By Sophia Sajan (’22)
“I have this friend I think is really cool but recently it seems they’ve started hating me? I don’t know why or what happened or if I’m just imagining it. What should I do?” – Anonymous
I am glad you asked.
Throughout our entire lives, people will come and go. In my personal experience, I grew up with a different best friend every year of elementary school. We were inseparable for the entire year, granted this was in second grade, and we would even go on vacation together. Then, by the following year, we had different friends. After fourth grade, I moved away from my hometown and lived in a place where some kids only stayed for a year. I moved again a year and a half later to start over for a second time. I tried to text my old friends , but I quickly figured out that I can not force people to stay as my friend. Although we had been best friends, they had moved on when I left for a new place. No matter how much we cared about each other, that part of our lives was over and that was okay. It still hurt like a paper-cut though.
When you envision your life, what do you see? A partner? Some kids? Are you going to try to make it in the risky world of Hollywood? When I ask myself these questions, the answer is clear to me; I will be okay. I will be happy. There will be a group of friends there to stay, hopefully a partner whom I love, and a couple of kids because children are great when they aren’t staring at a screen.
You might be thinking, well okay … but how do I get there? That’s the real process. Think of your friends as a list. This list has every friend you’ve ever had. All the fake, toxic, mean people that you have wished who would like you and all those who were there to support you through it all.
Throughout your time in elementary, middle school, high school, and university you will be adding names to this never-ending scroll. And just as constantly, names will be crossed off. Even that one really cool girl who everybody likes that you try SO hard to say the right thing around. I am not telling you to spitefully have a friend-breakup in which you cry dramatically and wear extra mascara so that it all hideously runs down your cheeks to make them feel horrible, I am just telling you to find people who want to be there.
One of the hardest things for me to understand in my life is that, You can love someone and not be friends.
Even when I was surrounded by friends who made it clear that they didn’t like me and would say rude things the moment I walked away, I couldn’t help but stick around. Because I loved them. And in the movies when someone loves someone else they stay together forever, right? Sometimes, even when you care so much about your best friend, you may not be right for each other. You may have had a huge fight, so loud and angry that it was heard at the peak of Everest or maybe, one day, that friendship had fallen through the floor. You woke up, or your friend woke up, and it just wasn’t there anymore.
When I envision my future life, I hope I will have a supportive group of friends who will never leave. The list will have been narrowed down to a couple of people, one person, or a whole community of support.
Ask yourself, would you rather have a friend who wants to be around you and always puts in effort or a friend who you really want to be close with but never appreciates you? If somebody doesn’t want to be your friend, why would you keep trying? There are people out there who are perfect for you, who will support and love you. By distancing themselves from you, they are saving you the energy of crossing out their name. You ought to thank them! This friend, even if they are the coolest human being on earth, is not worth your time! People can not be forced to stay. Let them go. Keep going. Yeah, it hurts more than that kangaroo that kicked my dad on my parents’ honeymoon, but at least now you don’t have to waste more time on people who aren’t willing to support you.
You said yourself that you have no idea why they have begun to “hate” you. If you truly cannot fathom why they are being so cold towards you, then you did not do anything wrong. This sounds like something that this other person needs to get over themselves. Whether they are going through something and need some alone time, or if they simply don’t want to be friends, give them their space. Let them be even if they ignore you or glare at you across the classroom. Live your life happily knowing you are not at fault and you can enjoy your life.
If this person is going out of their way to make it known that they dislike you, I kid you not, smile in their face. Smile, and walk away. Is it worth your time? I think not! By arguing, you are working yourself up, getting frustrated, and ruining your own day. If someone is being mean just to be spiteful, why let them win? Don’t let them ruin your day. Here’s how it will go down: they will be all red-faced and angry, sitting there all slumped and huffy-puffy while you will be laughing and living your life with nice people.
People aren’t bad by nature though, not even that the guy that stole my friend’s phone in Hong Kong, so my guess is that this person is just trying to figure themselves out, where they stand, and their own friend-list.
Don’t get me wrong, it is totally not cool of this friend to ice you out. But what if this friend has a billion things on their mind and has no clue that they are even excluding you? There are fifty-billion “What Ifs” I could list for you, but it doesn’t change the fact that this person is drifting away from you.
My advice to you, Anonymous Person, is not to “give up”. My advice is to remember you don’t “need” this friend. There is a line you probably are oblivious to of people waiting to be your friend. I don’t want to see you isolating yourself now, but stay close to the people who want to stay.
Think about how much this person has changed you, all the good and bad you’ve braved together, how much you have grown. Aren’t you excited to see what the next chapter holds for you? Think of how you will look back and think “wow, so much has changed,” in a years time with all the new things you will learn from a new friend. Your goal is to find the right fit, not to fit in.