Lance Clayton: “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone”
I’ve only ever had one real best friend that I knew for about 10 years or so, someone I thought who would always be there for me, like a long lost sister or something. I still hold a lot of resentment, anger and sadness about losing her as a friend because even though I know it’s for the best, I feel like I’ll never have someone in my life again that I can be that close to. It takes so much time and effort to build a strong friendship and I feel like everyone I try to get close to already has a tight knit pack of friends, who have been friends for many years, with no room for me.
My first encounter with the person who later on became my best friend (lets just call her Jen), was actually really bad; I did not like her. I was new in town and took the bus to school and wanted to sit with a girl that lived down the road from me she was already sitting next to someone, so I took the seat next to the one she was in; and unbeknown to me, next to Jen. A couple stops later another girl got on the bus and she started talking over me to Jen, a minute later they were hovering over me and telling me I had to get out of their spot. I didn’t move and so Jen changed seats and they angrily sat behind me and made a lot of jokes at my expense. As a quiet, small and passive little twelve year old I made sure not to sit there again. But it was too late, they already had me in their sights and made fun of me to my face anyway.
A couple years later we were in high school and I hadn’t bothered to talk to her since the bus bullying incident. I had gotten close to a couple girls and of course they were also friends with Jen. She quickly introduced herself as if we didn’t know each other, looked me over and started complaining about how much she hated girls who didn’t have to wear foundation (she had an acne outbreak). I wanted to be friends with the other girls and to be in the group so I told Jen that I wore lots of it too, & that she probably couldn’t tell because of the bad lighting. After that, she got really excited that I had a flaw and she immediately became nicer to me, because she thought she was better than me in some way.
We didn’t get really close until a few years later in university when we both found ourselves in Ottawa for post secondary. I was really happy to have a good friend as I was having a horrible time with my roommate from hell and also trying to keep a new relationship above water. I can honestly say that she was there for me and I was there for her. Together we had a great way to deal with drama and events that happened in our lives & I am still so grateful for that.
Late one night in May, the summer after Second year, I got a phone call that Jen had been in a serious car accident and was at the hospital. There is a big hill in our hometown that people try to fly over to make their stomachs jump, the guy driving tried to do that at over 120 kl/hr, crossed lanes and hit another vehicle dead on that was doing about 80 kl/hr. If any of the people who were in the car didn’t have their seat belts on they would have died, no question.
I got to the hospital as fast as I could, and I made it a point to see her and stay by her side. I even lied to the staff and told them we were sisters so that I could stay past visiting hours & stay overnight. She had multiple surgeries and broken bones but she wasn’t critical which was a big relief. I hung around the hospital with her every day, watching TV, wheeling her around the halls, getting her ice chips, trying not to laugh when she got applauds from the nurses for farting (she had intestinal trauma, so passing anything was a great sign), having coffee dates, and so on. I was there with her for just over two weeks until she was released.
I knew she had changed from the trauma she experienced, a lot of things in her life seemed uncertain but even though she broke up with her boyfriend and battled with low self esteem, she still confided everything with me; including the huge lump sum of money she was going to receive from the insurance companies. She became obsessed with money and her spending habits and budgets.
We talked daily, just like before, but now all she talked about was money; how much she made an hour before and after taxes, how much she made that day, week, month, year. She would read her receipts to me and tell me to the cent what she had spent on extravagant make-up, clothes, furniture, trips, etc. How much she had in savings, how much she was still expecting to make, & brag about all her raises and what she was saving for next.
After a while, I also noticed that besides her money fixation all she wanted to do when we hung out was to go out and meet guys and drink. I was all for that for the longest time, but I was unemployed, broke and it got boring after a while. Then when I stopped going out as much, she started down a road of dangerous dating; meeting guys online and meeting them in secluded areas alone. I felt like we weren’t in a friendship anymore, she just wanted to self destruct and she didn’t want any help from me; anytime I did try to intervene she would pretend to listen and then do everything I told her not to, because it was dangerous.
Out of the blue, Jen and another friend of ours ambushed me one day for my birthday with a mystery trip to Montreal. I was so caught of guard and so happy that they thought to do that for me. That is up until we stopped for lunch and Jen said now you have to do this for me and take me to New York City, and the other friend piped in, yeah me too & you’re going to take me to Cuba. So I felt like the trip wasn’t for me at all, it was for them to guilt trip me into planning and paying for expensive trips for them. During our stay I was constantly reminded about how much they paid for the hotel and how “broke” they were now. I just ended up feeling bad about myself the whole time, like I owed them the world or something. There was also an event that happened; I don’t want to go into details about it because I’m really ashamed and disgusted in myself about it. To this day, I still blame them and myself for what happened – that was not something I ever thought I could or would do and I’m still upset over it. I wish they never brought me to Montreal to begin with, I loved that city and they ruined it for me.
Over time, Jen became incredibly braggy, jealous and competitive with me, if something good happened to me she would make it about herself. One of my breaking points with the friendship was when I was hosting a pro bono charity fundraiser night for the Children’s Wish Foundation. It was a classy sit down dinner event and we couldn’t start serving meals until everyone was there. Jen came trotting in about a half hour late, I didn’t say anything besides “okay, good your here, go through that door and find your table, quick please!” She stood there and glared at me for a second and said “..but don’t you notice anything?” I quickly replied “no”, and she almost had a fit in the hallway because I didn’t notice her hair was a shade blonder. The whole night she made comments like “wow, I thought this event was really going to suck”, “I won at a silent auction! Even though the items aren’t that good”, “the food was okay I guess”. I had spent 8 months of hard work putting it together with a team of event managers and I got everything for FREE! 100% of the benefit went straight to the charity (we raised about $12,000.00), but I guess that wasn’t very interesting to Jen.
A few weeks after that I won a scholarship to go to Africa for a month from the school I was associated with. Jen wanted nothing to do with me at that point, she stopped calling every day, she didn’t come to my graduation (which was held just a couple blocks from her house), and when she did call it was about her promotions, raises, new apartment or whatever. She just could not be happy for me, and that really made me furious considering how much I did for her the last few years from the point of the accident to never complaining about her bragging, and dealing with all the good and bad that came her way. I really felt like I was being used, I had to be there for her but there was no effort on her part to be there for me.
The week before I left the continent I tried to call her a few times to touch base but she never answered. The day I left, I got up early, packed and was just about to take my SIM card out of my phone when she called. I let it go to voice-mail because I was so furious with her. She left me a stupid message, it was something along the lines of, “sorry I didn’t get back to you – but I had a really busy week” and then proceeded to tell me all that she did that week. No have a safe trip, e-mail me when you get there, bring me back something cool – just nothing. I was really scared of what I had gotten myself into and I just really actually needed her, and she wasn’t there for me.
During my trip she messaged me once or twice but it was all very impersonal, again not asking me any questions about my trip or culture shock, just what was going on with her. And when I got home she again didn’t call or message me for almost a week. She finally got in touch after that and let me know that the day I came home, she left on a girls trip to go to a cottage and relax. I really needed something like that and it never even crossed her mind to invite me. When I wrote back to her I lied and told her I was too busy to see her and all she wrote back was “fine, let me know when you actually have time for me…”. I wanted to explode!! How could she make that about herself on top of making everything else about herself! It was like inception for a redundant narcissist queen.
I never wrote back and that was the last time we communicated. It’s been about three years or so since, and I’m still friendless and catch myself thinking about getting in touch with her. She really was my person at one point and it hurts that she ruined it & can’t see that.
There were a lot more stories that I could of included to even further my point but I think I got all the main points across in this. I have a really hard time connecting with people now on that level because they’ll do or say something that reminds me of her and I walk away from it. I find I kind of hate everyone now and I’m really cynical; there’s always something that rubs me the wrong way or bothers me about people. Even thinking about it right now, I can’t say there is anyone I know that I can honestly describe as a genuinely great person (including myself). I know too that everyone is flawed in their own ways, but its always to the point to where I can’t stand being around them. I’m sure that vibe also resonates from me and that doesn’t help in gravitating good people my way, but it’s how I am right now.