friendship

'Me and my best friend were unhappily single. When I fell in love, she ghosted me.'

When I first met Natalie, we had a lot in common.

We were both in our late twenties and unhappily single. We had badly paid jobs in an expensive city. Our social lives were purposefully busy and boozy to break up the monotony; to ensure we never had quite enough time to consider how unfulfilled we really were. 

The very fact that we first got talking on Twitter after spending months liking each other’s sardonic Tweets was, with hindsight, a very clear sign that we both had something missing in our lives. 

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Realising we were both in the same boat, we met up for a wine after work one evening. One wine turned into several, followed by a tipsy dash to catch the last train back to our respective shared houses. 

We had talked, we had laughed. But more than anything else? We had complained. 

We’d bitched about our crappy bosses and lousy pay checks. We’d despaired about disaster dates. We'd wondered how our friends seemed to be effortlessly getting promoted, married and having kids. When was it going to be our turn, we wanted to know. 

Soon, we promised each other, as we ordered another bottle. 

As we grew closer, we were in constant contact. Texts, Whatsapps, voice messages, Snapchats, tags in Facebook posts and Instagram stories.

There wasn’t a bad date, a stressful commute or a boring work meeting we didn’t dissect in great – and unnecessary – detail.

We enabled each other’s self indulgence. At the time, I loved having someone on the end of the phone 24/7 to whinge to whenever I felt like it. Looking back, it was deeply unhealthy.

Friends should lift each other, right? Not drag each other deeper and deeper into negativity. 

We were draining the life out of each other.

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I only realised just how dysfunctional our friendship was when I met someone and fell in love. 

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My life - and my outlook - turned from grey to technicolour. And Natalie really, really didn't like it. 

She never outwardly criticised my relationship. She just didn't acknowledge it. She never asked how my boyfriend was or what we'd been up to lately. 

She wanted me to wallow with her, but I was no longer playing ball.

My newfound happiness meant I was less inclined to sweat the smaller stuff. I became more appreciative of the good things in my life and realised just how draining it had been to view every little thing through a negative lens. 

Some people talk about fair-weather friends; the ones who only stick around when the going's good. Well, Natalie was the complete opposite of that. The moment I got happy, she got out. Her messages dwindled. 

One day, I reached out to her, keen for a chat. 

She replied saying she was on her way to a festival where she'd have poor signal but would call me when she got back. 

She didn't. Weeks passed. I followed up with a couple more messages. She didn't reply. 

I literally never, ever heard from her again. She just... disappeared out of my life. 

Upset and desperate to regain some control, I deleted her from my social media - and I felt lighter for it. 

Ultimately, my relationship didn't work out. But the biggest lesson I learned was one about friendship; that good friends are there for the good and the bad, and should bring the best out of you in either circumstance. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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