*author’s note: My best friend and I got into a fight this weekend when I visited him at school, and I wrote this letter. Details are changed to preserve anonymity, but I have not sent this and doubt I will.
Thank you for shipping me back my shoes. I received them without issue.
I wrote this six nights ago, after flying back home and taking some time to re-evaluate my life choices. If you’re getting this, I’ve had six days to think about its contents and still decided to send it. Last weekend, I realized many things about you, myself, and our friendship.
It’s no secret to us that one of my biggest problems is that I always put other people first, and try to be considerate of all those around me. I was raised in an environment where others always came first, by a mother who never knew when to say no and always, always, put herself last. She instilled those values in me, and in a way I was spoiled to expect that others will act similarly. Waking up at a reasonable hour to see your guest off is simply common courtesy, and despite the fact that your roommate (who by now received the gift basket I sent him) felt like my real host while I was here, I was still your guest for the weekend. And despite allowing me to stay after Friday night, you did not make me feel welcome from that point on. I have a rule both at home and at school: “Your guest, your responsibility.” This means that yes, you are responsible for anything your guests do. But it also means you are responsible for ensuring that your guest has an enjoyable stay. I know I go above and beyond to ensure this happens when I have a guest, and I only ask you for the basics: A pillow and bed for sleeping, a towel for washing (I brought my own toiletries), and ensuring your guest is entertained and enjoying their stay to a reasonable extent, even if you have to step away. I partially fault myself for not finding another place to stay Saturday night, but if you did not want to host me, you should have simply kicked me out. I would have minded that less.
The way you treated me on Saturday made me realize that in the way we rank our own needs, we are very different. While I try to put the needs and wants of others first, you generally ensure that your own needs and wants are met before thinking about anyone else’s. This can be a good thing – the ideal is a balance between the two that neither of us achieves. But when you have a guest, their needs and desires come before yours. “I’d suggest that you don’t wake me up; I will be none too happy to see you, and we wouldn’t want to open old wounds,” may have been brutally honest, but was also selfish and unfriendly. That is no way to treat someone who you invited for the weekend, even if all you want is to show that person the door. This is not me applying my high standards – common courtesy dictates that unless your guest is leaving at an unreasonable time (Any time after 9 AM cannot be considered unreasonable, even on a weekend), you see them off.
Let’s talk about Friday night. I am deeply sorry for my behavior that night, and will readily admit that it was me at my absolute worst. I understand that it was your first time being responsible for someone who clearly had too much to drink, and that it was the last thing you expected. It’s unfair of me to expect that you would react the same way I did when confronted with a friend in a similar situation, and although it doesn’t excuse it, it explains your behavior to me for the rest of the weekend. What got to me the most though is that I truly thought we were best friends. That through our best and worst moments, we would stick with each other. And when my worst moment came, you looked out for yourself first by showing me the cold shoulder for the remainder of my visit.
I’ll say it again – you should’ve just asked me to leave. I should’ve just left.
What it did make me realize, more than 21 years of knowing my own mother did, is that at some point I’ll drive myself crazy if I don’t put myself first. Right now, I have some serious problems with my own life I have to solve. Finding an internship and getting a handle on my drinking are chief among them. And right now, I need to surround myself with the people who sometimes put my needs before theirs and who stick by me, celebrating my best and being there for me at my worst. I hope you’re among those people. Really, I do. If you aren’t, thank you for returning my shoes when I realized I left them with you. If you are, know that I’ll always find time for you when you need me, and stick by you through it all.