At 33 I can count on one hand how many people I consider true friends and this list includes my husband. I’m perfectly content with my family and few close friends and never yearn for more. While I have been unbelievably lucky to meet new friends whom I’ve been able to develop deep, meaningful and lasting friendships with as an adult, most would say I keep my circle small.
I haven’t always been this way, though. An outgoing teenager, I had tons of friends and was always out and about socializing during high school. As high school drew to an end things started changing between a lot of my friends and myself. Some of us were in new relationships (guilty as charged), some were dealing with serious problems, some were moving away (also guilty), some of us just naturally drifted apart, and there was admittedly, some conflict amidst our group.
While some of my friend’s flat out abandoned me, I was consumed by a new relationship and guilty of selfishly neglecting my friend’s during this time. Further complicating my situation was the fact that my parent’s had sold our house and moved across the country. I had no intention of moving 3,000 miles away from home and so my boyfriend and I got an apartment and moved in together.
It wasn’t long before I realized the gravity of the mistake I had made. With my parent’s gone and only one true friend left, I felt alone, scared, and trapped in an astronomically dysfunctional relationship. I held it together for as long as I could; presenting a happy, smiling face at work and school. But behind closed doors, I was a wreck. All that remained of the once bubbly, confident, and outgoing young woman I had been was a mere shell, void of happiness, joy, and hope. I missed my friend’s and couldn’t bear being so far away from my parent’s and siblings.
I finally found the courage to come clean to my mother. I told her everything; how I had no friends left, how very bad my relationship was, and how much I hated the distance between us. Without missing a beat my parent’s arranged for movers, an airline ticket, and shipping for my car. I finally began to feel a sense of relief and even a glimmer of hope.
I had a brand new, fresh start waiting for me when I arrived at my parent’s house. I was free to start over; recreate myself any way I saw fit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite done making all too common teenage girl mistakes.
Within a month of my leaving both my home and destructive relationship behind me, my boyfriend was on a flight to join me so that we could “start over.” What I didn’t know then, but have since learned, is that he wasn’t a good guy; to say the least. From the time I left home until he boarded his flight to come to me, he spent his time bad mouthing me and carrying on with friends, co-workers, and acquaintances of mine. All of my friends knew this and only one had the nerve or decency, to call and tell me what was going on.
I was too embarrassed to even consider the possibility that my one good friend was telling me the truth about my boyfriend. So, instead of thanking her for her loyalty and honesty, I pulled away from her and alienated myself from all things associated with my “old” life. For over a year I pretended as though none of my former friends ever existed. Though internally heartbroken over our estrangement and missing my friend’s terribly, I carried on like nothing mattered.
After a year away from home I was thrilled to receive a phone call from one of my oldest and dearest friends. I assumed she was calling with the intention of mending our fractured relationship. Much to my dismay, she wasn’t. She was calling to get my confirmation or denial of a nasty rumor that had been spread about me back home. After I confirmed that the rumor was, in fact, false, she hung up, never asking how I was, how I had been, or where I was living. What she didn’t know was that I was scheduled to move back home just two weeks later. I was devastated.
When I did return home I never made any attempts at reconnecting with any of my old friend’s. Despite countless red flags, I stayed with my boyfriend and eventually married and had a child with him. Four years after we were married I filed for divorce. As it turned out, my friend’s had been right all along. Not long after filing for divorce I began reconnecting with old friends. One friend that I reconnected with turned out to be the love of my life and is now my husband.
Recently, that same friend who had made the devastating call to me so many years earlier reached out to me. She invited my husband, our son, and myself to her home for dinner where we would meet her husband and children. As anxious as I was about seeing her again after all of the years that had passed us by, I graciously accepted her invitation, and I am so glad I did. We had a wonderful time laughing, joking, and recounting the tales of our youth. I had no idea how much I had missed her.
Since that initial dinner we have seen each other a few more times, and I find each time more enjoyable than the last. The last fifteen years has done us both a world of good. While we have both faced hardship and heartache, we’ve grown into thoughtful, loving, compassionate, and genuine women who love our families fiercely.
My son and I spent the afternoon with my friend and her family yesterday. As usual, we had a great time. It’s as if no time has passed when we’re together. I’m so happy for the life my friend has made for herself and I’m beyond grateful to have her back in my life.