Relationships: To the one who chose to leave


Leann Bast | The Phoenix

The last three, that’s who we were. Over the course of our four years in high school, our group went through many changes, but through it all, we three stuck together; we had each others’ backs. We got through a friend moving to another state, we got through another leaving to pursue a different course of education, and we even made it through a friend leaving our group and putting all the energy that they told us they didn’t have enough of to give, into another group of friends.

At the beginning of the social distancing era there were fears, of course, of losing touch, but we put in the effort to stay close, and for the most part, it worked. Like all groups, there were small arguments, but we were used to that, we could handle them. We knew that we’d give each other space for a while and then have a conversation. We’d push through because we meant enough to each other, we were worth the effort.  Four years of friendship isn’t exactly that easy to throw away. At least that’s what I thought. 

This past December, an issue came up, one we couldn’t work through. I was fortunate to not be on the receiving end of the drama, but I was pulled into the middle. When there are no more than three people in a group, there tends to be a sort of ‘two against one’ dynamic that comes forth, whether that’s when deciding where to go for lunch or when we’re working through arguments. That’s exactly how this went.

The first day, I wasn’t as worked up about the situation, but by the second day, when reality had set in and I had processed my feelings, I was pissed. 

You cannot just break a friend group apart and expect things to stay the same between each of the members. Yes, I care about you even after what you did and I still want to be your friend, but you can’t tear us apart, we were a “trio” for a reason. Our friendships, memories and lives are intertwined. You’ve even told me on multiple occasions that I came after our second friend, that you trusted them more than you did me. How are you so easily going to cut four years of love, trust and bonds forged through the choice to stick together no matter what, and then turn around and say a relationship that was worth less than that is still worth your time? What happened to our promises that we would care for each other no matter what? And why are you cutting them out? Because from the bottom of my heart and with all the experience with dealing with you and listening to you and helping you work through past problems, I want to tell you that I don’t think it’s for the reason you think that you’re doing it for.

It’s not that I don’t understand taking a break from a friendship, I understand completely, actually. I know that sometimes it gets a little tough and all the stressors in life pile up and you take a break where you can get it. Even I’ve taken days where I don’t really text friends, where I focus on the things that most need my attention. What I don’t understand is the belief that you can just block and remove someone on all social media platforms under the guise of a break, but never give a warning to the other person involved. Forgetting common decency, you acted like an utter crap bag pulling that move. 

The way you explained the situation to me, you made it sound like after a while you wanted to be friends again with our second friend, that you just needed a break for a little while. Your actions told a different story. In this story, you were dumping the friend and the only reason you were bringing it up to me was because a) I was one of the individuals involved in the friend group and b) because you were seeking validation. 

If you are confident in your actions, then why do you feel the need to explain yourself and get a response back from me? You seeking validation from me told me that you weren’t ready to let go. But now that you have, you’ve changed so much. 

I can’t and won’t speak for our second friend, but I think back to all of the nights when we would stay up texting and joking around without a care in the world, and next things next, I’m dragged out of my head and see how awkward it is to text you now. You made me choose between you and another friend, even if that wasn’t your intention in the first place. You put me in a position where I was made to choose between validating and excusing your actions, dismissing our second friend or supporting our second friend and losing you. In the end, I made the decision to support our second friend and still try to be your friend. I don’t approve of your actions, but I believe that if you are truly and sincerely sorry, then there’s room for you to come back. Once again, I don’t speak for our second friend, I can’t tell you that they’ll be as easily accepting of you. But even if you’ve walked away from us, I still care about you. I still want to know that you’re ok and sometimes I hate that I feel that way, but I do still care.

The second half of my decision doesn’t seem to be working out. I have put in the effort to keep the friendship open. I’ve texted you, multiple times now, and while you’ve responded, you don’t seem particularly thrilled with the idea of conversation. So I’m backing off and giving you whatever space you need. 

Before you leave, if you are still reading this: I don’t hate you (if that’s what you’re thinking). The ways that you’ve impacted this group, the ways you’ve changed me, aren’t small. You held my hand while we ran out of Great America, you were there for me when we were making up stories in our heads and chasing the idea of being authors, you joked with me about our friendship’s future when I was uncertain, and above all, you were one of my closest friends. I miss you like hell, but if your decision is to walk away, I won’t stop you. 

Much love, and I wish you success.