What Makes a Good Friend Based on My Own Experience

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It was always fun hanging out with my former best friend jessie. Every time we hung out, there was endless laughs caused by events that have turned into unforgettable memories. When being best friends with someone, you tend to believe that you know who they are as a person, as I did with Jessie. Yet after some time, I began to question our friendship as there were multiple interfering factors that held us back from being close for the rest of our lives. Some of them being miscommunication, active listening, genuine feedback, and issues with regaining trust.

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It all started in the summer of 2017. Jessie and I were a year a part in high school (she is a year older), just as my brother and I are, and she was a part of his friend group. As I am very close with my brother, I would hang out with his friends as well. In the beginning, for some odd reason Jessie and I didn’t like each other. There was any past drama or incident that made us not like each other, yet I believed her to be loud and obnoxious. After continuously hanging out with her, I found her to be more and more funny. Whenever I was in a bad mood, and we would all hang out, she was the first person to make me laugh and begin having a good time. From there on out, we started to become very close, meaning, every day we would hang out even without the rest of our group.

Since her family wasn’t always around, she began staying at my house almost five out of seven days a week. I began to consider her a sister as she came everywhere with my family, and got along very well with my extended family. Whenever there was a family event I was always asked if Jessie was coming along, which made me feel as though she was genuinely one of us. For two whole years, me and Jessie began getting closer and closer. We knew each others darkest secrets (as any pair of girlfriends would), and always felt comfortable going to each other in times of need. There was no one I trusted more than her. There was always some qualities about Jessie that made me a little mad but, it wasn’t until the summer of 2019 is when it all began to go downhill.

There was one secret that both my brother and Jessie were keeping from me, and it was that they liked each other and began talking. Since I was very comfortable with Jessie, once I found out I confronted her right away. I wasn’t mad in the beginning, yet just wish she told me the truth, because I find myself to be very understanding. Although there was something inside of me that thought their relationship was going to end bad, and also ruin our friendship, I believed that what ever happened they would be mature about it. When they both left for college at the end of the summer, my brother decided to end things for reasons of his own. When he broke the news to Jessie, he was polite and respectful yet she was hurt and became very mad. After we all left for college, I thought that it would roll over and we would go back to being a normal friend group, yet things got progressively worse. Not only did she start becoming rude to my brother, yet she got me involved in all of it, while forgetting that he was still my family. What started off as a mature relationship between my brother and Jessie, became a huge predicament that split up the friend group made me decide to give up my best friend. Further, it made me realize all of the other issues that were connected to our friendships deterioration.

When I first found out about Jessie and my brother, the first thing that I realized was that we didn’t trust each other as much as I thought we did. Clearly, Jessie thought I would take the situation very poorly, as she hid it from me for months. After being such good friends for so long, I figured she would be able to tell me. Being apart of a friend group where we were the only girls, we always swore we would never get romantically involved with any of them, since “for many people the emergence of sexual attraction may jeopardize the friendship as it threatens its integrity” (Halatsis and Christakis par. 4). Being that Jessie was at my house so much, and I would leave her home with my brothers at times I began to question if I even trusted her. For several months, Jessie and my brother had been sneaking around, so something inside of me felt that there was more to discover about her. It is found that “in many contexts, people are motivated to lie to benefit others” (Gaspar et al. par. 5). Although I have now realized that Jessie's intentions on lying were to prevent our relationship from ending, and also my brother and I’s relationship, it resulted in me questioning her more frequently. After finding out the truth about the two, I was left with a constant urge to investigate everything she said, while also making sure she wasn’t hiding anything else from me.

When the issue started to escalate the first thing I realized is that there was lots of miscommunication between me and Jessie. In the beginning, when jessie would talk to me about her and my brothers relationship I was very standoffish. I didn’t want to say anything negative about my brother, and I also didn’t want to say anything that would damage our friendship. I was very uncomfortable with the fact that I was in between their messy conflict and didn't know how to go about it. For a while I would just listen to Jessie talk, because I figured I’m the person she usually goes to when she there’s something wrong. After a while of being distant during our conversations she started to realize, and when she confronted me about it she instantly went on a yelling tangent, saying that I was a bad friend. Galvin states in his book that “it is well known that people in crisis “need to talk”- they have to tell their story, to “let it out” and start the process of adjustment to the changes…” (Wilmot pg. 24). Although this wasn’t typically a crisis, there was still feelings I needed to share, and without telling her how I truly felt, there was no way she could’ve known that I was uncomfortable with the situation. After I informed Jessie on how I truly feel about the whole situation, she eventually backed off, which turned into us talking very rarely. Through my use of miscommunication, in trying to save my friendship with Jessie, I wound up hurting it even more, and from that point on we began to talk less frequently.

Aside from her making me uncomfortable, and me not speaking up, it seemed as though there was nothing else we talked about besides her. Being that I was adjusting to leaving home for the first time in my life to go to college, and missing my closest friends and family, all I wanted to talk to my best friend. I would FaceTime her once in a while to talk about my day and how I was feeling, since she knew that I was having a hard time. Throughout this time period is when my brother and her were on bad terms, so it seemed as if she never wanted to talk about how I was feeling. Her response to what I had to say was never in regards to me, it was always tied back to her. In Galvins book, it states that “people are in a relationship when each has the perception of being perceived- when both persons can say “I see you seeing me” (Wilmont 21). I began not answering or even texting her because I was tired of hearing the same stuff and never being able to have a normal conversation. They were easily the most one sided conversations I’ve ever had. After a while, this became very tiring, and I no longer wanted to talk to her about my daily life as it seemed as though she didn’t care. At one point, it wasn’t even about my brother any more. For example, one time I mentioned the amount of homework I had, and how I was super stressed. Instead of comforting me and reassuring me that I could get the job done, she felt the need to make it seem as though her homework situation was worse. Towards the end of our friendship, she began to ask why I was beginning to get distant. This was one of my main reasons I explained to her, and although this was a constant recurrence, she failed to notice what I was dealing with. She responded to me by saying that I was over dramatic and needed to “relax”.

Since we were both away at school being separated for the first time, and also going through a tough patch, the only way we were left to communicate was over the phone. Over the summer, we always discussed how we would talk everyday to keep in touch and updated on each others crazy new college lives. With today's technology, there was no excuse for us to not be interacting as much as we did at home, although it is said that “even though individuals can interact more frequently with these friends, this increase in accessibility may not always lead to greater relational closeness” (Johnson et al. par. 6). Being that we were in an awkward position of on and off fighting, there were times that I didn’t want to talk to her. Nowadays, since it is so easy for one to pick up the phone and call, FaceTime, or send a text, Jessie always wanted to talk even though I wasn’t in the mood. I also believed that for productive communication, it needed to be in person. At the most awkward points of our friendship when we didn’t want to FacTime, we would discuss things over text, where there was no room for genuine discussion. Even more aggravating than her wanting to talk about her and my brother twenty-four-seven, she would get mad when I couldn't answer. Just as if we were both at home, there were times that I needed a break from her. Which leads me to another reason why me and Jessie had slight issues.

When Jessie and I get mad or disagree with what someone says, we tend to handle things differently. When I get mad, or disagree with someone, I start off very kind and use gentle words that won’t escalate a situation. Very differently, Jessie was known to lash out and say hurtful things, no matter who you were. Wood states that “you couldn’t erase your communication; you couldn’t unsay what you said” (Wood pg. 15). This was very true as whatever she would say would be very hurtful and non erasable. Not only was Jessie quick to say things that hurt others, she never found herself to be wrong. At the end of the day, even though sometimes I know I am right, I will apologize and be the bigger person. Jessie never apologized a day in her life and till this day she feels that throughout the whole situation she handled things correctly.

For a little while, I had this sense of hope for our friendship. I thought that everything would blow over and things would go back to normal. Yet, after a few months of continuous fighting over the phone and families getting involved, I decided it was best to cut her off. When I finally decided this, Jessie automatically began begging for forgiveness. Through all of our ups and downs I always decided to be the bigger person because I missed having my best best friend that I never fought with. Until the relationship between my brother and Jessie ended, we had never fought. We always got along and always had a good time. It took me until this one outbreak to realize that she is incapable of productive communication, listening, and overall not a good friend. Since I have ended things with Jessie, I have realized that my life has been filled with less drama and stress. Today, I have met two new girls that I have considered to be true best friends of mine, Lea and Julia. Through being friends with Jessie, I have learned what a true friend is and am able to notice the qualities of a friendship that make life easier. Sometimes in life we need to step back and evaluate a situation, or even a relationship and ask if it is healthy to stay in tact with. At the end of the day, I will always miss my friendship with Jessie, and will always remember the memories that we made together. Some things I won't miss, was the failure to communicate in times error, unstable listening and responding, and constant fighting with the use of hurtful, damaging words.

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