While friendships may not be jobs you get paid for, they certainly are a ton of work. Similarly, while it takes years to build up to the right position, a demotion knocks you down in what feels like an instant.
In friendships, this demotion comes in the form of a girlfriend or a boyfriend. You may not realize it as first, but gradually it dawns on you…
You’ve been demoted.
Once your friend finds their significant other, that person becomes their first (and sometimes it feels like their only) priority. They’re the ones to hear the crazy stories and complaints first. They’re the ones who get the invites to weddings and family events first. They’re the ones who get dibs on any free time. And honestly, that’s totally understandable. Love is exhilarating and basking in every second of that glow gives some of the best moments to look back on.
But having to clear out your corner office and move down to the basement to be a mailroom clerk, really sucks.
Typically on weekends, my best friend and I would grab a coffee and watch a ridiculously cheesy chick flick or drive out for hikes in the country side. We’d go to the mall and rifle through the sales rack of nearly every store looking for the perfect outfit, before giving up and buying an ice cream cone instead. We’d catch one another up on how our weeks had gone, though unnecessary, since we’d been texting the updates as they happened anyways. During the summer we’d spend hours by the pool, singing along to the radio or exploring new bands. We’d have dinner at our favourite local spots, then drive home with those songs blaring, windows down, shouting the lyrics at the darkening sky.
Now we see each other once a month. They’re usually planned, short visits with a purpose; either to drop something off or complete some sort of task together. The times we do spend together are quieter, more reserved. She’s usually glued to her phone and I’m counting down the hours until I can leave. There’s no spontaneous trips. When I ask her to do something, she’s usually got plans with her boyfriend.
So I’ve stopped asking.
I’m trying my absolute hardest to be supportive and caring. To keep the resentment out of my voice and to pretend that I really don’t mind. I’ve thought about discussing how I feel with her, but I’ve seen how that conversation has gone with her other friends. The friendship tends to fall apart, as she’s convinced she’s balancing her time perfectly.
So I’ve accepted it.
I’ve accepted that her idea of celebrating my birthday was going to a nail salon together where my attempts at conversation were mostly ignored. I’ve accepted that perhaps she really is too busy to take my birthday presents out of the postage wrapping it came with, and only had time to drop them off while her boyfriend waited in the car. I’ve accepted that if I need something, I’m better off asking someone else.
Because she’s busy, of course.
I’m trying (rather unsuccessfully) to not be bitter about the whole situation, because truth be told, I’ve been down this road before. I know how it inevitably ends up – once you’re on the outside, there’s no room to get back in. I told myself I wouldn’t end up here again, but somehow once more, I’m watching someone drift away.
It’s a fact that everyone denies, but significant others will always replace friends, regardless of how many years that friendship has existed for. That perfect balance just doesn’t exist; something will always slip through the cracks. I suppose our hearts are smaller than we imagined, with just enough room for one person.
And just like that, I seem to be out of a job. So now comes the most important question…
Is anyone hiring?