Under the Kilt: People change but friendships don’t

Courtesy of Pexels
Courtesy of Pexels

When people talk to me about losing their best friend, it’s almost always for the same reason: Their best friend got a boyfriend.

I hear about this situation time and time again and initially, it seems like it is the best friend’s fault for changing and hurting the people who care about them.

But if you have ever been in a relationship before, you would know that this behavior is inescapable. People can’t really help the way they behave in a relationship because the influence a significant other has on them can be strong. It’s almost impossible to resist caving in to a partner’s desires and preferences because that person, oftentimes, has become the source of happiness and meaning in their lives.

In my own experience — with a friend named Jenny, who changed because of her boyfriend Mike — this was the case and I couldn’t do anything about it. At first I tried to get Jenny to spend less time with Mike because she was sneaking out with him every day after school and her grades and friendships were beginning to suffer. I even talked to her about her relationship being unhealthy because it had become the main focus of her life. However, as I should have expected, she didn’t listen to anything I said. If anything, recommending her to distance herself from the relationship only made her distance herself from me because at that point, Mike had become the most important person in her life.

I was devastated because Jenny and I used to do everything together until she started dating Mike during senior year. We had been best friends since freshman year and shared the craziest, funniest, most precious memories of our high school experience.

At the same time, Jenny was my personal source of guidance and I didn’t have a bond that I shared with her with anyone else. The fact that we did absolutely everything with one another and somewhat depended on each other for comfort and advice was almost unhealthy. It was almost like the relationship she had with Mike.

Because of this dependency, I began to develop feelings of jealousy and malice toward her. I was jealous that she had someone else to always be with and felt malicious because I craved for her to feel the pain that I was going through. I just wanted her relationship to end and I no longer felt happy for her; whatever she was happy about, it wasn’t because of something that she and I did.

Most of all, I felt angry that she had the power to make me feel that way even though I knew that I was being obsessive and selfish.

One day I snapped and told her on Facebook everything that I didn’t like about her and her relationship. As you can guess, she didn’t show a speck of sympathy for me and told me she would never break up with Mike. She said that she had changed for the better — that she had a new life and that we were no longer best friends.

We stopped talking for almost half of a school year until around two months before graduation when she came up to me and gave me a binder. It was a collection of notes that we had passed to each other over the four years.

After this, we gradually started talking again and hanging out (at this point, she had broken up with Mike). Even though we talked things out and apologized to each other for our behaviors, it took a while for us to be close again.

However, as the weeks passed, we got comfortable with each other again and it eventually felt like nothing happened between us in the first place.

What I learned from my situation with Jenny was that I cannot make a person go back to how they were before being in a relationship. Everyone changes in one way or another and a relationship is just a form of that. If your friend’s relationship makes you uncomfortable, you should talk to them about it. But nine times out of 10, they won’t listen because they will be too absorbed within their relationship.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to just be patient. If your friendship is strong enough, it will not change after a relationship, even if you or your friend might have.

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