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A Toxic Friendship

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Getting out of a bad relationship can be hard, especially when it’s lasted for so long. When I realized that my close childhood friend wasn’t a good person and didn’t treat me as a friend should, I tried to reject it. We had been friends for so long that cutting ties now would feel like all the time I had invested in our relationship would be lost. I kept giving her excuses for her behavior, but eventually, it got so nasty that I couldn’t keep denying that she wasn’t the caring and charming person I thought she was. I learned from this bad relationship that people aren’t always who they appear to be. Middle school was an awkward transition for me. In elementary school, I was very sociable but didn’t make a lot of close friends.

Because of this, when people in my grade started gathering into friend groups, and I quickly became isolated. Midway through 6th grade, I did end up making one friend though, and her name was Amber. Social awkwardness had made her transition to middle school difficult as well, so we decided to stick together. At first, Amber seemed like a great person and an even better friend. Although Amber was shy, under that was a kind, endearing, and fun-loving person. As we began to spend more time together, we found that we had a lot of mutual interests, which brought us even closer together. Slowly we started making friends with other people in our classes, and we formed a small friend group. For a while, everything seemed great. But, over time I started to notice strange things about Amber. It started with pretty small things, like complaining to me about our other friends. Amber also started getting possessive of me, constantly having me reaffirm that she was still my best friend. Then, during high school, she started to say malicious things towards our friends. If anyone felt offended, she would say that she wasn’t being serious and that the person should learn to take a joke.

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When other people in the friend group would talk about it, I would excuse it as her having a weird sense of humor that we just didn’t get. Around our later high school years, drama started happening in our little group, and all of it involved Amber. In every argument, I would back her up and take her side. Our friend group began to split apart. As more people left, she started seeking more attention from me, guilting me if I didn’t give it to her, and constantly calling me stupid or trying to make me feel inferior to her. Despite this, I still tried to hold onto our friendship, because we were so close for so long and I didn’t want to lose one of my closest friends. At the end of our senior year into college, our friendship started to fade. At first, we planned to go to college together, but I decided about a month away from graduating that I would rather go to a community college than a big university. Amber was furious about it when I told her, but she later commented that it would be for the best considering “my circumstances”. This comment felt very spiteful, but I felt better knowing she wasn’t angry at me anymore. When Amber left for college, I started to regret not going with her. I missed her a lot.

During her first weeks of college we texted regularly, but after the first couple of weeks, her messages became less frequent. I tried to reach out to her, but it seemed like she only wanted to talk when she wanted to complain or brag about how well she was doing in college. So I just stopped trying. After a while, with some encouragement from my other friends, I sent her a message saying that I didn’t want to be her friend anymore and blocked her number to avoid reading her response. I knew if I read her reply, she’d end up guilting me into coming back to her. Although I still feel a little bad admitting it, not having her around constantly felt great. I was clinging on to the good parts of her and refused to see the bad parts. Sometimes I reminisce, and I really miss being around her. But, I know that’s just the part of me that still wants to believe that she’s still the person I want her to be. Amber wasn’t the person she seemed to be, and because of her treatment of me and my friends, our friendship ended.

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