This week the Cut explores the messy, loving, spiteful, supportive, competitive, joyful, and funny sides of friendship.
Ava and Lindsay were close childhood friends who embraced their differences. But, as they grew older, they became torn apart by weddings, bridal showers — and all of the social expectations surrounding them. Read on, for both sides of their friend breakup.
Ava: Lindsay and I grew up together. We were neighbors, even though her house was much bigger, tidier, and more “normal” than mine.
Lindsay: Ava’s family was artsy and fun, definitely a little crazy, but in a good way. My mother was into presentation and image, and Ava’s family just didn’t give a shit about that kind of stuff.
Ava: We were best friends from age 10 until 23 or so. I was always a little more adventurous and eccentric, but generally we were good girls from good families. We went to colleges near each other and would visit all the time. We’d drink and go to parties and hook up, the typical stuff.
Lindsay: In college, Ava got a little weird. She definitely had problems. She had eating disorders … she cheated on boyfriends ... she cheated on all her tests, too! I was more of a prude, but I never judged her and she never judged me. My friends, on the other hand, thought she was a real wild card. You either love her or hate her.
Ava: She met Martin right after college. I really liked him! She never had much luck with guys and this one adored her, and he was cute, nice, and funny.
Lindsay: Martin thought Ava was bonkers. He liked her in small doses. It was important that he liked my friends. He had clarity on Ava that I didn’t. Like, he pointed out that she could be selfish and kind of "classless" at times … just, the things that would come out of her mouth. I didn’t want to go to war over Ava, so I just let his words sink in. I loved him and valued his opinion. Maybe I was too young and insecure to understand the whole girls “having each other's back thing.” I still think he had a point, and I don’t regret listening.
Ava: They moved to another city, a few hours away, for his work, and then they got engaged. I was working three jobs in New York, and it was impossible to make it to the wedding shower. But honestly, I hate those super-organized, ladies-who-lunch, Tupperware-party type things. So lame, impersonal ... fake conversation, cheesy games ... yuck. I assumed Lindsay knew I’d never be into a wedding shower ... anyone who knows me knows that’s way out of my comfort zone.
Lindsay: Not only didn’t she offer to help with the shower, she never showed up for it, nor did she send a gift. Before Martin, I might have blown that off as typical Ava antics ... blasé and sort of totally wrong but “with a good heart.” But Martin has such a high standard for the people we have in our life. So now that I was learning to see the world through our shared outlook, I was angered by her inconsiderate actions.
Ava: Honestly, it never occurred to me that any of this would be a big deal? We were kids. I was broke and clueless. I’d never, ever, EVER care if someone forgot to send me a Kate fucking Spade dish towel.
Lindsay: Then I asked her to be in my wedding party. I mean, she had been my best friend for well over a decade. My mom, always an Ava fan, told me it would be cruel if I didn’t.
Ava: I politely declined. I thought I was doing her a favor. I was juggling so many jobs and knew I couldn’t handle too much more responsibility ... and again, I’m not good with the traditional stuff. It’s boring, stressful, and, in the end, pretty much meaningless. I’m a good friend and I know that in my heart, but I don’t need penis whistles or Vera Wang gowns to prove it. Frankly, I don’t know why she even wanted me so involved with this stuff? I’m not that friend.
Lindsay: She was a disaster at the wedding. Not drunk and, like, doing strip teases like Martin predicted, but detached and unfriendly. Then, she told someone a secret about my family that no one else knew. By the end of the night, everyone was gossiping about this one dark thing, and my mom was crying because of it.
Ava: I showed up and tried my best, despite the fact that by now Martin had this habit of making fun of me in front of his friends (nice guys I could have been into!). As far as “the secret” — which I’m too afraid to mention in any detail — it was the elephant in the room and everyone was gossiping about it all night long. Sure, I participated, and I’m sorry for that, but I 100 percent didn’t instigate anything.
Lindsay: I distanced myself from her after that. Two years later, my son was born. I invited her to the bris, which of course she didn’t show up for, and besides a Facebook “like” I don’t think I heard anything else from her.
Ava: By then, I was just sick of being judged and mocked by her and Martin. I felt like they painted this picture of me as some fucked-up woman, when in reality, I just wasn’t into all the bells and whistles, and all the big events made me feel anxious and out of place. I did my best. My friendship and loyalty to Lindsay was deep and pure, but she wanted me to be someone I wasn’t. She kept putting me in situations where I was destined to fail.
Lindsay: We cut all ties. I wish her well, I really do. But I want girlfriends who I can depend on.
Ava: It’s a shame because I know I’m a wonderful friend and she chooses to see me through this dysfunctional lens. But at this point, I’m over it. She chose one road, I chose another ... and both will lead to happiness, I’m sure. I’m still bad with weddings and showers, by the way. But with most people, it’s like: Whatever, we love you, who cares!