The first time I truly felt things were amiss was while on a group vacation in Montreal. I’d invited Sam on the trip myself, to join me, my boyfriend Felix, my best friend Chloe and a mutual coworker Aaron to watch a music festival. She’d wholeheartedly agreed to come. Chloe had even been upset that I’d done that – invited a stranger she didn’t know – but I stuck up for Sam because I really liked her. I knew we’d have a blast.

The second afternoon of our trip, after I’d taken a shower, I stepped into the hotel room from the bathroom and felt an uneasiness in my stomach. I was quite taken aback by what I saw. Aaron was absent; I’d later learn he’d stepped out to take a walk. Chloe was sitting on the hotel chair watching a movie, mostly oblivious to the strange scene behind her.

Behind her, one bed, the one Chloe, Sam and I had agreed to share, was completely empty and perfectly made, as it had been by the maid that morning. On the second bed, Felix lay passed out on his back, with Sam curled up on her side facing him, also fast asleep beside him. It wasn’t a scandalous situation, per se. They were both laying above the covers, completely clothed, not touching at all. But still, it seemed strange to me that she’d “accidentally” fallen asleep beside him.

After that, it was like I became sensitized to their every interaction. I realized quite quickly that she went out of her way to be next to Felix in all the pictures we’d take. That every opinion he had, be it his choice in music, food, or even his favourite colour, she seemed to share. That she laughed harder at his jokes than everyone else. For a while, she always seemed to just be there.

None of this bugged me all that much. I can admit, I was a bit petty and extremely careful not to post any pictures of them alone together from that weekend, but in reality, I chalked it up to a harmless subconscious crush she had on him. I had no real reason to worry. Felix and I got along great, and he was a really good guy. And besides, Sam and I were close friends in our own right. I really liked her, and I liked hanging out with her. I’m not a jealous person, and they didn’t really give me any reason to be.

Fast forward to two years later. One day, I caught wind that Felix and Sam were officially dating. My own relationship with Felix had already fizzled out, and I had broken up with him almost a year prior, for reasons that had nothing to do with Sam. In fact, Felix’s opinion of Sam had taken a harsh turn in the last year of our relationship, and he expressed great disdain toward her and even refused to do group things with her. So I was a little surprised. That’s when my Montreal hotel room memory resurfaced, and I realized their relationship had actually been a long time coming.

Unfortunately, when they started dating, the three of us were all still employed in the same restaurant where we’d all met. I could feel people whispering about the situation at the server stations. I heard debates over whether Sam should have asked me if she could date Felix. They referenced some sort of “girl code” she’d apparently broken, by dating her friend’s ex.

I couldn’t disagree more. I’d broken up with Felix a year before. I didn’t want to be with him. The whole thing was ancient history. I wanted Sam to know that. That I didn’t harbour any ill will against her. I was happily in a new relationship. Felix and Sam’s relationship had nothing to do with me. I was happy for them.

At the very least, though, I did wish that either of them, who I thought I’d maintained an amicable coworker relationship with, could have given me a heads up about their relationship. Just so I wouldn’t have been so blind-sighted by the restaurant rumour mill they both knew would inevitably tear this gossip apart. But again, I firmly believed that neither of them owed me anything. And I was totally okay with it.

I was fine when another coworker informed me Felix had brought in a huge flower bouquet and balloon that read, “congrats” for the new job Sam had obtained. But I did realize that it really would have sucked if I’d been working that day. I tried not to wonder if the act was intentionally trying to rub my face in it. It wasn’t about me.

Then, a few days later, I noticed that Sam ignored me when she arrived at work one day. I said hello with a smile, and she simply didn’t respond. I figured she hadn’t heard me, or she was just busy with other things. Maybe she found the situation was a bit awkward. I was determined to fix that.

But day after day that we worked together, Sam remained cold. She no longer greeted me, nor did we have friendly conversations. She purposely avoided coming to my part of the restaurant. It was like the past three years of friendship we’d shared had been deleted. Like she didn’t remember the times we’d hung out, or the class we took together at university. It was like our friendship didn’t matter anymore because I was now simply her new boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.

And I get it. I understand that it was awkward. Even then, I understood that the days of our group travels, or going shopping together had officially come to an end. I understood that it was weird. But we couldn’t just deny that we had ever been friends!

That’s when I realized that maybe we had never been friends at all. Maybe all those experiences we’d shared together, she’d just seen me as an obstacle to the love of her life. And maybe I had been. Maybe she’d never considered me a friend at all. Maybe she’d only ever been Felix’s friend, and I had just been there. In the way. Maybe that whole time, she saw me as the one who’d weaselled my way into pictures with Felix.

That realization hurt more than any breakup I’ve ever been through.

2014

44 thoughts on “The “Girl Code”

    1. Thanks for the support.

      It was hard at the time, but I think I’ve learned a lot from it, which is really what inspired me to write this particular blog. There’s no hard feelings (and I hear that they’re still together, which is great for them!).

      Thanks for reading 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am going through something similar at the moment, though in very different situation and context. It’s unspoken but i can feel it coming and my heart is breaking.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. People are needy and they will come off unselfish only to have their needs met. Be glad that you are not that needy and you gave them something instead. Pls search youtube for friendship advice by madea. She is soooooo right.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s sad… But life leaves you with no choices sometimes…you are left in a spot where all the decisions you take sometimes backstab you…but round the clock things changes …time heals the wound..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think one of the things about a friendship ending like this is the pain of wondering why? I know how the mind can go round and round doing the wondering ! In the end, I fall back on Miquel Ruiz/ Second Agreement about not taking anything personally… I find it really helps…
    Go well…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. One of the main problems in relationships can be that men talk a different language from women. So when there are three people involved whether it is MMF or FFM (and I’m only talking about those two) then someone of the three is always getting the wrong information. That’s why all three people need to sit down and have coffee and see what’s going on.
    Anyway you just prompted me to re-post something I wrote about 25 years ago. https://wp.me/p8PuzR-18K

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s terrible losing a friend, especially realizing they were probably not a real friend in the first place. This happened to me once. A friend just cut me off without even explaining why. At least in your case, you can be comforted knowing you didn’t do anything wrong to ruin the friendship.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t know if you write confessionals or distance yourself from your art while using a first person perspective at the same time. But I think you’re a very talented writer. I especially liked the introspective ending. Yes, this isn’t a tough read but there’s so much said here and said wonderfully. – Nitin

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Trust me not to pick a current post of yours. To read first of course. Some girls have a no date your friends exes very seriously. Some don’t. Have you remained friends with your ex? Cheers,H

    Like

  8. I went through something similar to this recently.. losing someone that I talked to every day, relied on to keep me rational when irrational was my daily baseline… it’s weird to say goodbye without ever really saying it. … but it was goodbye

    Thank you for the read.. loved it

    Liked by 1 person

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