friendship

"The thought of seeing her makes me sick." 3 women on how isolation has ended a friendship.

The women in this story are known to Mamamia but all names have been changed for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.

“Crisis doesn’t create character. It reveals it.”

At a time when tensions, fear and pain have never been more heightened, the words of Denis Leary have never felt more true.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to really see someone’s true colours, or for them to reveal themselves to you once and for all.

WATCH: Best friends: translated. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

Most of us are sticking to the confines of home, giving up Easter holidays, and our sense of normalcy for the greater good of this pandemic.

Unfortunately, there are exceptions to the rule.

During a time of crisis, you see the very best in some people – but also the very worst in others.

You also just realise, with a little space and time to think, that a friendship you once held dear is just plain toxic, or one-sided, or simply not working anymore.

They say friendships are just as hard if not harder than a romantic breakup, and for some isolation has been the beginning of the end.

Anna and Elise.

Anna considered Elise a pretty good friend. She’d borrowed her pram for her new baby and (pre isolation) she’d looked after Elise’s son once a week after school to help out. They’d talk over social media every day, and catch up reasonably regularly.

On Easter Sunday, Anna put up a social media post about staying home and following the social distancing rules over the break.

Elise and her husband lashed out. They’d gone away for the weekend and took exception to the message and said they ‘were isolated’. Anna told them it didn’t matter about the destination – it was about them getting there and back. It was about any emergencies that could happen while they were there, and the resources they were taking up in another community.

Then the messages started getting nasty. The couple started going on about “being safer there than at Bunnings with thousands of sheep” with snarky remarks of, “I bet you’re one of them.”

Some Sydney Beaches Reopen For Exercise As Australian Coronavirus Infection Rate Continues To Decline
While the majority of Australians have followed the rules, there are a select few who have always considered themselves an exception to the rule. Image: Brook Mitchell/Getty.
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Then the name-calling began, the most polite of which was "you're a high and mighty do-gooder b****."

Anna was shocked by her friend's behaviour. She knew Elise's husband was hot-tempered, but didn't expect it from Elise. She couldn't help but wonder, "to resort to name-calling... did she even value our friendship in the first place?"

She hasn’t spoken to either of them since, and doesn't want to be friends with such selfish people. They're still posting on social media making it quite clear they "think they are the exception to the rule, failing to understand why what they did was wrong".

Anna is anxious about giving back the pram - she's not a confrontational person and doesn't want to communicate with them at all anymore.

She says Elise has sent her dozens upon dozens of private messages, but she hasn't replied. The thought of having to see either of them again is making her feel physically sick.

She's just glad she found out their true colours over Facebook, and not in person.

Bianca and Sam.

Bianca and Sam have been friends for close to 30 years. Best friends their entire lives.

Throughout the pandemic, much to Bianca's surprise, Sam started to mock the idea of social distancing on her social media platforms.

She'd post photos hugging friends and family at different households, and write captions like "self-isolation at its finest" with a laughing face emoji.

Even if she didn't agree with the rules, Bianca thought she'd at least make the effort to stay home. But she feels like Sam was being deliberately performative.

LISTEN: Mamamia Outloud unpack the performative friendship group. Post continues after podcast.

Sam asked to catch up, adding "or was she 'isolating'?", making it seem like Bianca was the one doing the wrong thing or that she wasn't “cool enough” to break the rules.

Since that message and Bianca's refusal, the pair haven't spoken. Bianca hasn't contacted Sam because she doesn't want to cause a huge argument, but her best friend's silence has her questioning whether she even values their friendship. She's been working as a teacher on the frontline; she thought Sam might at least check in.

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Bianca hasn't quite worked out what she's going to do once this is all over.

While it would be a shame to lose Sam's friendship after so many years, she's also wondering: How can they stay friends after this?

Talia and Brodie.

Brodie is living with an auto-immune condition and lives rurally. What little socialisation she did have before the pandemic hit, has evaporated.

She's been reaching out to friend Talia, settling in for an hourly long chat a day. They've been friends for 20 years and are both home with small children.

But for Talia, who is weeks away from giving birth, the constant contact is exhausting.

It's often one-sided - all about Brodie and Brodie's issues - and quite frankly Talia just can't be bothered anymore.

She wants to be supportive, she does. But Brodie's social needs are draining, and Talia is finding it challenging trying to meet (and avoid) her expectations of their friendship.

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Talia is about to give birth, and has realised she just doesn't have time for Brodie right now. Image: Getty.

She often finds herself wishing Brodie had some other friends to talk to, and has started making excuses to get out of their phone calls.

Once she has a newborn, she's hoping Brodie will back off and realise she has too much on her plate. For the moment, she's just effectively ghosting her, giving her reasons as to why she can't chat.

She doesn't feel guilty. She knows she can't feel responsible for other people's feelings, and she's just doing the best she can while preparing to welcome another little human into the world.

Talia doesn't want to completely cut off the friendship. She just really needs a break right now.

Have you broken up with a friend during isolation? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image: Getty.

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