In the age of social media, certain lines have been blurred when it comes to friendships and how they are handled. I am grateful for all the instant ways I can connect to my family and friends (especially during this pandemic). Sadly, connections can some times lead to miscommunications. And, all this extra time on my hands has made me wonder why certain friendships just never clicked. Was it different values? The difference in the way we handle things? What was it in these friendships? Luckily, these friendships that never “clicked” have either fizzled away or just simply remained acquaintances that I occasionally see around campus and grab coffee with!
Sadly, one friendship that never clicked has remained a big question mark in my life. By no means am I the perfect friend or person… And I am sure that I have been a toxic friend or person in other people’s lives and do not want to start the “blame game” with anyone.
While I may feel that this person is toxic to me, they may feel the same way about me towards them. However, why has this issue persisted throughout our friendship? This is my open letter to her. I have tried addressing these issues with her, and maybe my lack of persistence or our lack of empathy towards each other has made a resolution impossible. I do not think that this person is a bad person, I just think that when we are together, we may bring out unwanted emotions in each other which leads to inappropriate reactions. I do want to say that at times, this friend and I exchanged tense conversations over text messages, and I constantly felt unheard. This friend has been so adamant that they are right and texts have made those messages sound 100 times worse.
While social media has been seen as a resourceful tool at getting a message across, it can sometimes change dynamics in friendships. This friendship (or lack of) has taught me that it is important to never make jokes unless you really know that person or have established a relationship that permits jokes that sometimes may not be appropriate with someone you do not know. Social media does not have established boundaries and the context in texts can sometimes be confusing.
This friendship also highlighted that women need to uplift women and never use our weaknesses towards each other.
While we share backgrounds and at times friends, why are there such gaps in how we perceive the same thing? Why do I view things one way and you another? Are you angry at my relationship with my mother? Does it make you feel envy when you see that my mother supports me whereas there is a strained relationship with your own?
When we’ve been out with friends, specifically male friends, why would you feel the need to bring up my sex life and think it was appropriate? As women shouldn’t we always take the time to support and uplift each other?
While each friendship has its ups and downs, ours definitely has had its fair shares of downs. While I don’t understand it, I feel maybe this will clear things up for you and hopefully me.
I am not angry at you, but more so confused. While we have ties to a community that you are deeply entrenched in and I only know through glimpses, this makes my friendship towards you tense. Will you divulge my secrets and my stories the way you do about others? We have both been born into a culture that scrutinizes every action a woman takes, yet you have never taken a moment to bite your tongue and wonder what the repercussions can be on my family and I once you spread the things you say. I do not live in a conservative house, however, the community is. Where does that leave us?
When you asked whether my mom liked you or not, it was not an easy question. I want to emphasize that my parents have always had an open-door policy. Both my parents are ready to discuss anything, even though it’s seen as inappropriate. My parents have lived by the rules that honesty is the best policy, and if you need our help, tell us the whole story because then we can truly help you. One particular night, you had messaged me “Are you awake? Can I come over?” it was around 11:30 at night, and when I told my mom she said, “I just want you to think this through.” My mom’s apprehension made me uneasy. On one hand, my mother’s focus was that a woman was in a safe space and wasn’t loitering around downtown. On the other hand, she felt that you would never tell your mother the truth. My mom’s apprehension was that if anything happened to you under her care, how would she handle it? Your own mother did not know you stayed that night, and it bothers my mom that you came into our home without informing your mother. It bothers her because she knows it would keep her up all night if I did not come home. I don’t understand why you did not want to tell your mother that you were at our home that night, because I am so sure that your mother was worried about your wellbeing and your safety. While you slept that night, did it ever occur to you that it kept your own mother up? My mother was not sure if she should call your mother, while this would be the right thing to do, my mom also tried to respect your boundaries. However, you walked into our home and lied. You told my mom you were at the library when you were not. I had already told my mom that you were out that night, thus this lie just cemented my mom’s opinion. You are not an honest person, and this will soon become a difficult relationship if it continued.
Our friendship soon fell through the cracks and when we no longer saw eye to eye, we both moved away from our friendship. It did eventually rekindle and yet slipped through the cracks again. I think at this point, we both know that our friendship will never be more than two people who knew each other at one point, but that is it.
During lunches and dinners with friends, you have openly asked “Why did your parents not have more kids? Do you wish for a sibling?” which is not only inappropriate but just puts me on the spot. When you jokingly said that my mom and I discuss my sex life, it was the farthest thing from the truth. My mom and I have a healthy relationship where communication in our view is key. I find it wild that even though I have addressed the factor of not bringing up my personal life, you still do. You’ve had this weird upper-hand in our relationship. When all your actions and choices have been justified, you have somehow shamed me constantly. Calling me petty or more critical or an overthinker. Yet, when you had issues with a friend, I was sympathetic. But I vividly remember thinking, the same gripes you have with this friend are the same things you have put me through. I thought maybe you would be nicer to me after this, but our friendship slowly became void and I think that was for the best.
I think the icing on the cake was that ultimately, while you have at times aired my personal life in public for jokes or to belittle me, I never aired yours. Between you and I, we both know that life is hard. I always realized that I came from an extremely privileged place, and that jealousy makes us sometimes act in ways we do not. I do believe that you think I have an upper-hand on you because I have been privy to certain parts of your life that you may think I will divulge. While I would not ever embarrass you in public, maybe you can do the same?
I hope you find happiness and that this friendship teaches us both a lesson about creating and respecting boundaries.
When I think of my other friendships, I realize that they are based on mutual respect and trust. Something that our friendship lacked.
As we may like each other’s Instagram posts and sometimes reply to each other’s stories, I think our friendship explains how social media can make things look ok when beneath the surface, lies many emotions.
We live in an era of instant communication, and yet lack many basic communication tools. Our friendship highlights so many different issues, how women feel the need to compete with each other and put each other down in front of others. The need to demean me in front of men somewhat depicts how patriarchy seeps into friendships no matter what. Sadly, it is something that we see in friendships in movies and there usually is a happy ending. I wish our friendship had that “aha” moment where we both would realize that the things we say are demeaning and hurtful. Yet, life is not a movie and it takes two to tango.