Image: Bridesmaids/Universal Pictures.
My friendship with Emily spans almost a decade. A chance meeting at our university’s orientation for new students meant a law student and a science student became close friends, despite never actually having classes together.
We’ve had holidays together and far too many drunken nights I can’t remember. We know all each other’s secrets and our siblings have even become friends too.
She was the kind of person I could text at 6pm to meet for a drink at 6:15pm, who was always up for a laugh or doing something fun. Now I’m finding every excuse not to see her, but dodging her invitations is becoming increasingly hard.
It started last year when she got a new job. With a couple of years’ legal experience up her belt, she was offered a higher-paying position at a top-tier law firm. She was besides herself with excitement and of course, we went out to celebrate.
A few weeks later, we caught up for breakfast as was our usual fortnightly Saturday tradition. After arriving almost an hour late, she looked a mess. Eye makeup was still smeared under her eyes, her hair was matted and her skin white. This was no ordinary hangover; trust me, I’d seen hers before.
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“Had a big one last night,” she said.
“Clearly,” I replied, pissed off that I’d been sat there by myself for so long. “What happened?”
“It started out as a few quiet work drinks, then my team leader took us to another bar where he knew the owner and we just went nuts,” she said laughing. “There was champagne, shots… and I may have done some E.”
“E… you mean ecstacy?” I asked, shocked. Emily was not this kind of person — an old university friend of ours had caused havoc a few years ago with a drug addiction and she had always been staunchly against the stuff.
“Yeah, it’s no big deal,” she said.
Unsure what to say, I let it go and we ordered breakfast. Conversation flowed, but I couldn’t get her nonchalant attitude and total 360 out of my head. What was happening?
The references to drugs and crazy work drinks on a Monday or Wednesday night kept popping up in conversations over the next few months. She was working long hours and I understood that many in high-pressure jobs like to work hard and play hard, but this wasn’t the Emily I knew.
She was almost proud of her behaviour, regaling our group with tales of what she’d been up to. Different bars and different drugs filled the stories, but there was always the same expression on her face — a smirk that she was having a better time and doing better things than the rest of us. (Post continues after gallery.)
She started to pass up our regular invitations of dinner and movies, and on nights out she’d rock up hours late, having already been drinking with her work mates at some hip bar. The times she did turn up, she’d spend the whole night talking about her work, how well she was doing, how she’d already had multiple meetings with the partners’ and how everyone on the team loved her.
Catch up after catch up, she dominated the conversation, rarely stopping to ask anyone else a question. If anyone did happen to get a word in, she’d turn the topic round to her, or turn to the person next to her and start telling more work stories.
At first we listened. We all work in different areas, so it’s interesting to hear each other’s stories, but eventually people stopped trying to even act interested. We were all sick to death of it, but no-one could seem to get through to Emily how she was acting. One by one, she was driving away her friends but she couldn’t even see it.
Six months later, and it’s worse than ever. She only speaks about herself and doesn’t bother to ask about anyone else. I suspect she thinks she’s too good for me now, but in fact it’s me who has outgrown her.
The turning point came last month ago, when I called her up in tears. The guy at work I’d been seeing for the past few months had ended things out of nowhere. “I don’t know what to do,” I sobbed down the phone.
“Flick, do we have to do this now? I actually have real things to deal with,” she said. I hung up in shock. Maybe she was truly busy, but days went by without a follow up call. I eventually got a text from Emily a week later about something totally unrelated to our previous conversation. I ignored it.
Now she’s carrying on as normal, but something has snapped inside me. She’s still texting me to catch up, but I can’t be bothered pretending anymore. I know I need to cut Emily off completely — there’s no friendship anymore — but I can’t bring myself to tell her to her face.
After 10 years of friendship she deserves an answer and a chance to explain, but I think I deserve more too.
What would you do in this situation?