Ghost of Seattle Past

You know those moments where you run into someone from your past you had a bad breakup with? It doesn’t even have to be a romantic breakup, it could be a platonic one. Either way, the feeling isn’t usually good.

I’m not sure why I blunder into these situations feeling so optimistic. It never seems to enter my mind that there’s a possibility that we’ll be standing in the same room and the other person will just continue to hate me. Outwardly. And it is never really angrily, just shyly. Shy hate. Shate.

Apparently it had been too long since this happened to me because I felt good walking into this situation last night. I was excited to see this ghost from my past, we used to be like two peas in a pod. So how weird is it to be somewhere, still somehow saying the same things at the same time, being two peas, when one pea hates the other?

The second pea is actively attempting to cut its own pod off just to get away from the pea that is me.

In this situation my brain switches over to competitive mode, and I always believe that I might have a chance of winning this friend back. Unfortunately, any additional laughter, reminiscing, and charm only makes the person run away from me faster, further, and more tight-lipped.

And I’m left with that feeling of rejection all over again.


It’s been a few years since I’ve been straight-up friend dumped, but when the flood of feelings and memories returned last night from the last time it happened I was a mess.

It isn’t often that I slip away from myself on the bus, letting my eyes glaze over without caring where we’re driving. I almost missed my stop, and that spiraling negativity in my brain resonated above any amount of chatter in my ears.

I don’t know the last time I fell that far that fast, and I spent all night pretty violently ill. The nausea was so bad I couldn’t sleep.


Thankfully this morning I am feeling a lot better, and I’m able to recognize that this is a pattern for me. It is easy for me not to be friends with ex-boyfriends, but what about wanting to be friends with ex-friends? I should really have a policy on that, a straight up no frexes rule (no being friends with exes).

It was really hard for me to draw the line in the sand with not being friends with people I’ve dated. Being friends is something that seems like a great idea in theory, but I’ve seen myself getting hurt by those friendships over and over and over again.

I guess that just means I need to do the same thing with friends who have dumped me. It is just hard when these are people I had so many fun times with, but clearly the aftermath isn’t good for me -even years after the original dumping.

Well, I have a ton of great friends now, and until last night I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything anyway.

Friends, you are awesome.

3 responses to “Ghost of Seattle Past

  1. I’ve always hated “falling-outs”. But, I recognize the importance of the dynamics. It’s taken me awhile to get here.

    I had two, very best friends as a teen. With one of them, we had a falling out that was absolutely my fault. It was over a guy. And she hated me, despite all of the wonderful history that we had. She still hates me to this day, over ten years later. This is completely after the fact. We’ve both been married to someone else for a long time now. We live in the same town, and sometimes we cross paths. She will literally cross the street and avoid making eye contact with me.

    For a long time, I tried to win her affections back when we were caught in the same social situation. That happens a lot when two people attend the same high school. I’d be hurt that I was so horribly rejected, and I’d sit in the corner while she had great fun with all of her new, cool friends. How could we have been so close, like sisters, and then we’re totally estranged.

    She moved away and then moved back when we were adults. She did try to reconcile with me once. I just didn’t want to. By then, the past was the past. We were two, entirely different people, in two entirely different places in our lives. Everything had been a competition from the day we met. And, I wasn’t about to make a frienemy. I was nice about it, but I’m sure it was the final wound for her.

    What’s worse are people that I didn’t have a definitive falling out with. My other high school best friend, well, that’s complicated. She always wanted to have a friendship on her terms. Truthfully, I see it now for what it was. She was always jealous of me for a lot of different reasons, so she’d pick at my mistakes under the banner of friendship. Then, when she finally started dating, she wanted everyone in her life to take a backseat, and not utter a peep.

    Here’s the straw that finally broke that one. There was a guy that everyone used to have the biggest crush on. But, he never really dated. And when he did, it wasn’t in our circle of friends. She secretly considered him a back pocket dating option, and mostly isolated herself from him.

    I married that man.

    And I knew she was perturbed by that. I announced our engagement when we rented the hall, and all she had to say was, “It’s hard to take your engagement seriously. You’ve been engaged, what? Three times now?” And she did everything she could think of to drive a spike between us. All out of jealousy.

    We had a son together three years ago. And I haven’t seen her in person since. Despite the fact that her mother lives up the hill.

    • That is a pretty crazy story, and is certainly a testament to why I’ve tried to avoid the whole home-town drama thing. There are one or two people that I’ve stayed in contact with, but otherwise there is just too much history and drama for me to get involved.

      The problem I usually face is more centered around my desire to befriend men as opposed to women. I tend to get along with them better, but then out of nowhere their feelings get hurt because I am not suddenly willing to sleep with them.

      I know better than to try to seduce a gay man, that would be ridiculous. So why is the concept of friendship with the opposite sex so hard for straight men to handle if I’m either in a relationship or express to them that I am not interested in men?

      I’ve given up on male friends (except for friends of my boyfriend) anyway. The group of girls I’m friends with now are nice and low-key with minimal drama. I guess it just took a while for me to find my niche.

      • Those events, combined with others, have been enough to convince me just to stay friends with men. I have hardly ever had that problem with men. They just don’t see me that way. And I’m glad, because I intentionally chose them because I don’t either. That’s one of the reasons that it shocked me when my husband expressed interest in me. Me? Seriously? I’m not manly or anything, but guys seem to think of me as, well, one of the guys!

        Guys are great. I don’t have to listen to them all day go on and on about their new girlfriend or lament about an old one. They have always defended me and protected me. I am absolutely comfortable with their boring hobbies, disgusting habits, and off-beat sense of humor. And best of all, I can have an opinionated, heated conversation with men, and we can walk away still friends. It’s fantastic!

        Yes, there are some downsides. I know for a fact that one of my male friends holds a torch for me. Thankfully, he doesn’t make it painfully obvious. My husband can get a little jealous sometimes. And it leaves me with absolutely no one to go shopping with! Have you ever tried going shopping with a guy? The only guy that’s remotely fun to go shopping with is my husband. It depends on what we’re shopping for, how much money we have, and his mood.

        My hometown isn’t small. The school district itself contains about 1200 students, meaning about 300 per grad class. And that’s just the district! I live in the suburbs of Pittsburgh in Allegheny county. 1.3M people live here. So, unless someone has deep roots in my particular town, it’s unlikely that I’d run into them all too often.

        Hilariously enough, the passenger in the other car when my husband had his accident was a guy in my grad class. He was one of those sports guys, and I was a band geek. I only remember him, because I let him cheat off of me for an entire year in Bio.

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