Yes, I genuinely think this only applies to females. I am a feminist, and yes I want us all to be equal, but there are certain things that I do think are female specific that are not to do with anatomy. In my experience, when male friends stop hanging out, or stop wanting to be friends, they kind of just get over it. There hasn’t been much bitterness, slagging off that person to high heaven or desire to spread crap around about that person. In my experience as someone who has witnessed and been part of friendship breakdowns (I’m not proud of that), it has been horrendous when it is between girls. One word – bitchy.
I won’t name names, but I was told that one of my bff’s was in the same location as an ex-bff of late. Firstly, I shouldn’t have cared, secondly, the person who informed me should not have bothered sparking my interest, and thirdly – what the hell is wrong with me. I immediately – and I mean immediately – went on Instagram to find the evidence. I knew I should have known I would be blocked (our friendship ended with her using the sarcastic sentence “yeah, that’s right Frieda, or maybe I just don’t like you anymore” – by text, which I actually super respect in terms of being way upfront), and being back on twitter, found her – again, almost immediately – and then IMMEDIATELY favourited a tweet. WHAT. THE. HELL. What had I become. I recoiled from my little iPhone screen as I fumbled my way into settings so I could block her knowing full well the notification would already be on her phone, circulating between the gaggle of girls who hate me (like a lot of girls, I’m sure) for No Good Reason. (NOTE – That is when someone dislikes you for something really weak. For example “she didn’t invite me to a gig I was going along to anyway one time, so I hate her” or saying “she is too much drama, I hate her” when she has just been through a super emotional breakdown and she just thought you were friends.) I sat for a moment feeling sick, and then remembered that I’m 28. I thought about how completely insane it was that I felt the uncontrollable need to see and verify what I had already been told by a very worthy source. Then I realised what was more stupid than favouriting her tweet, was that ultimately, I shouldn’t have been snooping on her in any way at all (and after admitting my drama to the whistleblower, was actually told it wasn’t on their Instagram or twitter at all). I am a fool.
It’s not really important what happened when me and her stopped speaking. We were probably both being a bit arsey, but whatever, I’m actually at total peace with what happened because I’ve processed it all, and then put it down to “thank goodness”. I’m also at peace with writing this when people will know who I am talking about, so it’s kind of all ‘peaceful’ – apart from the embarrassing bit of me acting like a crazed social media lunatic. Years ago, when we stopped speaking – and I have written about this somewhere before which makes my actions tonight even more shameful – I looked up this girl online a lot. I was equally into the fact she ended our friendship so definitively, and super sad that I didn’t have a gal-pal to hang around with (something which is V.important). But then I moved to London and began a crazed love affair which took up all my time, energy and mental ability, and she faded into nothing. She cropped up a few of times, and each time was when other people felt the need to tell me things about her, and it never ever made me feel good looking her up. It was always sad, or disappointing, and I always felt the need to compare her actions to mine – a similar placement of tattoos, an exact same piercing, same clothes, same, same, same. But then, we were good friends who were into a lot of the same things. It never really surprised me to hear that we were still into the same things – i.e. the same things as each other. It was just annoying, and I would feel the need to verbally vent about it. I’d ave a little huff and a moan about how someone I was friends with – because they were into the same things as me – were still into the same things as me.
And no, this is NOT the first time I have done this. To the same girl. A few years ago my friend Sophie was at my house, and I was talking about this girl in a very positive context – to illustrate the importance of friendships between girls (to her credit, I don’t feel like I ever liked myself to my full extent until I hung out with this girl. She made me feel amazing about myself when we were friends). I looked her up to show Sophie that she was hot, and blah blah blah “we were so alike!” – and ended up liking her photo or something. I learned nothing – it makes this EXACT SAME ERROR a million years later even more stupid. I originally stopped the stalking because if I put myself in her shoes, I would be super pissed to think someone I hate was looking me up.
I don’t hate her. I don’t like her either, but that doesn’t give me the right to look her up and think I have any right, or insider knowledge to conclude what she is thinking, or to know if there are reasons behind what she is doing. If I knew her then, it doesn’t mean I know her now, and the evidence of the changes I have made in myself as testament to that. I never thought about her in any negative context for a long time, and then a mutual friend reintroduced me to her social media world recently and I found it fascinating – how could I forget her? The piercing had appeared in that time, and I actually felt sick when I saw it. I couldn’t explain why. After saying goodbye, I called another friend to talk about how sick and weird I felt seeing her face, and they laughed at me. ‘They’ is a boy, and he didn’t understand. He said i was an idiot, and that if there was any hint of ‘me’ in her getting the piercing, that I should laugh it off. Because it is a bloody piercing, and I am 28 years old. I have a life. If this was twenty years ago, I’d only have those Sophie-chat memories of her being hot, and I wouldn’t be able to look her up to illustrate that. The memories of our friendship would fade in a nicer way, and then ultimately forever. Nowadays, you have to be wary of what you are going to see online, as well as what others will see online and then tell you about. there is so much online. It’s horrible, and it makes me feel sick more often than I’d like to admit.
A few months ago, I told a friend who had recently been dumped, that he needed to stop looking up his ex online. “Respect her decision to end things” I told him. Yet I felt like it was my right to know the circumstances under which my friend hung out with her. But how very dare I, not my friend. They have the right to be around whoever they like, and I constantly ignore the fact people I dislike hang around people I love. That’s life. And this is why I hate social media. No, I take that back – I love Instagram. I have almost 2.5k photos on there – that is not an exaggeration – and I spend more time looking at my own feed remembering good times I’ve had than anyone else does on my feed, or I do on anyone else’s feed (again, shout out to this ex-bff for that self confidence too, I mean, we seriously complimented each other ALL the time during our friendship). But other than Instagram, I feel uncomfortable with the idea of looking people up, and people looking me up. I flit between having Facebook and not (currently not, though I’m sure on my next trip abroad I’ll reactivate it so that I can post photos of me looking happy and free for two weeks before deactivating again), I only recently started up twitter again (because I am moonlighting as a social media executive for another online cultural magazine), an only recently made my Instagram public. It is too easy to get sucked into this obsessive “I MUST KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYONE I LOVE AND EVERYONE I HATE”. I don’t want people to tell me about her like I’d care, because I only care when I am alerted to the fact that I have to care. I don’t have to care, because I don’t care. I detest the fact I know my ex-boyfriend looks me up online, so if she got the notification and felt pissed off, I know how she feels. And that is why I am kicking myself right now.
The worst is that she knows I was sucked in. Oh the shame of it. To be caught. To stop being best friends with someone is hard. It’s hard to let someone go, it’s hard not to get super bitter and play horrible cards and take digs when you can. I do this, and it’s bad. I’m not superior (clearly) but I mainly also don’t want to be a bad person. If Frozen taught me anything, it’s that I need to let it go. It’s just like my friend on the phone said – I am letting myself read into things and get hurt and upset when the intention will only be there if I play into it. If I look it up, if I let myself remember stuff, or if I make comparisons. And that isn’t what life is about – it’s about moving forward, learning about yourself and making yourself better. It is incredibly embarrassing, but I try and think about myself as a tree. To constantly grow, to constantly be absorbing the world around me, breathing and taking my time. None of ‘being a tree ‘involves being a bitchy, self-righteous dickhead. I don’t know why I stopped doing it, but when I would be at home in London, whenever I felt like looking up someone from my past, I would stretch out and do a yoga pose – the tree. It works. Try it. I’d do some breathing and think about places I wan to visit and people I like, and i’d get over it.
People have been falling out for years, and getting super pissed off and upset. My Mam has stories about women from her past, but they just never seem as vicious or toxic as my tales (about myself or others), because it was easy to put a line under it. There had been no way to bring up that ghost from the past, they don’t appear in her social media feed, and even if they did (and she had any sort of feed where they could do that), she has had the space and time to let go of any animosity and bad blood between them. We don’t have that luxury these days (unless we cut ourselves off from the internet – and no, I’m not going to, or willing to do that) and so in the name of self-preservation have to be super savvy about what we are willing to absorb. I’ve spent a year in Scotland in a much smaller place than I had been in London, and I feel like I forgot the importance of excluding negative people, negativity and bad feeling from my life and myself, but hopefully this blunder has been a good reminder of doing that. Get a grip, Frieda.
Girl, if you are reading this, I totally liked your tweet and unliked it. I’m sorry – I shouldn’t be snooping on you, and I’m embarrassed, but hope you found it as hilariously embarrassing as I did; that an ex friend would look you up for a super lame reason. Maybe that qualifies as internet fame? I’m sure you are also feeling sorry for me for being that lame too, and that is fine. We won’t ever be pals again, but thanks for 2010/11.