Below is a rant/story about two different experiences but with the same message. Names are changed.
When I was a freshman, I had an experience with a girl named Orange. Considering how all of us were new to the college scene, we all wanted to make friends and to just talk to people, so I decided to say hi. She said hi back. We began talking, and I realized that this girl was kinda cute, so I decided to do what every sound-minded guy would do: start making moves.
She seemed alright at the start, we liked the same food, most of the same music, had a similar sense of humor. However, things became weird quick. She was awkward around me when in groups, but seemed like her true self when it was just us two. At first I wrote it off as just not being a group talker, which is totally fine. But when it was just us two talking her true self was later revealed to me as a way for her to bring us both down. If that sentence doesnt make any sense, what she did was essentially talk about depressing **** and made it sound like I was only talking to her because we were both like that. Not exactly the healthiest friendship.
The semester went on and we sporadically hung out, occasionally getting food and just talking. Everything changed after the fall semester. The single event that led to my crash and burn the following semester happened on the last day of finals when she asked me to come with her to the park. Of course my rose tinted brain said yes, and I went with her. The difference between this time and all the past hangouts was that it seemed like she was making an attempt to really connect with me, made me feel appreciated and enjoyed my company. She had this tone of voice that she talked with just to me that made me feel nice inside. After that day was over, I went home and just thought to myself that I was finally going to be able to love after so much time. How short lived that was.
We both left to go back home for winter break, and nothing really happened during that month period. Some context is that Orange did not like texting unless it was for asking a question(such as asking to hang out/grab food). So for the entire winter break I was down in the dumps because I knew this girl would not text me over break because I wasn't close by. We get back to school the following semester and we immediately resume normal activities, grabbing food and just hanging out.
The next blunder happened during spring break, when her and our friend decided to take a trip together for three days. Little did we know that that trip would forever fracture the group. The trip was a mess, different ideas on where to go, different opinions on daily plans, and I am pretty sure we all left that trip somewhat hating each other. Ive since made up with most of them but what hurt me most is how Orange dealt with it when we came back from the trip. Orange ghosted me for about a month straight, no contact no nothing. It had to have been the worst month of my life as I thought that I lost the one person I could really talk to.
The final nail in the coffin was when she finally started talking to me again, about a month before the semester ended. You know how she made up for it? SHE asked ME to hang out, usually it was the other way around. I, of course, with rose colored glasses said yes. The worst part about wearing rose colored glasses is that all red flags looks just like flags, and my dumbass did realize it until it was too late. This happened for the rest of the semester. The final nail came on the last day of finals when we decided to go to the beach. It wasnt the act of going to the beach that I ended things with her but of how she dealt with me afterwards. The following day when she moved out to go back home, I didn't even get a goodbye, I had just found out from another friend that she already moved out when I was waiting for her to respond to my message. The first crack in the glasses appeared then.
I was stuck in college over the summer as I was behind curriculum-wise and had to take summer classes, a fact I originally detested but later came to appreciate. After Orange left for home for summer, she didn't contact me for about 3 months straight, when summer classes were essentially over. At that point, glasses were fully fractured and for the first time I could actually see the world and who she really was: someone who uses other people just to feel like she can be center stage. I told myself no longer, no longer will I use a scale of the good times vs the bad times, because once you start weighing the good and the bad, what happens when you realize you can talk for a long time about the bad? I believe that when you start thinking about the scale, things are already bad enough to warrant an exit.
This story is told secondhand, all names are changed. This story takes place during first semester of sophomore year.
One of my good friends Nilsa had just moved out to another dorm which was closer to campus. Coming back she was excited to be closer to campus and to be closer to all her friends from last semester. There are three characters crucial to her story, Orange (yes the one from above), Ed, and Andy, who were suitemates. Some context is that Orange not only ghosted me, but all of us in this story. I stopped caring as we came into the semester, but those three called her out on it. This resulted in a very late night discussion about how shitty of a person Orange is and how real friends don't do that to each other. The worst part was the Orange came back expecting things to have stayed the same from last semester, as if we didn't grow wise to the games that she was playing.
This late night discussion lead to her being sorta alienated from that group of three, leaving just Nilsa, Ed, and Andy together. At first, they were good, smoking, eating and laughing together. However, things changed very quickly within the month. Living close to your friends has its ups and downs. Pros: You live down the hall from your friends. Cons: You live down the hall from your friends which means more contact and more chances for situations to change. All this culminated when Nisla became sick and had to go to the hospital for some time. Before she left, she was told by Andy that "they should take a break from being friends for some time". Really good friend, amiright? When she came back, things were awkward with Andy at best and shaky at worst. In a total twist of events, Nilsa began talking to Orange again. Trust me, the story only gets weirder from here. They start talking again, mainly about how shitty Andy is. According to Nilsa, Orange has realized her faults and is trying to become a better person, whatever that means. All while this is going on, Nilsa and Ed are still friends and talking, smoking and whatnot. The real message of the story comes from Ed.
While Orange and Andy are trying to become better people, Ed is the exact opposite of that. He is a 12 year old trapped in the body of a 19 y/o. Here is a laundry list of things he has done/probably will do:
Cheated/attempted to cheat on his girlfriend
Does not study for exams and complains (is also about to fail out of school)
A straight up moocher, does not pay people back and expect free stuff from friends
A literal bum
Nilsa thought that Ed was a good friend of hers, but as a recent Ed has been more of an ******* to her and just everyone around him in general. He does not see his friends buying food as a nicety, but as a requirement. He does not buy his own weed but when his friends go out to smoke he expects to be given some. Nilsa became done with Ed when Ed and Andy went out to smoke without her, completely ignoring her questions as to where they were, responding with "IDK". On top of that Nilsa had just bought food for them that was currently locked in their room, while those two were off on Cloud 9.
When she was telling me this story she brought up the divide between the good and bad experiences she has had with Ed. She used to think that they were good friends, but now shes realized that Ed hasn't changed, and probably will never change until he faces real consequences in his life. She told me that "I've just been weighing the good and bad experiences, and I don't know when the balance will tip". I simply reminded her of what she told me when I was still into Orange. "A good relationship shouldn't consist of weighing the good and the bad, if you're even contemplating the bad then something is already wrong with the relationship"
To deviate a little bit, in economics there is a term called sunk cost fallacy. This idea essentially correlates with the thinking "If I spent this must time/money/effort into something, I am eventually going to get something out of it". It is a very easy pitfall to fall for, something that gamblers and lovers usually deal with. The sunk cost fallacy that befell myself and Nilsa is one of friendship. At what point do you just let go of the anchor and finally let yourself swim?