This was an interesting discussion I stumbled upon while reading Reddit from my bed today. I wound up staying up all last night and passed out around 10 am this morning. I’m not sure if it’s my new bed that’s uncomfortable, or if it’s just me.
There was a question in one of the subs I’m in asking “what happened to your best friend? why did you ditch them?”
This question made me think of a few friends I’ve lost over the years. And I use the word “friend” loosely. What I have learned in life, is that people come and go in your life. Your true friends, the people who love you no matter what – will accept you even despite your faults and mistakes. They’ll grow with you and stand by your side during the different stages of your life. They’ll hold your hand while you grieve. They’ll pop open a bottle of wine to help you celebrate something.
But as I’ve learned, people can be selfish assholes. Excuse my language. Sometimes you detect this right away when you meet someone new, and sometimes it can take years for you to discover the truth. So, let me take you back to a time in my youth when I made some bad decisions and chose the wrong kind of friends.
Never live with your friends
I learned this the hard way. When I turned 18-19 and had graduated from high school, my mother and I butted heads a lot. We had screaming matches on a regular basis. It was a very unhealthy environment. My mother had always been hard on me as a kid and it became worse as I got older. We finally started getting along better when I was closer to 30. And towards the end, she was one of my best friends.
I can’t remember the dates here. The timeline is fuzzy. But it was either 1996 or 1997 when I moved out with my best mate from high school Trina. She was renting a townhouse with her baby daddy Scott. And for some reason, I thought it was a good idea to move in with this unstable couple and a toddler. Silly me. Trina had gotten “knocked up” during our senior year. By the time she turned 18, she was a mom.
The first few months of living in the townhouse, it was like a party every night. My friend Natasha would often visit us. We had all gone to high school together and hung out often during that time. We would get together for drinks on the weekend and play “asshole” until three in the morning. I’m sure our neighbours hated us. We were those neighbours. Up all night. Loud music. Laughing.
But the worst of it was – Trina and Scott were absolute pigs. The townhouse was disgusting. It didn’t matter how much I cleaned, five minutes later the place would be a disaster. I remember an argument with Trina one day that pretty much ended our friendship.
Natasha had told me to have a “heart to heart” talk with Trina to find out how things could improve. I was running low on money and had to find a part time job to pay my share of the rent. Scott’s friends were always over at our place, eating our food and drinking our beer. It got tiresome after just a few months. By month five, I was ready to leave.
“I’m tired of cleaning up after all of you. Every day. It’s the same. I clean, toss out the garbage. And five minutes later, you come home and the place is a disaster. Plus Greg, he can’t sleep here anymore without paying some kind of rent. It’s not fair.”
“Why would I clean when I have you to do it for me?” was Trina’s response.
I started packing my bags that day and said, “Well then, Greg can take over my portion of the lease. We’re done here.”
Greg was Scott’s best friend. He was sleeping on the couch and then eventually moved to the basement. His name was not on the lease but he was eating all of our food. To make matters worse – Trina was also screwing Greg when Scott was at work and swore me to secrecy.
Greg wasn’t the only one she was having a fling with. There were others. So many others. It was a very unhealthy environment for anyone to be in. Scott would come home and be in a “mood”. One time, he actually punched a hole in the wall.
My family came to help me move out and I never saw them again after that. They tried to get me to move in with them the next year. When Trina phoned me to ask if I would join them, I literally laughed my ass off into the phone.
“Oh, no,” was all I said. And hung up the phone. We haven’t spoken since. That was 1998. I think.
Thinking back now as I write this all out – Trina was also a boyfriend thief. She would flirt with my male visitors. Especially my summer fling — Steve the trucker. I’ll write about him again another night. This has been quite cathartic.
The boyfriend stealer
I had actually forgotten this story until my mom died seven years ago. I received a message from Natasha on Facebook offering her condolences. She had met my mom many times. Then she said to me, “Charles wants to send his condolences too. Can I send him your contact information?”
I was floored. I hadn’t thought of Charles in years. My mom died in 2014 and I dated Charles very briefly in 1998.
After I moved back home with my parents, Natasha and I kept in touch and hung out on the weekends. I would keep her company while she worked at her parents store. And then we’d go play pool and have some drinks after. Because that’s what we did in the 90’s. We didn’t have cell phones yet. So, when you said you were going to meet someone at a specific time, you showed up.
We had a lot of fun together.
One night we were at my cousin’s bar which was just around the corner from my home. It was a small dive with two pool tables. Great beer. Good food – and it was stumbling distance home. One night while there, we met Charles and his brother Chris. Charles took an instant liking to me. We had a lot in common.
Natasha was overweight at the time, and Chris really didn’t like her all that much. But the four of us bonded quickly over beer and wings. We spent many nights together – drunk. Because that’s what you did in your late teen years.
Charles and I hadn’t had sex yet. Our relationship was short. I don’t remember a lot of details. He and Chris lived with his mom. But I knew already that they both had a drinking problem and I was leery of getting too involved in the relationship.
About three or four months later, I went over for a visit with Charles. He said he needed to speak to me. Because we had those kinds of conversations in person back then. No cell phones meant no text messages. No breaking up via text either.
I sat down and he grabbed my hand and started caressing it gently.
“I’m really sorry. I don’t know how to tell you this,” he said to me.
“Just say it, whatever it is. It can’t be that bad,” I said foolishly.
“I cheated on you. I’m sorry. It happened one night after drinking. I slept with someone else,” he said.
What happened next is hazy. I remember dropping his hand. I grabbed my shoes and purse. He tried following me to the door but I pushed him away.
“Talk to me please,” he begged. “I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you,” he added.
I looked at him and for the first time in my adult life I wanted to hurt him back. But I just shook my head and said, “I – I can’t. I have to go.”
Did I mention that Natasha lived in the same building as the brothers? This should have been a first clue. But back then, I was daft when it came to trusting people.
Natasha chose that exact moment to walk into the building. She asked me what was wrong. I leaned against the wall, slid to the floor and just sobbed. I didn’t even know if I loved Charles. But I was still healing from the fallout with Trina. I had lost so much already.
What happened next, I’ll never forget.
Natasha started crying. She sat on the floor next to me and put her arms around me.
“I’m sorry Wendy. It all happened so fast,” she admitted.
I pulled back and looked at her with a shocked face.
“It was you?” I screamed at her.
She nodded silently.
“How could you do this to me? To us? I trusted you,” I said. “Friends don’t do this to each other.”
She nodded again.
“It happened one night. You know that night the four of us got really drunk. We had sex on the stairs. Right there. It was the most unromantic experience. It was over in minutes. I’m really fucking sorry,” she said.
The sobs stopped. Again, I wanted to push her away and slap her. Instead, I pulled myself off the floor, dusted off my pants.
“This isn’t friendship. I would never have done this to you,” I said.
I walked down the hall, pushed my way through the main doors and never looked back.
Trust is one of those things that is really hard to earn. When trust is broken, sometimes I wonder if you really can forgive and forget. Eventually, I did forgive Natasha and we friended each other on Facebook. But her sexcapades with my boyfriend destroyed all trust I had.
In one night, I lost three friends. It took me a long time to get over the hurt.
I’ve learned that friends come and go into your life. People change. They move away. Sometimes you grow apart. Or you outgrow friends who are stuck in their party ways.
And there are those friends that will be by your side no matter what happens in your life.
I’ve been blessed to have found friends like this through the church community I volunteer at. And also through work over the years. Three of my closest female friends, I met through work. One was a former boss. We still saw each other for lunch every couple of months – at least until COVID happened.
I know I wasn’t always easy to get along with in those younger years. I was going through my fair share of turmoil. But I also learned not to let people in too quickly. And not to trust people too easily.
Have you ever said goodbye to someone you once called a best friend? If so, what happened? Let me know in the comments.