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.