Toxic Friendships

by Cai Franco 6 months ago in breakups

Chapter One

Toxic Friendships
Photo by: KINTAZHR

When I think of the word Toxic the first thing that comes to mind is poison. Poison is a substance that causes sickness of a living organism when introduced or absorbed. With that being said, you may see the resemblance from that definition to a real person in your life - I know I can. Someone who literally sucks the life out of you and absorbs all your energy. It may seem harsh, but this is the reality.

Throughout my whole life I had struggled with making friends, whether it be from moving schools so many times or just being shy. No matter how hard I tried, I could never get it right. Before I make myself sound like a total loner, I did in fact have "friends" although they were more along the lines of really nice acquaintances. Everything changed when I began high school.

After a year at a pretentious catholic school where I felt completely out of place (a different story in itself), I transferred to an even smaller private school where I met my first best friend. We did not become best friends at first, not even friends. Instead, I nestled my way into a group of 4 girls who were extremely nice. They listened to indie music, spent hours on Tumblr, and wore beanies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those three things, in fact I tried to enjoy them as much as possible. I tried and tried and tried, but no matter how much I forced myself to listen to The xx I was just feeling more out of place than I was before.

A year flew by and before I knew it, I was a Junior in high school. Throughout the summer, my hair grew a little longer, I became a little taller, and I was finally growing into my body. Some could say I "glowed up". I had no expectations for the upcoming year besides basketball and trying my best academically. While I was practically hiding the whole summer, my group of friends became even closer and although they tried to include me I could feel myself drifting away. Like clockwork, I had found a friend group, been a part of it, felt disconnected, and isolated myself. This being an EXTREMELY small school, there was no bad blood or anything of the sorts, just slightly awkward when I decided to sit somewhere else for lunch. That is when I met her. Lets call her Talia.

Talia was the kind of girl who could make you feel so special for doing absolutely nothing. Just being associated with her made you feel important (especially since she was a Senior and I was a Junior). We began as friends, hanging out more at school and sitting together at lunch. During this time I thought, could this be it? Do I finally have a best friend? Before I could get too excited, my old friend group decided to warn me. Apparently Talia was known for having a new bff, changing them, and later on completely ditching them. In my head I was thrown off, she seemed perfectly normal and sweet. I thanked them and reassured them I would be okay. Throughout the next month I noticed a few red flags.

Talia would invite me to places and ignore me, then after she would act like we were best friends again. I thought this was strange, but decided to brush it off. When we were at school, someone would compliment me and she would get quiet, making me feel like I did something wrong. Small things like this kept happening and I felt as if I was walking on eggshells. Despite all the negative, whenever she was happy and on her terms, hanging out with together was pure bliss. At the end of the day, I was just happy to finally have that one person too count on, to call my best friend.

Everything was peachy keen until my grades began to drop, that's when I started getting into trouble and had to focus more on school. We still hung out, but not as much as before. As basketball season was approaching she decided to join the team, I was so excited! Tryouts were a couple weeks away (the team was so small almost every person trying out was guaranteed a spot). As tryouts were approaching there was a rumor going around that a new transfer was coming to our small school. Another thing I forgot to mention about Talia, she was a slightly boy crazy. This was not a bad thing at all, I was boy crazy too. She just tended to act on her emotions a bit more when it came to getting their attention. The new transfer was 6ft tall, handsome, soft spoken and a Junior as well.

Let's call him Jake. Jake and I became friends pretty fast. We had all the same classes and shared the same interests, one of them being basketball. At this point Talia and I had become inseparable as well, I began telling her a little about Jake. I told her how much we have in common and how I think he is cute. While I would speak to her, especially about Jake, she would casually be on her phone avoiding eye contact and act as if I wasn't saying anything at all. It hurt my feelings, but I learned to put up with it. Jake would come up to my locker and make me smile, he even called me beautiful in front of my classmate. Could I possibly have my first bestfriend AND boyfriend all in the same year? Junior year was turning out to be one of the best years yet.

One Thursday at school, Talia and I decided to get a group of people together on Friday and have a movie night. Jake kindly offered to have the event at his house. The amount of excitement I had was unbearable. I could not believe we were having a movie night at HIS house. While getting ready with Talia, once again every time I voiced how excited I was she would either shut me down or ignore me completely. We pulled up to his humble abode and a wave of energy pulsed through me, I already knew my cheeks were a shade of cherry red. As we began the movie Jake sat right next to me, I could feel my heart racing. Thirty minutes into the movie, Talia out of nowhere sits on my lap slightly sitting on Jake as well, she begins to exclaim "guys feel how sweaty my palms are" and grabs his hand. They hold hands for a few seconds before he shrugs her off looking uncomfortable then looking directly at me. She nestles her way in between him and I then proceeds to watch the movie.

As we say our goodbyes, I thank Jake and his mom for having us and go outside to Talia's car. We are about to drive off when she stops the car, gets out, and says she will be right back. My cheeks get hot, this time not from excitement. Roughly 10 minutes go by and I see her come out with an accomplished pep to her step. I can feel my throat closing up, making my voice weak when I ask her what happened. She fixes her hair and pauses for a few seconds, then she goes on and on about how she might possibly like him. My heart sank until I let a quiet tear roll down my face. I felt so confused, had she not heard me the past month telling her about every class we had? All the things we had in common? How much I liked him? As we pulled up to my house she pulled me out of my own thoughts and said "Aren't you happy for me?" I paused for a few seconds and said "yes, I am".

The rest of the year was tough. Her and Jake started dating which made him act extremely different towards me. Since I had alienated myself from all other friends besides Talia I became extremely lonely when she hung out with Jake most of the time. Even basketball was tainted since she had joined the team. My grades dropped significantly and before I knew it, I felt completely alone. On top of everything we sold the house that felt most like home to my family. Although it wasn't much, it was still the house I had stayed at the longest since we moved a lot throughout my childhood. I still had a couple friends including some of the girls from my original friend group, but I couldn't help but feel so out of it.

Remember the definition of poison? This was one of the first big lessons I learned when it comes to toxic friends, people, relationships, etc. Although it seemed at that moment my life would be shitty forever, I would not change a single thing from this experience. This happened back in 2014 and although I would love to say I have not had a toxic relationship since then, I cannot. This is the first chapter out of many that I want to share!

Cai Franco
Cai Franco
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Cai Franco

Instagram: @caifrann


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