How Getting Stabbed in the Back Strengthened My Relationship With My BFF
Becoming friends with Hannah* came with a big warning sign.
Essentially, from day one of our high school-long friendship, I was informed by people close to her that she is not to be trusted. But her charisma and our sister-like bond made me ignore the warnings. She was a lot of fun and we got along famously, as if we'd been friends forever. She poured out her soul to me about personal matters, and I did the same with her—one of those matters being my sometimes-tumultuous relationship with one of my best friends Mindy*.
Mindy and I had been friends since middle school, but we both became friends with Hannah at the same time, when the three of us were put in the same group for a freshman year social studies project. Once we all became buddy-buddy, it became a bit of a sticky situation when I would share details with her about problems Mindy and I were having.
(Gossip Girl via The CW)
I by no means expected her to take sides, as they were certainly allowed to have their own friendship. My friendship with Mindy was a bit of a rollercoaster back then, and it was understandable that Hannah had strong opinions. After hearing me complain and express angst, she would encourage me to distance myself from Mindy, and she'd remind me of how crappy this friendship made me feel.
At this point in time, she was right. Mindy and I indeed needed space and the friendship wasn't healthy. I appreciated Hannah "caring" and really taking the time to listen to me. It showed me (or so I thought) that she really had my best interests in mind and wanted me to live my best life.
By the time senior year rolled around, the situation with Mindy vastly improved. We both matured in a lot of ways and also acknowledged the problems in our friendship, making active efforts to change certain things. Granted, our dynamic was nowhere near perfect, but it became apparent to anyone associated with us that we cared about each other and genuinely wanted to be friends.
Hannah, Mindy and I maintained a mutual friendship, and despite continued warnings, I truly had no reason to question Hannah's motives—until one night when she slept over.
As usual, we got wrapped up in logging onto the internet (yep, we actually had to dial in back then!), scrolling through AOL profiles (#RIP) and giggling about the ridiculous things our classmates would write in them. Naturally, Mindy's name came up, and into the search box went her screen name. In her profile, she gave a shoutout to two of her other close friends, but my name was nowhere to be found, even though we spent a good majority of our time together.
After seeing this, Hannah commented harshly, but not in a way that seemed to come from the heart as I formerly thought. It was almost spiteful, like "Geez! I honestly don't understand why you put up with that. She puts everyone above you. I don't think she cares about you!" She then proceeded to tell me negative things Mindy supposedly said about me—but petty things that you would have no reason to tell someone unless you really wanted to hurt them.
(Gossip Girl via The CW)
It was then that I realized she enjoyed this—that after four years of friendship, she never really did want to see me happy. Of course, as she told me these hurtful things, I didn't consider the source, and instead became immediately upset. I treated Mindy differently at school, and, in my mind, I couldn't get past those disparaging comments. After a few weeks, tensions grew, and the two of us were basically back to the way we were freshman year: in an unhealthy, disrespectful place.
We had a huge fight and avoided each other for about a month, despite sharing a high school campus. It sucked, to say the least. Meanwhile, Hannah would check in on me regularly, and often ask if Mindy and I had spoken yet. I refused to open the conversation topic anymore, and shut it down as quickly as I could each time. It was clear she was in it for the gossip, and not because she genuinely cared.
Finally, after tensions cooled, Mindy and I met up during lunch period one day to talk. After much back and forth and clarifications, she revealed to me that, after our fight, Hannah told her some pretty incriminating (and false) things about me. I was shocked. I mean, it was clear for a while that she loved to stir the pot, but to blatantly lie? Wow. It was then that I questioned those things Hannah told me that Mindy said about me. I didn't even bother bringing them up to Mindy because what was the point?
It was really unfortunate knowing that horrible rumors were lingering about me for a whole month—and spread by someone I truly cared about. But after all was said and done, Mindy believed me, and we agreed that we'd never let a person (or gossip) come between us. We vowed to respectfully confront the other if there was something that needed to be discussed. It didn't mean that every waking moment was smooth-sailing between us from that point on—but we stayed true to our promise and it ultimately strengthened our bond.
After the incident, we distanced ourselves from Hannah. Graduation was near, and afterwards we went our separate ways for college. Even though Hannah didn't remain in my life, she did teach me two very important lessons: Never let any person come between you and someone you care about, and be mindful of who knows how you feel about everyone.
The situation really changed the way I talk about people in general. I find one or two people whom I truly trust and vent to them. But I always make sure it's not someone closely tied to the other person involved. It's always important to have someone you can talk to when times get tough—but not everyone is going to be that person.
*names have been changed to protect privacy
Think you've got a tough friend situation on your hands? HERE are four signs you and your BFF need space!