When He Says, ‘We Can Still Be Friends’


We were best friends, practically inseparable. Everyone joked that one day we would end up together, and we dismissed them even though we both secretly thought they were right.

When we finally ended up together, I was over the moon. That is until I realized that we weren’t really together. We weren’t officially dating, so I had no problem with you seeing other girls. My problem was when you would tell me about it.You would seek me out to tell me about the other girls. To make things worse, you started to only talk to me when you were alone, drunk, had no other options, or some combination of the three. At first I thought that it was me; I had to be the reason you were acting this way, right? You were once so attentive and sweet. Before, you would check on me when I was sick, tell me to be careful when I was going home for the weekend, and would even ask me to come home early so you could see me.

I missed these signs that you wanted something more; I thought you were just a good friend. But part of me thinks that I missed them on purpose so that I wouldn’t lose our friendship and end up getting hurt. That is my fault; for that I take blame. Maybe if I had admitted my feelings for you sooner, things would have ended differently. But what I don’t take the blame for is how you treated me once both of our feelings had been put out on the table. You treated me like a consolation prize, like something you got only because what you really wanted was no longer available.

For months and months I told myself that if I just acted differently or said different things then you would give me some kind of hope that this was just a phase. I told myself that if I changed then you would finally want me like the way you once did. I went along with what you wanted, because I told myself things would eventually get to where I wanted them to be. If I just waited these other girls out we could be something beautiful and special.

My friends hated what you were doing to me, but I couldn’t see past the person that you once were. I told them things would all be better, eventually. And then one day I realized that it wasn’t me; it was you who ruined this wonderful thing that we once had. I told you that I couldn’t do whatever it was that we were doing any longer. That’s when you looked at me and said those dreaded words: “We can still be friends.”

Adding insult to injury, rubbing salt into my very open wounds, you said the five words that I knew could never be true. We can never be friends, not like we once were. Not after everything that has happened. Every time I see you I think of how you treated me and how you took a part of me that I can never get back. Every time I see you I think about what we could have been and what we should have been and it knocks the breath right out of me. But mostly every time I see you I think of how we were when we actually were friends and how wonderful that was. Now anything at this point would just pale in comparison.

I was once shiny and sparkly, but now I am dull and dark. I am a hollow shell of who I once was and you are to blame. You were once the person who lifted me up, the person who helped to make me shiny and sparkly. But over time you became the person who took my shine and sparkle, and you have to live for the rest of your life knowing that. You have to live for the rest of your life knowing that you made me feel like less of a person, like an unwanted toy that you only took out to play with when you had no other options.

I know we have to be amiable, because so much of our friend group overlaps. I know that I have to act like I’m not slowly dying inside every time I’m around you and you talk about your new girl of the week. I know that I have to see you every day and put a smile on my face like nothing is wrong. But I also know that we can’t be friends, because there is nothing more unfair and painful in the world.

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