The Girlfriend Site Logo
Oh no!
It looks like you aren't logged in to The Girlfriend community. Log in or create a free online account today to get the best user experience, participate in giveaways, save your favorite articles, follow our authors and more.
Don't have an account? Click Here To Register

When Your Friends Are Friends Without You

They no longer need me to be there with them.

Comment Icon
illustration of 3 friends riding bikes together
Allegra Lockstadt
Comment Icon

I’m treading water during our swimming time in P.E. I’m feeling all the insecurities a preteen girl in a baggy black one-piece swimsuit feels when in a pool with boys. Desperate, I turn to the girl beside me and say, “Were you in Capitola last summer?” She responds that she was there, and her name is Lauren. I’d seen her in a gift shop but was too shy to say anything. But now, as anxiety threatens to consume me, I need an ally fast, and I sense it’s Lauren.

From that moment in eighth grade until now, 30-something years later, Lauren has been my closest friend. She’s witnessed my life — and I, hers. Our friendship stayed strong when I moved from Northern California to Los Angeles. We’ve celebrated happy events like the birth of her daughter and shared tragic ones such as my father’s death from a heart attack. Her activism, caring and empathy make the world a better place. I’m grateful fate placed this incredible woman next to me that day in the pool and that she’s remained by my side ever since.

Jenny is a newer friend I met when we were members of an improv/comedy theater group in Los Angeles over 20 years ago. We instantly hit it off; maybe it’s because we’re both Libras and share a love for animals. She’s funny and intelligent, and she’s the person who adopts senior pets, giving them the love and care they’d been denied. Jenny is always there for her friends, whether they have two legs or four.

When Jenny moved to the Bay Area for a great new job over a year ago, I asked Lauren to contact her. Lauren had met Jenny before, when Jenny hosted a birthday party for me, but they didn’t know each other well.

I was visiting Lauren when she invited Jenny to her house for lunch, and the three of us had a wonderful time laughing and swapping stories. I reveled in my success as a friendship matchmaker. Of course, they like each other. I have excellent taste in friends, and they do too.

After that, the two of them started hanging out on their own. I hear how Jenny brought her famous beer bread to one of Lauren’s political postcard-writing gatherings and how they have a date to go antiquing.

They no longer need me to be there with them — they can be friends without me.

I’m embarrassed to admit that instead of feeling gratified that my two favorite women were — and are — bonding, I feel jealous, as if I’m missing out on all the fun. I’m back in the fourth grade when my two best friends decided to be best friends with each other and kicked me out of the friend group.

I get it; a new friendship can be as exciting as a romance, and lucky me, I get to hear all about this fabulous new friendship via phone calls, texts and emails — the things that keep my long-distance friendships going.

Neither Jenny nor Lauren is into social media, so I’m spared seeing the visuals of their spectacular friendship. My imagination fills in the blanks, and I picture them doing all the cliché friend things, such as getting matching tattoos or riding a tandem bike through Golden Gate Park.

My jealousy and hurt weigh heavily on me, and while normally I can talk about anything with Lauren or Jenny, I don’t want to look like a jerk or make either one of them feel bad for being friends. I talk to Lauren as if this friendship transfer is a humorous story, not something that’s turning me into a possessive monster. She thanks me for introducing her to Jenny, and I pretend to be 100 percent happy about the outcome.

Then one day, when I’m out with a friend having afternoon tea — something I enjoy with both Jenny and Lauren — it hits me; just because I’m spending time with one friend doesn’t take away from my friendship with another. We get different things from different friends. Walking around a nature preserve holds little appeal to me, but Jenny and Lauren enjoy it, so why should they miss out?

My relationship with each woman is strong and isn’t threatened by them becoming friends. Their relationship is another tie that keeps us all connected. Whether I’m with them or not, their friendship doesn’t invalidate the relationships I have with each of them. They may be friends without me physically there, but I’m still their good friend and always will be.

Have you ever had friends become good friends and get together without you? How did you feel? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Relationships