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Meet Rich. The story he’s going to tell today is about betrayal. If you ask people what what scares them, many of them might answer “being betrayed by a friend”. Well, there’s nothing a person can’t survive, including this very situation, but take Rich’s word for it – it’s still a really painful experience.
Don and Rich had been friends since they were toddlers. They were together all the time, and people said they couldn’t imagine them ever being separated. They spent all their days together, starting with the times when they used to play in their tree house. Then they started going to school, and naturally they were in the same class, and after school even did their homework together. At one point they were even in the same baseball team! They were so close that sometimes it felt like they were the same person.
This went on until they went to high school (obviously, together). At the beginning of the new school year, Rich suddenly noticed that not all the kids were equal anymore. Everyone was measured on a coolness scale. Unfortunately, Rich soon learned that he was in the middle of it – somewhere between cool and unapproachable. That was bad. He was neither super-handsome nor super-successful; just a regular guy with mediocre scores in studies and sports. On the other hand, Don turned out to be a school celebrity – a quarterback (he had given up baseball a couple of years before) with blonde hair and blue eyes (all the girls were madly in love with him) who could strum a guitar like a guitar hero.
Rich quickly became Don’s shadow. They were still best friends, but something changed. There was no balance like there used to be – Don was now incomparably higher than Rich in the school hierarchy. To his credit, he wasn’t an arrogant person at all by nature, but he did end up having his own circle of cool guys who didn’t accept Rich. He felt that Don was becoming more detached and distant, because he was trying to keep some balance between his old friend and them, and didn’t want to offend either side.
Then one day the situation boiled down to Don making a choice. Rich shared a birthday with a cheerleader girl from Don’s new celebrity club. Rich couldn’t imagine celebrating his birthday without Don, and it went without saying that he expected him to be there like a member of his family. But when he invited him, a look of shame suddenly spread across Don’s face, and he said: “Sorry bro, would you mind if I missed this one? Barbara is throwing a party and the whole school is invited – maybe we could meet there? Should be lots of fun!” Well, all the COOL people at school were invited, so Rich was naturally excluded.
You can’t imagine just how bitter Rich felt at that moment. Don had been like a brother to him, and it was a heavy blow. He felt lonely for the first time in his life, and didn’t like it at all. His parents told him to get over it. They said he’d be fine and just needed to get used to the new situation. Soon, Don was dedicating more time to his new friends than ever before, until the point came when they didn’t even exchange a single word for a whole week. It was the ultimate breakdown.
For the whole of that long period when Don and Rich had been like brothers, he actually didn’t have any other close friends he could stick to. So now he was one hundred percent alone. It went on for months – he studied alone, did sports alone, and even ate his lunch alone. Until one day a new boy came up to him and asked me if he could join Rich at his table for lunch. Well, what could he say? It was like a breath of fresh air in his monotonous and slightly depressing life. They got acquainted – his name was Dave and he had moved to their town only recently, so he didn’t have any friends. Rich didn’t actually notice the moment when they became friends – but after just a couple of months he realized that he felt that he wasn’t alone anymore. Dave turned out to be a great guy and the best thing was that Rich was not his shadow – they were equals, and he liked it a lot.
Rich would really like to end his story on a glorious note like, “One day, Don came up to me and said he was tired of his celeb friends, and I proudly rejected him.” Nope. He’s still out there basking in his popularity, and Rich is still just a regular guy living his life without any fanfare. They still haven’t spoken for ages. But Rich now understands that if you’ve been betrayed by a friend, sometimes it’s just better to get over it and let them go, because your friendship will never be the same. The chances are you can find others who value you more, even if breaking up with old friends is always painful.
We’re sure some of you have experienced a breakup with your best friend. Tell us your own story in the comments! Thanks for taking the time to hear about Rich’s story, and if you like it, like and share it with your friends!