I believe wisdom comes with tribulations, that knowledge is processed and understood through learned mistakes, mistakes that will not happen again.
I saw an old friend recently at the mall, maybe a week ago. Seeing this particular friend made me a little nervous. About a year ago, we were real close. We were always together, just me and her. I could tell her almost everything. However, I started to feel suffocated. She always called, wanting to know where I was or what I was doing and why she was not included. I had other friends that I wanted to have fun with but she would feel intimidated when they were around. She consistently made up lies about my other friends to make them mad, so mad that they would not want to hang around me anymore. When we were in school we had to walk in the hallway together, eat lunch together, arrive together, leave together. The situation was so bad that I started to believe that she could not go on living if we were not together. It was very frustrating; however I did not know how to tell her to “back off” just a little. Around the same time of the conflicting emotions, I started developing feelings for my boyfriend. My friend felt threaten by his presence as well. She would try to make him feel uncomfortable to be around us, even though she knew that I liked him. We had to sneak around to get a moment away from her, even if we were still surrounded by a lot of other friends. But somehow she always managed to finds us, and every time she did she scorned me for choosing him over my “best friend”.
During one of our “hide-outs”, my boyfriend asked me the question that has been pondering in my head for months. “Why do you hang out with her?” I quickly replied, “Because she is obsessed with me. I don’t even like her. She just hangs around me to have someone to talk to about her parents’ divorce.” As soon as I spoke those words, my intuition told me to turn around. She was standing right behind me and, from how her face twisted, I could tell she heard everything that I said. I immediately regret even having such thoughts; however it was too late to take them back. As I look back now, maybe that is what I felt at the time. I was just so ashamed to say it. I tried calling her for weeks but she never answered. We did not walk in the hallway together, eat lunch together, arrive or leave together anymore. Matter of fact I did not see her much after that.
A few weeks later my boyfriend dumped me, a lost a lot of “friends” and I really did not have anyone to talk to. I sat at home, alone, thinking of all the conversation that my old friend and I used to have. She always listened and she always had good advice, even if I did not want to hear it. She was a good friend and I lost her. I have learned that discussing the problem with the person you have the problem with offers a better solution than talking behind their back, especially if that person is really close to her. Seeing her at the mall that day, I did not approach her or speak, in fact I prayed she would not see me. I find myself missing her a lot. But even if she looks back and hates me, I want her to know that I love her because she taught me a lesson that I should take and cherish for the rest of my life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.