friendship

'It's been 6 months, and you never responded.' A letter to the friend I regret apologising to.

It’s been more than 6 months since I’ve heard from you. The last thing I said to you was, “I don’t want to put a giant wedge between us. I hope I haven’t said anything more hurtful and apologise for making comments that caused you to feel I was mad or upset with you or having any expectations of you fixing anything. I can say with a clear conscience that I don’t feel those things.”

But I guess you didn’t feel the same, because you never replied. Surely you knew I saw you read my message. And still?

You said nothing.

I wonder if you know how much that hurt me. Or how it felt bad enough that you decided my negative work experience was all in my head. Could you have guessed how cutting it was when you wrote to gaslight me?

The other day, Facebook reminded me that it was your birthday, and that reminded me of how we haven’t spoken since June. We only live minutes away, yet I haven’t seen you since Christmas Eve… of 2017.

I bought you a gift for your birthday last year, but you never found the time to grab it. Every time we made plans, you cancelled and seemed disinterested in rescheduling. Maybe you forgot that I could see you gush on Facebook about your other lunch plans.

With the friends and family you don’t want to blow off. All those people who are better than me.

I wonder if you have any idea how much it hurt to be lectured by you and your husband about how to do life. Even though I think I knew there was a real problem in you, I couldn’t help but feel like I did something wrong around you. Constantly.

Watch: Women share their last text from their best friend. Post continues after video.

Reading over our last conversation, I’m embarrassed that I even tried to make amends with you. Embarrassed that I apologised. I took on blame that was never mine, all in an effort to appease you.

You wrote:

“You’re convincing yourself of things that aren’t true. You’re making small things huge. You’re letting your fears and anxieties cloud your perceptions. I know it’s so scary being a single mum. I’m compassionate. I get it! I was there too. I had to rebuild from $0. It’s awful. But you’ve come so far! You’re doing it! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Please.”

You went further, telling me to be professional. Telling me to keep quiet about the problems at work. To keep it to myself rather than trying to talk things out with management.

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When I needed you most to be my friend and a listening ear, you kicked me in the teeth and said you cared. Yet I am not so naive.

I know that if you actually cared about me and my daughter half as much as you claimed, you wouldn’t have quit speaking to me when I told you I was willing to agree to disagree. I don’t think you would have had the nerve to accuse me of manufacturing conspiracies if you had bothered to get to know me.

Instead, you held me at a distance but called me a friend. Let me work for your company for more than three years without issue and then accused me of being a troublemaker as soon as I gave feedback about the company culture that you didn’t want to hear.

Of course, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing – I was the most vocal about the problems brewing in the company.

Of course. I pick my battles in life, but I do speak up when something grates too hard against my sense of justice. Hey, I get it – I stood up against performing writing tasks for no pay.

That must have been really annoying.

You had the opportunity to listen to valid feedback, but instead chalked it all up to Shannon being crazy or self-involved. You never considered what your business might lose if you refused to pay attention to concerns of toxic management and nepotism.

This is who you want to be?

You have shown your true colours more than once to me. Despite all appearances and niceties, I haven’t met too many people as dysfunctional as you.

Yes, everybody thinks you’re amazing. It’s like literal rainbows and sprinkles fall from your butt. I know. We’ve been down that road before.

But when I asked you for basic advice regarding a bad work situation, rather than being as nice or compassionate as you talk about loving to be… you were cold and cruel.

You accused me of thinking certain things. Things I’d never thought or felt. And whereas you accused me of thinking everyone was out to get me, you actually took it to Facebook to namelessly complain about the friend who wanted you to fix her life.

It didn’t matter that it was untrue. People issued hundreds of comments to assure you that you were so kind and incredible. They told you to forget about the nameless me.

And I guess you did exactly that.

Why do I even care?

Losing friends feels different now with social media. I had to unfollow your profiles to quit seeing posts about every ah-ma-zing thing in your life.

I wonder if you’ve got any clue that I still think about you. Or that the wound still hurts.

You never responded to me, and more than 6 months is a long time to wait.

I think it’s time to unfriend and move on.

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission. You can read more from Shannon Ashley on Medium, or follow her on Twitter

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