Sometimes you're too close to a person to realize that the thing that connects the two of you isn't something that fosters true friendship. This was the case with one of my former best friends—I'll call her Kate. We met because we were both working at the same crappy job and our relationship budded over happy hour drinks at the bar next to the office. We'd head there straight after work and commiserate.
We lived in the same neighborhood, and shortly after I met Kate, she broke up with her long-term boyfriend. Our out-of-office hangouts became regular, and she came over to my apartment frequently. I encouraged her to pursue her writing because she was smart, good, and had something to say. Kate was brilliant in a way, but as is the case with so many brilliant people, she was lacking in other areas—most notably, social tact.
She started arguments on several occasions with friends of mine who she'd just met. She hooked up with my roommate once and was distraught when he didn't want to be her boyfriend—fixated might be a better word to use here. She was blogging about how terrible he was for not dating her months after the fact. She would chain-smoke and hole herself up in her apartment for days on end, oblivious to the world around her, typing furiously about something that made her furious and then publishing it online and waiting for all the furious camaraderie to roll in.
She was single when I started dating my then-boyfriend and she grew distant. She would only see me if I went to her house, save for an exception or two. I moved to Austin and I attempted to stay in regular contact with her, but she only responded if I reached out to share bad news or complaints. This irked me because she was always online, as demonstrated by her nonstop Twitter feed.
It started to become clear to me that she just didn't care about anything good happening in my life.
When I got engaged, she essentially disappeared from my life. I couldn't get her to respond to any attempt at contact, not even my wedding invitation. I was crushed. Even though I was living in a different city, I still considered her one of my closest friends. She curtly told me a few days before the wedding that she just didn't have the money to attend. The wedding came and went without any additional explanation for her inability to respond sooner, but then she contacted me saying she was coming to Austin for SXSW—her career was taking off, she said, and she was excited to speak on a panel. I was performing several shows during her visit, and she said she could attend one of them. I was eager to see her, but she never showed up. She left Austin without seeing me, saying she couldn't get a taxi.
Kate continued to reach out to me when she was angry or in pain, needing someone to vent to. I always responded. When I told her I was moving back to NYC, she seemed enthusiastic. But when I was back in NYC, nothing had changed.
She still flaked on plans and showed up in my life only when she needed support.
When I found out I was pregnant, I texted her an image of the sonogram shortly after as my way to announce it to her. She never replied. I followed up with her a few days later about it, wondering if she'd seen my text. I suspected she had because it was clear that she was available and online via a fierce Twitter debate she was engaged in at the time. She coldly told me she'd just been busy. I told her I'd seen that she'd been busy—in a Twitter fight.
She got wasted that night and attempted to give me a piece of her mind via text at 4 a.m. She was irate at the implication that she should have stepped away from Twitter to respond to my important news. She said I should have been sensitive to the fact that she's always wanted to be a mom but wasn't one. Maybe it was the hormones, but I woke up to her texts, aired my final complaints (this time, they were about her), and said good-bye.
I'm not angry with her, but I don't want her anywhere near my inner circle again. Good riddance, I say. If a person is only interested in your life insofar as pain, bad news, and complaints, their presence can never be conducive to joy.
*This article was written under a pseudonym.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.