I Don't Owe You

You, and everyone else

I Don't Owe You

(Just to note: I am strictly referring to friends in this piece unless stated otherwise. This is not directed towards family or the like.)

Depending on who you are, I don't owe you. And you don't owe me, either. I don't expect to know your every move, your every thought, your struggles, your future goals, your past mistakes because quite frankly, I don't need to know. Unless I'm worried sick about you, please let me know what I ask. But I know it's not my business. I just need to know that someone close to me is safe and well. And I'll return the favour. But what I do, where I go, who I love, what I think, so much more, and why is generally none of your business.

Yes, my safety is important to you and I appreciate that. I will tell you what you need to know to keep myself safe, and if I don't, please trust that someone else knows. And if you don't trust that, ask me where I am and/or what I'm doing; ask me what you need to know to keep your peace of mind. I am not naive enough to travel somewhere to spend time with someone and not let anyone know my whereabouts. I'll likely either be with a friend, with my partner or with my family and unless I think it concerns you or unless you ask, you won't be told, point-blank.

And, as a friend of mine, I do expect you to respect me as I will you. Respect why I do what I do, even if they're stupid. And if you think I can't see why you believe they're stupid, let me know and I'll respond accordingly. Please don't offend me, though. Just leave if you think I'm not worth your time.

I am not obliged to tell you where I'm going, what I'll be doing or who I'll be seeing. I'll tell someone, maybe even two people, where I am for my own safety, but if you're not that someone then you're not that someone. If you're not someone I've already mentioned my travel plans to then chances are, I'm not divulging my information to you specifically. And that hasn't got anything to do with who you are as a person, I just already told someone else and don't feel a need to spread around my plans to the masses, thank you.

I write this because of a situation that occurred a couple of months ago regarding a close friend and a nearly-friend. I won't go into specifics of this situation as it's irrelevant (and I don't owe you), but the basis of it was going to Liverpool to amend my relationship that had come to a temporary halt.

The close friend will be referred to as 'Abbie'. The nearly-friend will be referred to as 'Elle'. I'm not close to anyone with these particular names neither am I currently in contact with an 'Abbie' or an 'Elle'. These names are replacements for the real people so as to keep their identities hidden.

Elle was someone I knew who was a bit questionable at times. There was something fishy about her that I couldn't quite pin down at first. We spent a lot of time together, but I couldn't quite call her a friend, even though that was what I was referring to her as to other people. She would've been one of those friends that I spent time with and laughed and joked with, one that I tried to trust for a few months that would soon be a forgotten memory. I remember telling her where I was going due to the circumstances at hand, and previous to this situation, through me, she had become friends with Abbie.

Abbie was like the sister I never had. But I didn't tell her that I was going on this particular trip because I was focused on the aim of it and I expected she would've found out from Elle, anyway. Abbie messaged me a day after I was gone worried sick asking if I was safe and okay, to which I responded with yes, I was fine and I reassured her of my whereabouts and reasons for leaving, and that seemed to be the end of it.

But that wasn't the end of it.

When I came back, I was met with hostility and awkwardness. Elle allegedly had no idea where I was, but I received no message from her personally. Because, as I and anyone else would guess, she was with Abbie and (re)discovered where I was through her. They were both incredibly angry at me and I couldn't have cared less, in all honesty. I had already responded to queries of my whereabouts. I answered accordingly, reassured them of said whereabouts and I wasn't met with any other further questions or statements.

Things with Abbie were already going downhill as it was, I felt. Being with both her and Elle made me feel like I wasn't wanted when we were together as a three, and as if they were just asking me to hang out with them because it was what we normally did. Being alone with Abbie felt weird because there was something off about something and I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Maybe it was to do with how much time we spent together because it was a lot. Things started to feel weird and I had accepted that it was a friendship with an eventual end date. It happens.

I needed to visit Abbie to return something of hers. When I knocked, petrified of the encounter, Elle had opened the door and refused to smile at me, refused to mutter a greeting of some sort, and even refused to look me in the face. I dropped off what I needed, and I was asked how my trip was. When I said it was enjoyable, I was met with an 'okay' and a refusal to look up at me and acknowledge my physical existence. I went back to my apartment and had a breakdown. Someone I hoped would be a forever-friend now hated me and that was the end of the friendship. Oh well, it happens. I still don't owe you though.

I was in McDonald's with a friend, celebrating the end of her degree when my phone rang. It was Elle. She and Abbie wanted to speak to me in person. They wanted me to visit them. I already felt like it was a 2v1 situation, already felt ganged up on, already felt incredibly uncomfortable, so I politely said no. I heard nothing after that. Apart from receiving a lengthy text from Abbie ending our friendship, which was a given. Props to her for feeling obligated to message me to make sure I was clear on it, though. It was dwindling long before. Part of me still wishes it hadn't been.

The point of the story that no one needed to hear is:

I don't owe you and you don't owe me, either.

It isn't an act of rebellion, or whatever you want to call it. I fully understand and agree with caring about other people's safety. But understand your boundaries and where you stand in other people's lives. I don't owe you any explanations, and you don't owe me them either. I don't need to feel obligated to get on my knees and beg for your forgiveness. I know my worth and if you're not willing to mend a broken situation on your own, then that's fine with me. You'll just be another memory, another story, another person who wasn't fit to stay in my life through choice or otherwise, and that's okay.

I would like to note that other close friends were in the same position as Elle and Abbie, although they didn't know I was even away; I am still just as close to them as ever before. This probably isn't a 'me' thing, it's a 'friendship-that-was-not-fit-for-me' thing.

See you in the next life and take care, loves.

How does it work?
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Bushra Shahriar

A 21-year-old student studying at Keele University - writer and poet.

See all posts by Bushra Shahriar