This is a user submission to IRL. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent the opinions of IRL or its affiliates.
I never really fit in anywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t bullied or isolated from social circles.
There just wasn’t anyone in particular that I could really call a friend.
As a teenager, it was only natural that I craved for a friend to carry out all of my ‘friendship fantasies’ with.
In my head, I had pictured friendships revolving around sharing gossip, confiding secrets and exchanging advice.
I wanted the kind of friendship that you post on Instagram stories to document adventures.
I wanted that friendship where you hung out holidays and text every other day.
And I found that friendship.
We were schoolmates, so we already knew one another.
It just took a little nudge to get the acquaintanceship evolving into a friendship.
We connected on a common ground; Disney cartoons.
In an environment of k-pop fans on the right and k-drama fans on the left, it was very refreshing to find someone not interested in all things Korean.
We clicked immediately.
The first few weeks were amazing.
It felt like meeting someone and immediately assuming that they are your soulmate, except as friends.
We would always be on the same page, and even when we weren’t, we could talk it out to an agreement.
We always found time to spend with one another, whether it be during school or after.
We shared anything ranging from unpopular memes to lame jokes.
I thought she was kind, understanding and everything else the perfect best friend could ever be.
We promised that we would stay best friends even as we grew old and tell our kids embarrassing stories about one another.
It felt like the universe had awarded me the perfect best friend for waiting patiently all those years.
Or so I thought.
Everything started going downhill.
After about a month, we had somehow managed to tap into each other’s darker side.
We shared some of our deepest secrets with one another, and oftentimes poured our hearts out in midnight conversations.
I thought it was completely normal since I thought that was just best friends revealing their ‘true selves’ to each other and whatnot.
One day, sometime near SPM examinations, a teacher of ours approached me.
She was concerned about my best friend as her grades had been slipping terribly and she was worried that she would fail SPM.
She thought I could help her out since we were close.
I gave my all to help her out.
I knew she would have done it for me too.
I constantly persuaded her to let out her feelings, fearing she might slip under depression.
I shirked off my duties in school more than once to help her cope with the pressure of SPM.
I slacked on my own studies to help her.
I argued with my family to spend more time with her, just so I could fulfil my best friend duties.
I got told off by teachers, reprimanded by my family members and suffered from some of the worst grades I had ever gotten.
Worst yet, I felt like I was starting to be influenced by the constant brooding that followed my best friend.
Just as positivity is contagious, so is negativity.
It didn’t stop even when it should have.
I thought that all of the problems my best friend faced were because of SPM examinations.
So you can guess how relieved I was when it was over.
I thought that it would finally be the time to focus on myself as it was my turn to sit for the SPM examinations the following year.
But as the days went by, it was getting clearer to me that she kept imposing her problems onto me more and more.
Slowly, I started getting frustrated as I constantly had to put my work aside and listen as she continued to pour out her dilemmas.
Some were petty and childish while others were just too heavy for a 17-year-old to handle.
Perhaps what irked me the most was that when she asked for advice, my opinions were discarded and she would go back to lamenting about the same problems.
Depression was creeping up on me.
I was immensely stressed out.
As if having to juggle between extra-curricular activities, good grades and duties at school wasn’t difficult enough, I had become a personal therapist to my best friend.
My family disapproved of our friendship because they thought of her as a bad influence, and honestly she was.
I lost a lot of weight, kept secrets from my family and my short temper became even shorter.
I isolated myself and shut out everyone who cared about me.
Running on autopilot, I just went about my days like a robot, completing one task and moving onto another.
That was until my mother knocked some sense into me.
Freedom from a friendship I was just not ready for.
Not wanting to see her daughter suffer any longer, my mother took it upon herself to make me see that the friendship I was clinging on to was toxic for me.
She made me realize that I wasn’t ready for a friendship that constantly required more than what I could give.
And she assured me that one day, I would find a best friend when I was ready.
I knew I had to break off this friendship before it destroyed both of us.
Of course, she was reluctant to let go, we both were.
After all, we thought we had found an eternal best friend.
So after months of trying to avoid her and multiple arguments, I broke off our friendship.
Now, we stay acquaintances and keep a healthy distance from one another’s personal life.
I guess I was so desperate for a friend that I just latched onto the first willing person and refused to let go even when it turned toxic.
A friendship, or any relationship for that matter forced will never last.
If you feel like you aren’t ready for a relationship, you should not continue with it.
It burdens not only you, but everyone around you as well.
For more stories like this, read: 4 Signs You’re in a Toxic Friendship (And Why You Need to Leave) and I Cut Off My Toxic Girl Friends & Here’s Why I Am Happier Now.