My Best Guy Friend Got a Girlfriend and Ghosted Me in the Weirdest Way
It's no secret, but becoming super close to someone of the opposite sex without dating them (or developing feelings for them) can be challenging.
I wasn't close to that many guys in high school, but when you get to college, you're obviously exposed to so many more people (and you're basically living with them—whether you like it or not). And from there, many new friendships and relationships have the ability to develop in a different way than you experienced in grades 9-12.
Halfway through my freshman year of college, I met Scott* on a winter retreat with Hillel, the Jewish student organization on campus. At the time, he was already best friends with a girl who was also on the trip, and the two of them were very goofy and borderline obnoxious. I didn't really give him much thought, but somehow (I really don't remember how), we became friends shortly after the trip.
Going to high school in Orange County, California, I never had any Jewish friends, which was hard because that's a big part of who I am. Scott was Jewish, we had similar family upbringings, we loved music and we were both aspiring journalists. Although he was annoying at times, I admired his incredible writing skills and I loved how he was so ahead of trends when it came to blogging and discovering new music. He was also a good cook. And we came up with a ton of inside jokes.
Even though he maintained his very close friendship with the other girl, he and I became incredibly close, to the point where he infiltrated my then-very small friend group. Turns out he lived on the top floor of my dorm, so run-ins (on purpose and on accident) were pretty common.
We burned each other CDs, watched late-night cable, talked on AIM (you know, all the typical things college kids did in our era). By the end of freshman year, I'd say he was definitely my closest friend. And when I was about 1.5 hours from his house over that summer, he picked me up and took me out to a fancy lunch in his Northern California hometown. We stayed in touch all summer long, and come sophomore year, when we moved out of the dorms, he helped me get settled into my very first shared apartment.
Our Sometimes Uncomfortable Existence
As our sophomore year progressed, my roommates began referring to him (half-jokingly) as my husband, and it started to make me resent him, even though he wasn't the one saying it. Bottom line: He was the guy everyone assumed I'd marry, blah blah blah. On paper, he was definitely a catch, but I wasn't physically attracted to him, so I knew there was no future for us (nor did really even think about it much, to be honest).
I was never under the impression that he had feelings for me either—but during our junior year, we went on an Israel trip through Birthright with members of our Hillel, along with those of neighboring schools. He was actually deemed the "popular" one on the trip, while I was sick the entire time and felt like a total outcast. I tried to engage him because I felt like such a loner, but he was really wrapped up with all the other travelers.
That is, until immediately after the trip, when we ended up going to New York City for New Year's Eve. It was a total blast, and I could tell he was happy I was there. But when we were taking the train back to our respective New York relatives' places, he ended the ride with a big hug, followed by "I love you."
Now, I know this might seem like I'm blowing things out of proportion, but it wasn't the casual "I love ya" or "love you" that a lot of us say to our friends. It had a serious tone to it, and maybe this is all in my head, but at maybe just that very moment, I feel like he may have had feelings for me. We never discussed it, and went on our merry way as friends.
My Biggest Cheerleader
Later into that school year, Scott and I began to drift a bit. He became a little flaky and super busy with school activities. I was actually pretty bummed out. While I didn't have feelings for him, I did feel a sense of attachment, and I missed our camaraderie.
Luckily, right before summer approached, I scored a coveted paid position as a staff writer/reporter for our daily college newspaper, which was a huge deal at that time. Scott, in fact, advanced all the way up to Managing Editor because he'd been at the paper since he was a sophomore. This meant the two of us would be spending plenty of time in our favorite environment together during senior year, on our computers, looking over each other's work—or so I thought…
(Riverdale via The CW)
Once I landed the gig, Scott could not have been more congratulatory. He made me feel pretty important, seeing as a ton of people applied for my position. He took me out for a celebratory dinner and I really saw us having an encouraging, motivating friendship during our final year of college.
The GF Enters the Picture
Senior year kicked off, and one week in was Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday. Scott and I went to services together, and me, trying my best to abide by tradition, went straight home afterwards to do nothing. He, on the other hand, opted to catch a movie with a few other students from the service. I had no idea at the time, but one of those people would go on to become his girlfriend.
It happened so quickly. Hanging out on my couch before he left for the movie was the last time I can recall us hanging out, one-on-one. Senior year continued, and I regularly saw him in the newsroom. Our communication was limited to "hey," pretty much. It was really weird. I did make efforts to hang out with him, or at least talk to him. And it was seemingly a lost cause. Was his girlfriend threatened by our friendship? Did he feel wrong talking to me because he harbored feelings? I'll never know…
(Riverdale via Shutterstock)
Following graduation, he and I both (independently) opted to stick around campus for the summer, before embarking on adulthood. When I did decide to head back home for good, I invited him and his girlfriend to my farewell get-together. I wasn't about to give up that easily on the friendship, and I felt like extending an invitation to them both would hopefully open the doors to staying in touch.
They both showed up and were perfectly friendly, but guess what? It didn't bring us any closer. But the strangest thing happened…
Two years after graduation (and two years after seeing or hearing from him), he texted me completely out of the blue and said he wanted to catch up. I was shocked. Sure enough, he called later that day and we talked for two hours. I couldn't believe our conversation. It was great! We talked about our post-college careers and lives, and we both were doing well. I said I was really happy now, living in L.A., whereas he said he moved to Seattle, and was, in fact, engaged!
At this point, the engagement (to the same girl from college) didn't surprise me. And it didn't bother me at all. I was just happy that he made an effort to reach out. As our conversation concluded, the last thing he said was, "So, will you to come to the wedding?"
I was not expecting that. I asked him if he was serious, and graciously thanked him for the invite. I never would have expected him to invite me after these years of not talking. But it brought a smile to my face, and I was looking forward to taking part in this new chapter of his life. After telling him I would go, he said, "Great! Text me your mailing address as soon as we get off the phone so I can send you an invite."
We hung up the phone, I immediately texted him—and, are you ready for this? It's been years and I haven't heard from him since! I even followed up a week after texting him to make sure he received my message. Nope. Nothing.
I recently went on his Facebook just for kicks, and, sure enough, he has two kids and is happily married. In fact, he and his wife are still extremely close to a few of the other Hillel girls (including the girl he was BFF with in college).
Funny enough, about six months ago, he started following me on Instagram (why?!) and has even watched a few of my stories. I don't see the point, but I guess it's flattering to know he's remotely interested in my life.
Luckily, I've been able to meet other people who check most of the same boxes as Scott. It's an incredible, rare feeling, and I'm so grateful to have found that elsewhere, but truthfully, there's something particularly special about someone who's known you before you had a career; when you struggled through school; when you went through your most awkward phases. I obviously don't have that in the people I'm closest to now.
(Riverdale via The CW)
I've pretty much outgrown all of my college friends, but, thinking about it, I know I wouldn't have outgrown Scott—married with kids or not. While I've gone on with my life and really don't think about him much at all, it will always be unfortunate how things ended with someone who I once connected with on such a strong level.
I have no closure and no reasoning, but will instead just have to be grateful that I had that special person in my life at any point at all. I know the bond I shared with Scott is rare, and I have to seek some kind of fulfillment in knowing I was able to find that.
*name has been changed to protect privacy
I have no interest in reaching out to Scott, but if I really wanted to, I could try with one of THESE six excuses to use when you want to rekindle a friendship.