In high school I had this friend. I found him on AOL back when everyone used it and you could search profiles by city. He was probably in the top 10 most popular guys at school. I didn’t like him, no, it wasn’t like that. But we talked a lot. After we got out of school and I got home I would call his cell phone and we would talk before he went to work. When he got off work he would call and we would talk some more. Sometimes we would talk for hours on the phone about nothing really. But when it came to seeing each other at school I was see-through. He would never speak to me, he would look through me like I was a ghost, and no one ever knew we were friends. It bothered me a lot, but not enough to stop being friends. He was a good friend to me…on the off hours of school, and he was good enough that it was worth the friendship to me. But it hurt. It was that friendship that really taught me who the cool kids were, and who the cool kids weren’t and that scenarios like that actually existed in this world and not just on TV. 

It’s crazy that as an adult I go through this still. Not quite the same as being accepted in one place and not in another, but more so made to feel accepted when it’s just the two of us versus in a group setting or when it’s not convenient. It’s such a desperately hurtful feeling to be ignored. It makes a person ask what is wrong with them, what they did wrong, why won’t you talk to me? Why are you treating me like this? Why are you trying to hurt me? That’s the sad part of it. Then there is the angry part. I’m never going to allow you to hurt me again. You’ve done this to me before and I won’t ever let it happen again. I’ve done nothing to you except be your friend and you hurt me over and over and over. And then the resigned part. Whatever, I don’t even care anymore. I know I’m a good friend and I’m here whenever you need me to be there, but I don’t care whether you ever ask for my friendship ever again.

 And it’s really all just a product of hurt. Stages, if you will. I’ve only ever wanted to be a good friend. I’ve only ever wanted someone to be a good friend to me. I’ve only ever wanted to feel special, like my friendship, my advice, and my empathy and sympathy helped you cope. Why else would you come to someone with all of your problems if not for their help? Dump your problems on me, but don’t dump me out too. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, I think that’s what “they” say. But life takes a toll on people, and they think that their problems justify the damage they do to the people that care the most. It’s too hard, it hurts too much, I’m too vulnerable. Not you, but me. But what you don’t realize is that now it’s me too. Because your rejection spurs on those same feelings. Friendship with you is too hard, it hurts too much, and I’m too vulnerable.

 I’ve only ever tried to be a good friend. But I’ve only ever been made to feel like I’m nowhere close.