I Outgrew a Friendship and Handled It All the Wrong Way

If you asked me point blank about my devotion to friendships, I'd probably answer that I'm an A+ friend. I value loyalty and selflessness, while also enjoying a really good time.

But then if I thought deeper on it, I'd realize that I've done some pretty shady things in the past. Top on my list of bad moves? Totally ditching my BFF without any explanation.

Scroll below to find out why it happened and why I regret it to this day:

As a kid, my family moved around a lot. By the time I was in 7th grade we officially planted in a town for good, but the many years of moving left me with a handful of friends in different states. Each move was tough, but I got used to the feeling of saying goodbye forever.

While I'd like to say that making friends became easy, seeing as how I'd had tons of practice, I can't say I've ever been great at breaking the ice with new classmates.

When I started 7th grade at a new school, I had trouble acquainting myself with the town folk. Eventually, finally, I made a friend. But not just any friend, a friend who deeply enjoyed my company.  Let's call her Maddy*.

Maddy and I spent pretty much every waking hour of the school day together. In the mornings I was dropped off at her house and we'd walk across the street to school together after dishing on some morning gossip. In the afternoons we ate lunch together, and after school we rendezvoused at her house for some snacks.

Two friends walking together

(via Shutterstock)

While she was super invested in the friendship, I have to admit that my heart was never fully in it. I can't really say why, but I didn't feel the same BFF spark.

Cut to the first week of 9th grade, and I'm walking into Biology behind a girl who I recognized from middle school but never formally met. Over the days I would discover two things: 1) Rebecca* and I had a handful of classes together. 2) We had an instant best friend connection.

It was like we'd known each other our entire lives, and I was soothed by the level of comfort I'd never experienced before due to my nomadic upbringing.

Slowly I began spending more and more time with my new friend, Rebecca, in place of Maddy. I still went to M's house every morning before school and I still ate with her at lunch, but after school I traded my time for Rebecca.

It began first with excuses ("We have a Biology project to work on together"), and then turned into straight-up lies ("My mom won't let me hang out tonight").

I desperately wanted to spend lunchtime with my new BFF, too, but didn't know how to talk to Maddy about it. The truth was, I just had so much more in common with Rebecca, from classes to interests to banter.

I became so overwhelmed with the anxiety of how to talk to Maddy that I began ignoring her at school. As I walked around campus with Rebecca, we would dart behind buildings if we caught a glimpse of my ex-bestie or quickly claim in passing that I had to work on homework during lunch.

Before I knew it, days had passed since I'd spoken with Maddy—outside of the friendly "hi" and "bye." I knew I needed to say something soon, but the dread prevented me from summoning up the courage.

Eventually I got an AIM message from Maddy (for any of you who aren't familiar with this old mode of communication, it was like text messaging from your computer). The message read, "I know what's happening." Finally it was time to fess up.

Stressed teen sitting at computer

(via Shutterstock)

I explained how I didn't mean to hurt her, but that I would be spending more time with Rebecca. Maddy was understanding—in retrospect, too understanding—and this gave me great relief. Since Maddy was super extroverted and fun-loving, I knew she'd find a new best friend in no time.

It wasn't until later that I heard through the grapevine that she was extremely hurt about the incident and spent much of her time in tears. Because I was never fully invested in our friendship, it was hard for me to foresee how badly this would affect her. I thought, blissfully ignorant, that she'd move on just as easily as I had. Of course I was sorely mistaken.

Growing up sometimes means growing apart, and while this can be an extremely hard and painful experience, it's just a fact of life. However, I made things so much more hard and painful than they needed to be by avoiding my bestie rather than being direct. If I could do it all over again I would be much more upfront about my feelings.

Mariana and Emma The Fosters

(The Fosters via Freeform)

While I'm still best friends with Rebecca (so, yay, at least this all wasn't in vain!), if the opportunity ever arose to move forward to a new best friend, I would handle the situation entirely differently.

If you've been struggling with a similar situation, it's best to address the problem straight-on, rather than sneaking around. There will be many, many hard situations in life, but running away is never the answer. Truthfully, it only elongates the issue and escalates the drama.

Avoiding is the cowardly way out and I'll be the first to admit my weak ways. I hurt a girl who never did anything wrong, and I poured salt on the wound by acting like a total baby. I'm not proud of my choices, but I share them in hopes that you won't make my same mistakes!

*Names have been changed to protect privacy

 

Gain a little perspective from the other side by clicking HERE to read about what Shawna learned after her BFF ditched her for another group of friends.