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May 30, 2011 10:57 pm / takingbacksingle

How friends are like shoes


How is a good friend like a good pair of shoes? Both support you and you need them to walk through life. Think your favorite worn in sneakers.  But just as much as a good friend can support you, a bad friend can bring you down even more. Once again, let’s go with the shoe analogy. You know those black stilettos are no good for you but for one reason or another, you ignore your gut instinct and squeeze your feet into them. At the end of the night, you can barely walk and your feet are covered in blisters. And even though the shoes bring you pain you still wear them, each time trying to convince yourself that this time will be different.

I’ve had my fair share of toxic friendships, and let me say that they truly are hard to give up. Maybe your friend truly used to be the sweetest person ever but now has turned into a bitch. Less obvious, but more common is the friend who is fun to be around but makes you feel bad after, even though you can’t put a finger on the reason why she (or he) makes you feel this way.

C and I had been friends since the beginning of high school and she is one of those people who can make you laugh in the most boring situation. Yet lately something was off. She has always been a spur-of-the-moment person, changing her mind at the last minute, but her whims had not directly affected me until recently. A couple of months ago, we had planned a day long shopping trip in SoHo, but she called last minute to cancel. Alone in my house, without any plans all day, I thought back to earlier get togethers with C and realized that she had cancelled half of those last minute as well, for strange reasons. The next time I saw her, I called her out on it, and she said she would stop. But it continued. She also started making me feel bad about my life, including the fact that I was single and happy about it. “I hope you will meet someone soon, so that you could be as happy as I am,” she would say as if she felt bad for me. When I reassured her I was just fine, she would sigh and look at me like I was a puppy who just peed itself.

The last straw was on a snowy January morning when C cancelled on me, using the excuse that she was “so sick, I can barely move.” Strangely enough, I bumped into her on a train to Manhattan a couple of hours later, where she looked the picture of health. She tried to make talk, although I  felt sick thinking that she would lie to me like that. If she didn’t want to see me, she could have said so, but lying was just ridiculous? After that I decided I had had enough. If she wanted to contact me and make plans, fine, but I would not make any more effort that just resulted in me feeling stupid and humiliated. And guess what, we haven’t seen each other since then. Good riddance, I try to tell myself, although I can’t help but feel sad. Was the relationship really so one sided? Did she really not like me, and if so how had I not noticed? She wrote on my facebook a couple of days ago asking to hang out, and I said to let me know, but so far she hasn’t contacted me. Why would she say she wants to hang out if she doesn’t?

I get the feeling that C was just using me to make her feel better about herself. Having another friend feels nice and canceling on someone because you have other plans (even if you don’t actually have any) probably made her feel popular and powerful. But I’m done having these kind of friends. I would rather have a couple of friends that I can trust and that make me feel good about myself than a thousand “friends” that mean nothing.


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