The Time I Lost All of My Friends (And How I Found Even Better Ones) Part 1
This is Part 1 of a two part post. In this post I’ll recount the moment I realized that the people I perceived to be my best friends, weren’t really my best friends. In Part 2 I’ll explain how I later found the best friends a person could ask for. Most importantly, I’ll explain how I keep them.
I punched him in the face four times, as hard as I could until he was covered in blood. Or maybe it was five times – I don’t remember. I was slightly drunk and transformed by the adrenaline. He stumbled off. I picked up a lawn chair and used it to smash in the left taillight of his pretentious new BMW. Then I kicked in the other light with my bare foot. My heel was sliced open to the point that you could see bone. Blood was spraying out.
Right afterwards, I walked inside our beautiful beachfront vacation house, which now looked kind of majestic on a moonlit summer night. I quickly found my room, and quietly shut the door behind me. I took a deep breath – dejected. And then I cried myself to sleep. I knew things would be different now.
My core group of friends (there were about twelve of us that were really close) decided to rent a beachfront property in Long Beach Island, NJ. We had all just finished our first year of college and it was time to reunite. We were going to do this every year, because we were best friends.
One member of the crew happened to be a girl that I dated pretty seriously for close to three years. We broke up a couple of days before the trip. It was awful timing and I was a bit nervous to see her. In an attempt to not let anything deter us from our Heineken-sucking, beer-bonging, sunburn-filled week we had waited so patiently for, I tried to be friendly and easy-going. She did the same. But sometime later that night we got into a shouting match. Sometime after that I found her in an outdoor shower with a “visitor”. She wasn’t getting clean. That’s when I hit the guy. I had never hit anyone before.
The next morning was less crazy but just as bad. I was heartbroken and hurt. I was embarrassed and felt like I was going to throw up. It was the worst I had ever felt about myself. Some people were in one part of the house consoling her. Others were sitting at the kitchen table with me. No one knew what to say. I certainly didn’t. The buddy I had always been closest to spoke up first.
My Friend: “This sucks man. What are you gonna do?”
Me: “I don’t know. What do you think I should do? It’s gonna be really hard to be around her for the rest of the week. Don’t you think?”
I needed him to say something comforting.
My Friend: “Hmmm. I don’t know what you should do. If I were you I guess I would just leave.”
I was hurt. “That’s it?” I wondered. They didn’t care. They weren’t understanding. They weren’t there for me like I wanted them to be. Or like I expected them to be. Like I needed them to be. Couldn’t they see that the entire world just blew up in my face?
One of the other guys happened to be leaving for our hometown twenty minutes later because he needed to get back to work. I caught a ride with him. That’s the day I stopped believing those guys were my friends.
It’s six years later and I never talk to any of those guys anymore. I really regret it. It wasn’t really their fault. I was a bad friend too. There are plenty of examples that prove it. I was lonely for a couple of years, but since then, my outlook on friendship has changed. Now I have a bunch of new friends – friends that I’m super close with. I’m very thankful for these friendships and work hard to keep them. But it takes regular maintenance, which I’m not good at. I’m lazy.
My guess is that many people struggle to keep a bunch of close friends, because like me, they’re lazy. Tomorrow we’ll get to the nitty gritty. I’ll explain friendship maintenance, and share Ten Ways to Keep Your Friends.
P.S. – I got a phone call from the father of the kid I punched a few days after the incident. Apparently it was his father’s new BMW and pops graciously asked me to foot the $1500 repair bill. I scraped up the little money I had and sent him a check. It could’ve been worse.
Update: Link to Part 2