedding. Weddings are overrated anyway! I admire people who are married and have children. I feel that that job role is harder than being a career focused woman because you have this beautiful little creature that depends on you for absolutely everything, but it also depends on you to lay the foundation right for mental health and emotional intelligence, and a whole bunch of other things. I imagine parenting to be hard. But the truth is, that’s exactly the role I don’t want to have. I haven’t lived enough of my own life yet. There’s so much I want to do and accomplish without the added pressure of bringing a child up right or looking after someone else’s child if he is not mature enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of love. I believe in unconditional love. But I don’t want to marry the wrong one or just settle. So, for now, the conquest continues of finding someone who is worthy of me. That doesn’t mean I have it all together when it comes to relationships. Remember I said tangled mess? Well, that is my love life and always has been. 

Until next time. 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x