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Letting Go of a Toxic Friendship

"Friends are like stars, they come and go, but the ones that stay are the ones that glow"- Roxy Quiksilver

Friendships are powerful. They bring joy and sometimes they can be destructive. I met my best friend for the first time in 10th grade in high school. For the purpose of this piece, I will call her Abby. Abby had transferred to my high school at that time. There were rumours going around that Abby was weird and annoying. I only spoke to her once in 10th grade and she seemed sweet.

In 12th grade I became closer to Abby through my friend, Lidia. The 3 of us were the best of friends. We talked all the time, shared the same interests in books and movies and went out frequently. We shared secrets and could not go 5 minutes without laughing about something. We graduated and sat at the same table at Prom. Even though the 3 of us were off to different places after high school, we kept our friendship close. We were all busy juggling school, work and our personal lives. However, we always made time for each other during the summer, winter break and occasionally throughout the school year.

At the end of my second year in university, I met my boyfriend. We fell in love almost instantly and spent a majority of our free time together. I did my best to make time for Abby and Lidia but things had changed once they met my boyfriend. My friends told me they were happy for me and at the time I blindly believed them. Going into my third year I knew my studies were more than important to me. I had the goal of getting into law school and I needed to do well in order for that to happen. As a result I went out with my friends less. They expressed their disappointment and were upset that I cut down my time with them and still continued seeing my boyfriend. I explained to them that we went to the same university and had a similar schedule. It was already easy to see each other. I realized that I did not like the way they were comparing themselves to him. It bothered me because they were not the same. 

10 months into our relationship, my boyfriend gave me a promise ring. It was special for us. We were already planning a life together.

I had plans on writing the LSAT in June 2016. After my exams I started studying for the LSAT. I met up with Lidia and Abby once between April and June. Right after the LSAT was my birthday. I began making plans with my boyfriend for a fun night downtown with all of our friends. I left the majority of the planning to my boyfriend as I was studying and he knew what I was looking for. This angered Abby. She did not think it was fair that he was planning and making the arrangements for places for us all to go to. 5 days before my LSAT, Abby began messaging me and telling me that my boyfriend was controlling, obnoxious and undeserving of me. She said she did not want to spend any money the night we went out. Abby did not want to pitch in to stay at a hotel. I told her that was fine and she could take an uber or a cab home with the other girls. This only angered her more when she explained how expensive an uber would be. I told my boyfriend and he looked into discounted baseball game tickets. It was cheaper and easier for everyone to commute to and from. Abby expressed her disgust in a baseball game to me. For the 3rd time I changed my plans for her and instead of going dancing we went out for dessert and drinks. By that point my LSAT was 2 days away and my head was pounding after being spammed with messages from Abby. 

On test day I could not focus and it felt as though this silly argument had exhausted me. I spent countless hours studying and preparing for this test. Needless to say I did not do well and I knew it once I collected my things and left the test center. For a long time I was angry and I blamed Abby for my test results. I did not speak to her for the rest of the summer. I am not an angry person and I never had difficulty forgiving someone. For the first time I did not know how to forgive her. She knew how important this test was to me and I felt betrayed with the way she treated me. 

During the winter break of 2016 I was finally starting to forgive Abby. She asked me how I did on that LSAT. I told her I did not perform as well as I expected. All she could say was, "too bad, there's always next time". I did not understand why she could not apologize to me for calling me and my boyfriend names in the past. I continued to text Abby from time to time but kept my distance. Things were not the same anymore. 

Flash forward to the summer of 2017, I was working full time. Abby was still upset over the US election that Hillary Clinton had lost and Donald Trump had won. I sent out a video I saw on Snapchat to everyone on my contact list about the lack of freedom of speech a lot of college and university students were facing if they were not in agreement with Hillary Clinton's campaign. I made the mistake of sending this video to Abby. Abby became very upset with me that I was spreading something "Pro-Trump" to others. She called me names and said we can't be friends if we do not agree on everything. What difference did any of this even make? Trump already won and we live in Canada, not in the US. The video was about freedom of speech on university campuses. 

Following her rant I invited a few friends over. I did not invite Abby as we were no longer speaking. That night my friends showed me a private Facebook group chat that was started by Abby. Abby was telling my friends that I was trying to instigate a fight with her. She also twisted the story and said I called her names. Lidia was part of this group chat as well. They went on and began bashing my boyfriend, claiming that all his law school acceptances were fake and I was foolish to believe him. I was upset with Abby. However, I was even more upset with Lidia. I was friends with Lidia since 9th grade. Learning about the things she said about me behind my back hurt and I felt betrayed. Learning that she had taken sides and was trying to leave me without any friends upset me, especially since she had always told me that she could not stand gossiping. My friends believed my side of the story and I later showed them screenshots of the messages Abby sent me.

For some time I had a lot of anger. This was the second time in my life that I had difficulty in forgiving and letting go of anger. I finally decided to face the realization that Abby and Lidia were not true friends to me and a friendship like this was not good for me. It was toxic. I learned to let go of everything. Instead of messaging the 2 of them I removed them from social media and to this day I have not contacted them. My dad has always told me that friends come and go in life; they serve their time however long that may be and then it is time to let go. It took me a few months but I learned to let go. Since then I learned the importance of putting myself first and not letting anyone walk on me. I learned to value myself more. Overall, I feel better about myself. Life feels more peaceful and full of bliss. 

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