Many of us have knowingly held on to unhealthy friendships based simply on the fact that “we’ve known each other since we were five.” We’ve spent hours going over conversations and events in our head, trying to make sense of why someone would say or do certain things to cause us hurt. We’ve remained silent when our voice was necessary because we were sparing feelings. We’ve made ourselves available for people at their convenience. We’ve given up our space and trust for people we thought were deserving of it. We’ve placed dreams on the back burner to make way for someone else’s because we were being a supportive friend. We’ve basically neglected ourselves in the process of maintaining a friendship not worth being in.
Friends are people who come into our lives at the right time and never leave. Friendships shouldn’t be one-sided. If you Are always the one giving, always the one reaching out, always the one encouraging- then certainly that friendship is toxic and you need to get out.
I’ve always been one to hold on to friendships based on how long I’ve known the person. I’m always the one making efforts to keep the communication active. I’d avoid all and any grey areas; I kept no sectrets from those I considered my true friends; their family bacame mine, I’d make myself available for any important events in their lives. I was always my friends biggest cheerleaders. Then it dawned on me that while I was freely giving bits and pieces of me to maintain friendships, I lost my way and purpose. I neglected the people who’ve been my greatest supporters from the start. I started to realize that most people only kept our lines open because they could benefit from me one way or another.
At first it was difficult accepting the reality. I’d still make excuses to stay in touch. I’d still invite myself into their space because I was used to being dependent on them being in my life.
It took me wanting assistance with a final paper to realize just how much I was worth to people I thought I couldn’t cope without. I’d fallen behind on a 15 page paper due as a final for my class. I asked a friend who had recently received a masters degree in the same subject area for her old papers. I wanted to use hers as a guideline for my paper. I probably would’ve paraphrased some of her work, too. She promised she’d email me all her papers before the end of the day. Midnight came, no email; tomorrow came no email; two days turned to three and I shyly called to ask if all is well and if she had somehow forgotten. Her response to me, in the most aggressive tone was: “honestly, I don’t think of you. I forget about you as soon as we get off the phone. I didn’t send it.” I was baffled but, sort of brushed it off as some new found sarcasm. There was silence on the phone for about 55 seconds until I told her it’s okay, I’ll figure this out. That was our last conversation. It was in that nick of time I realized, that I was not even worth a thought to this girl who I’d given my favorite dress to. I’ve given up my bed and slept on the floor so she could be comfortable. I’ve stopped speaking with people on her behalf. I’ve lied to my family for her. Lied to her man for her, and then some. However, I wasn’t a mere thought to her at I time I thought I needed her most.