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It was a strange thing to say to someone who had, at one point, been my best friend. Ghosting — when someone cuts you out of his or her life without explanation — is a phenomenon normally associated with dating. But with people increasingly moving their communication from IRL to behind a screen, this cold behaviour has become fairly common. I must be a horrible person. I met Jess through mutual friends. Our friendship grew slowly over a few years — a text here and there, hanging out and chatting at parties, then the odd lunch.
When she went through a bad break-up we ended up spending more and more time together. At first I just put it down to the give and take of friendship.
This is how it can be sometimes with those closest to us, right? It was when my father got into financial trouble that things started to change. He lost his job and my family fell into severe debt. My parents' marriage became strained and, in the end, they split up. I was in pieces. Although I was well into my twenties, the idea that my home life was so unstable and my parents were scrambling around trying to survive was deeply upsetting.
I rarely made it through a day without escaping to the office toilet to cry. Jess was one of the first people I opened up to about all this. At first, she was very supportive, calling me regularly to see how I was. But after a few weeks that wore off and suddenly I found myself thinking how self-involved she seemed.
Every conversation. One - would circle back to her problems. Even the ones where, in theory, she was trying to help me work through my family worries. It started to drive a wedge between us. I realised she just enjoyed moaning about them to anyone who would listen. I began to see her as spoilt and needy - she had a lovely new boyfriend, a decent job and, thanks to her parents buying her a flat, a free place to live - what more could she possibly want?
Looking back, I can see now the task of figuring out who you are in your mid-twenties can be stressful and daunting. Worse, it just felt like every time I turned to her for support, it just wasn't there. I found myself exhausted by the idea of seeing her and dodging meet-ups, blaming work and my sister coming to town. Slowly, I stopped texting her back — once, twice, three times.
With everything else going on, not speaking was just easier. I was shocked. She said she was sorry I felt that way and wished me well. And that was it — our friendship was over in three WhatsApp messages. After the anger faded and my family situation improved, I started to wonder how she was. Every time I would walk through her area, I would scan the streets, imagining what it would be like to bump into her. I knew, deep down, that I owed her an apology. It felt weird to think she was so nearby and I found myself typing her a message. Well, I have. Nervously, I asked her if she wanted to meet up and was surprised when she agreed.
After a few awkward minutes of getting used to sharing the same air again, we started to catch up on the last three years.
She was married now, she was working as a PA to her dad and she was moving out of the city. I updated her on my new job, the highs and lows of online dating and saving for a deposit. We were strangers and friends, at the same time. I felt terrible.
She confessed that she too had felt drained at times by our friendship and apologised too for not realising how distressed I was. But in reality, I knew this was probably the last time I would see her. The trust in our friendship was gone - on both sides. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, people might forget what you said and did but people will never forget how you made them feel — and I had made her feel awful. She smiled and said something vague about us meeting again. But we both knew it would never happen.
I gave her a hug and, finally, said a proper goodbye. From 'preating' to 'orbiting' - which toxic dating trend are you guilty of? I went travelling with my BFF - and it ruined our friendship. I spent a year making new friends as an adult, and it was the best thing I ever did. Coercive control: 'I was 16 and thought it was normal'. Writer wishes to remain anonymous 22 October Share this:. Copy this link. BBC Three. I was in the middle of a meeting at work a few months later, when my phone flashed. We sat down and I focused on the drinks order to hide my nerves.
It was weird but it also felt strangely ok. I knew it was up to me to get things started. This article was originally published on 20 October :. Eating with My Ex. I Am Not A Rapist. More from Real Life.
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Why I ghosted my best friend