Growing up, I always had guy friends. My first best friend was my cousin who lived next store and was only 9 months younger than me. I still loved playing house, but I also played my fair share of Hot Wheels.
In grade school, I was big girl (128 lbs at 5″2′ by 4th grad). Most of the girls were pretty mean to me. By high school, I still was the girly girl with 2 best friends that happened to be guys. I was not a tomboy by any means, but I guess I was easy to talk to and found their guy-humor funnier than most girls.
One of the girls in our class, we’ll call her Jennifer, had a crush on one of my best friends in high school. I just kind of knew her, but she asked me to talk to him junior year. I ended up setting them up. She ended up being my best friend and even my college roommate. We drove home every other weekend together, went to parties together, and ate dinner together every night. I loved having a girl to talk about boys with, but I still was best friends with the 2 guys. I loved our group.
I learned a lot from these friends, but here are the 3 things that stick out.
1. Friends help you try new things – I am the best Mario Kart player because of my cousin. I also rode a huge roller coaster in Atlanta and wore a Catholic School Girl outfit for a frat party in college because of my friends. They made me brave, and I have some great memories because of it.
2. Friends help you empathize – Jennifer had a big secret in high school, and she never totally confided in me. Being so close to someone allows you to see and feel how scared or hurt someone is.
3. Friends help you compromise – My cousin and I made flower necklaces in the morning and played video games in the afternoon growing up.
Not all of the things are positive though. Since college, the couple has gotten married. I was unable to go bridesmaids’ dress shopping with Jennifer and the two other girls because of having my wisdom teeth out. She refused to see me the next weekend. I tried to explain and even sent her a sweet note and a wedding cake cupcake to apologize (though I don’t know why it was SUCH a deal breaker).
By the next week, I was no longer the maid of honor and could not get a hold of her. I was crushed. I hated to complain to anyone too since her fiance was also one of my best friends.
4. Friends can stress you out.
Between January and June, I was worried sick over every shower and party. After being told, someone could buy my dress by another bridesmaid, I skipped the Bachelorette party. Maybe I should or shouldn’t have, I still don’t know. The day of the wedding, I went, put on a smile, and made sure the bride had everything she wanted. Since then, we have not spoke a word.
I’ve wanted to share my story about how friendships affect yourself for a long time, but I have been nervous. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I have to think someone out there has to be like me.
The last tip, is what I take away from the friendship with Jennifer.
5. Friends help you learn about yourself.
If you are like me, here’s the other side of the hurt. Years after the friend breakup, I have to say it’s been beneficial for my mental health that the friendship ended. I never realized how judged I felt. I never did anything right, wore the right thing, or heaven forbid was not ditzy compared to her. It’s been a whole new perspective to have people in my life that support and love me…just for me.
It also helped me appreciate having my own voice, and I am very blessed to have Jake in my life. He has always been supportive and listened to me fuss those spring months Jennifer and I “broke up.”