Falling in love has ups and downs. (Facebook/love and friendship)
You never realize what you have until it’s gone. This is one of the most common cliches, but it’s probably one of the truest ones to live by. Maintaining a balance between my best friend and boyfriend was something I absolutely did not know how to do.
Before I begin, just remember that there is always two sides to every story! I’m here to write about my experience therefore everything written is in my perspective.
The Best Friend Years
By years I mean 11 years! Of course know that I’m not writing everything she and I went through throughout our entire friendship.
Before I had a boyfriend, my former best friend and I would do everything together. You know, typical best friend stuff. We would go to clubs, parties, and kickbacks together. We would sleep over each others houses. We would do other corny best friend stuff, too. During our senior prom we had this thing called “Senior Song Dedications” which allowed you to stand alone on the dance floor in the middle of your senior class and tell the person you care about how much you appreciate and love them. So there I stood, alone in the dance floor with a rose in my hand, hearing the message I wrote to her being read out loud in front of everyone as the song “Without You” by Mary J. Blige played in the background. A weird choice of song you might say, but in reality that song explains the common breakup she and shared with our then high school boyfriends.
Her dad and mom were like the parents I never had (I was raised by a single parent, my mom). They welcomed me into their own home like I was one of their own. During hard familial times I would spend the holidays with her family. Her and I would make ridiculous dancing videos and post them on Facebook. People always commented on our friendship, saying how lucky we were to have such a good friendship. There was no me without her and I’d like to think there was no her without me. Reality is, it didn’t feel like a friendship. It felt like a family bond.
She was the little sister I always wanted. We were different yet alike. She was a cheerleader and I was a basketball player. Whenever I had a game she would come watch me play. Whenever she had cheerleading practice or competitions I would be there to watch her perform. I remember when I was in the 7th grade I decided to join a cheerleading team because she was in it. It was fun for a year, until I realized it wasn’t for me.
I promise you, the only thing we had in common was music and the same taste in some TV shows. We didn’t even like the same boys. She was into white boys and I was into black guys. Despite our different interest, what kept us together was the experiences and memories we had built together. We would do anything to spend time together. And like any other best friends we would tell each other everything. She knows things about me that others don’t. The day I realized I was very lucky to have her as a best friend was the day she decided to forgive me when I betrayed her trust. I remember telling myself that if she ever forgave me I would prove to her that I was still worthy of being her friend and like many friendships we overcame all odds. One thing you must know about her is that she has always been a great friend to me. She never betrayed my trust and that was always important to me. I will always appreciate that about her.
How my relationship affected my friendship
The first thing that people must know is that relationships are extremely hard; therefore, communication is key! I never fully understood this until I was committed to a serious relationship. Secondly, every relationship is different. Couples have different personalities and goals in life that inevitably makes them compatible or incompatible. Thirdly, boundaries are crucial for a healthy, mature, and successful relationship. And fourthly, all of the above also apply to a friendship, which I didn’t learn until my best friend and I drifted apart.
Once I became involved in a serious relationship, my boyfriend influenced me on the relationship I had with my best friend. Truthfully, he didn’t like me hanging out with her (due to some issues he had towards her); however, not once did he tell me to neglect the friendship I had with her. That was a choice I slowly made without realizing I was making a mistake. I will admit that I started enjoying spending more time with my boyfriend than I did with her, which made me exclude her from my outings and life accomplishments. Things slowly began to transition, instead of sharing things with both of them I would exclusively share everything with my boyfriend.
Like I said, communication is key. I should have found a way to tell her how I was feeling. At this point in my relationship I was falling in love and most of the time I wanted to spend my time with my boyfriend. My intention were never to purposely exclude or hurt her, I was just oblivious to how wrong I was managing my time with both of them.
It became difficult to balance my friendship with her and my boyfriend. It was always important to me for the two people that I cared about to get along, but that didn’t turn out in my favor. One of the things that I should have learned to do was set boundaries. I never made made my needs known. I never told my boyfriend that my friendship with my best friend was important to me and that a day or two apart would not affect us. I never knew how to spend time with them both separately and it really came down to one or the other. And if you find yourself in this situation just know that it doesn’t have to come down to either or, you have to find a balance and time if something is really that important to you.
As she and I began to drift apart, I realized that our personalities were changing, we were doing different things in life, and we had different goals which was a big factor in our friendship. It now seemed that we were incompatible friends.
It didn’t take me until almost a year later to realize how I could have handled certain scenarios better, building better communication and managing my time effectively with both.
Post Best Friend Years
We still keep in touch, but strictly text messages that are “hi, how are you?” and such text conversations don’t last anymore than about 10 messages combined. We don’t discuss our private life. We are acquaintances. Who would have thought?
I never fully knew how she felt during the time I excluded her from my life, but life has a way of biting you in the ass. Once I noticed that she had completely moved on and accepted that we were no longer best friends, I realized how much I missed and took her for granted. But life works that way sometimes. I guess people call that Karma.