During the first year of college, my parents were worried about me because I had no friends. At first glance, I looked like one of those quiet kids that sit in the back, never talk if not needed. I was once a cheerful and talkative girl, but it had gotten me into troubles in high school – like being cornered by some girls in my class – so when I started college, I knew better and stayed silent.
I met a girl in one of my classes who was also an outsider like me. We quickly became best friends when we told each other our stories and how we didn’t feel like we belonged to other groups.
Our group consisted of four people at first. One left the group in our third semester; the other one followed suit in the beginning of our fifth semester. I had no idea why at that time, thinking they might have gotten bored with me and the other girl. I had no idea that our friendship was toxic and destructive.
When there were the four and three of us, she was nice and sweet to me, but when it became just the two of us, she changed. She could be really manipulative, twisting my words and making me think as if it was my fault that we never hung out with other friends. The truth is I did hang out with other friends when I was not with her, because I knew she would hate to have them around us. When she found out about this she didn’t say a word to me. But to my other friend she claimed that the surprise birthday party we had thrown for her was her idea and that the gifts were also hers.
I never joined any volunteering, because I knew she would hate it if I took a long time to reply to her texts, or I was when she needed me.
While she never expressed her anger directly to me, she would text me hurtful words, but would pretend like it never happened the next day. When I was the one angry because she refused to work on our assignments, she gave me the silent treatment, as if everything that happened was my fault.
Eventually it began to take a toll on me. I would dread whenever her name popped on my notification, wondering what insults I would be reading next.
We all have that one nasty friend, my parents had said, but at least you have a friend, right? And she’s there for you?
Well, yes, she was there for me. She was also there for me, when she posted online about a girl with thick glasses and big front teeth who would never get a boyfriend. Everyone in our school could see it and everyone knew it was about me.
I was taught how to make friends at an early age, but no one had told me how to end a friendship. So I began ending our friendship by blocking her on every social media, and avoiding to be in the same room or take the same class as her. If this couldn’t be helped, I avoided talking to her.
A few months before graduation I tried talking to her again, but the pain was still there as well as the panicky feeling when I saw her name on my phone.
How could someone I trusted enough with my secrets use them as a knife to stab me in my back? And how can someone I cared about have such a strong impact on me and my emotional wellbeing?
I was afraid of her. Whenever I replied to her message I was afraid that we would become friends again, and I would be trapped in that toxic cycle. That was when I realized that it was okay to leave, to never talk to her again. Those few months of avoiding her have given me some space to recover from our traumatizing friendship. I could hang out again with other friends, meet new people, and I came to realization that people in my college weren’t all bad.
She eventually found out that I ignored her texts on purpose and she started posting stuff about me online again, but I didn’t care this time. I’ve proved to myself that I could do better without her and that there are other people who care about me, who are okay with me going out with other friends, and who will talk to me directly if we have problems.
It’s okay to cut off your connections with people who will do no good and who are only there to ruin your life.
Nur Aulia Afina is a reader who loves to play Werewolf on Telegram and watch anime with good plot and character development. Contact her at [email protected]