Bad Blood Between Friends!

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Vector Illustration of 3 friends or sisters.

Anita* and Banke* clicked from the first day they were paired as desk mates, on the first day of secondary school. From that day onwards, they were inseparable. It didn’t help that, physically, they could almost pass for blood relatives. A few people even thought they were, in fact, sisters…twins even. Anita came from a middle class family, and though she never lacked, she always only had just enough. Even though it had meant nothing in their junior days, as they grew older, Anita found herself growing increasingly resentful of Banke’s family wealth. She resented how flashy and glamorous Banke was at the beginning of most terms, often after having spent the holiday abroad. She resented Banke’s locker always being full to overflowing, so much so that her excess could fill the lockers of 4 other students. She resented being thought of as the poorer one, the one who had never gotten on an airplane before. But in spite of her growing resentment, they remained very close, with Banke being completely oblivious of her friend’s misgivings.

Anita’s resentment depend further when Banke went off to the UK for University, while she had to make do with a local one. Regardless, they still kept in close contact. Anita was lucky to get a job with a bank, immediately after her NYSC, and relished being able to earn some good money of her own. Her happiness was short-lived when Banke announced her engagement, shortly after completing her Masters degree. Anita was enraged that Banke was getting married before her! Why did she always have to have it all?!! But she kept a plastic smile on her face, as she helped her friend with the wedding preparations, and danced her heart away on the wedding day. Every time she visited her friend, the envy Anita felt was so palpable, it almost choked her! She resented the fact that Banke had not only married before her, but that her husband was just as minted as, or even more so than, she was. Her only consolation was that Banke hadn’t conceived yet. If she had a baby before her, Anita thought was going to literally die!

Two years after Banke’s wedding, Anita married a man she had dated for only a few months, and was elated when, a few short months later, she found out she was pregnant! Banke’s joy over Anita’s pregnancy was sincere and enthusiastic, albeit with a tinge of melancholy. Anita, having known Banke for so long, sensed this melancholy, but chose to ignore it. She relished the fact that she FINALLY had achieved something over her friend Banke. She loved the fact that she was now the one with something the other didn’t have. She shared unnecessary information about her pregnancy, exaggerated everything she possibly could, and generally rubbed it in every chance she got. In all of this, Banke remained loyal and listened, with a smile, to all the pregnancy stories and plans for the baby. When she had the baby, Banke showered him with expensive gifts, which new Mom Anita resented. A year after the baby was born, Anita was pregnant again, and the cycle resumed afresh.

When Anita gave birth to her third child, Banke told her she and her husband had decided to try IVF. Anita felt the rage began to rise again. Even with 3 children, she still wanted to remain superior to Banke, and this would only happen, she reckoned, if Banke remained childless. Banke was disappointed by Anita’s lack of interest, but shared information about her cycle anyway. When she had her egg retrieval, when she had her embryo transfer, and when she was hospitalised for severe OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome), Anita showed her zero support. Even when Banke tried to reach out to her, she was always unavailable. It wasn’t until the cycle failed, that Anita rose from the woodworks! She arrived Banke’s house, with her 3 children in tow, and spent the entire visit talking about motherhood and how wonderful it was, and never once inquired about Banke’s mental and emotional health, not to mention her physical health, following the failed cycle. When they left, Banke and her husband, Fola*, had yet another fight about Anita. He had never thought of her as being a true friend of his wife’s, and had told her so endlessly. But Banke wouldn’t hear of it! Her defence of her friend was that Anita had probably wanted to take her mind off the failed cycle. Fola chose not to argue any further.

For her second cycle, Banke decided to travel to the States. So enraged was Anita when she heard this, that she couldn’t manage a complete conversation. In her mind, Banke cycling abroad was pretty much as good as a definite pregnancy. When Banke left, Anita e-mailed her every day, hoping to one day read about something going wrong. Even Fola was amazed at Anita’s sudden interest in their IVF quest, and Banke happily gave her husband the I-told-you-so smirk, each time Anita’s e-mails landed. She wanted to know everything! How Banke was responding to medication. How many embryos they were transferring. How her odds were looking. And then one day, Anita got the e-mail she had been looking forward to. Banke’s cycle had failed. Yippee! And almost immediately, Anita’s daily e-mails ceased. This time, Banke did notice.

Upon her return home, Banke waited for the opportunity to proven wrong, but she never got any. Anita didn’t show up for a visit until she had been home for three months. When she did visit, she asked, very nonchalantly, how she was coping. The rest of the visit was focused on stories about her wonderful kids, how blessed she was, and how many of their old friends were having kids, in and out of wedlock. The visit lasted barely an hour, but it seemed like an eternity for Banke. The scales were finally off her eyes, and she could clearly see that her so-called best friend did not have any empathy for her at all, but instead seemed to relish her misfortune.

When she was cycling again, Banke and Fola decided to keep it quiet, and travelled under the guise of taking a much needed holiday. When she had been gone 3 months, Anita e-mailed a one-liner “Ol girl, this your holiday na wa oh!”. By the fifth month, she e-mailed a more frantic “Babe, where you dey??!”. By month 7, Anita had reached panic mode, flooding all her social media timelines with messages, and sending her multiple e-mails a day. Banke didn’t respond to any one of these.

Anita couldn’t bear the suspense of not knowing what Banke was up to, and even drove all the way to Banke’s parents’ house, to ask after her. Banke had kept her mother updated with events unfolding with Anita, and the older woman wasn’t surprised in the least. Like Fola, she too had seen through Anita a long time ago. She gave Anita a flippant answer about Banke being fine, and still needing to rest. Anita knew there was definitely something up, and was furious that there was no way for her to confirm what exactly was going on.

She heard about the birth of Banke’s twins through mutual friends, and she felt like she had been doused with a combination of scalding hot, and freezing cold, water. Banke returned home with much fanfare, and all their friends and family were excited for them. They had finally become parents after nine long years of marriage. Anita didn’t show up once. She didn’t even call. The excuse she gave a mutual friend of theirs was that since Banke had chosen to keep the pregnancy a secret, she officially didn’t know she had given birth. This might have been a plausible excuse, except for the fact that NOBODY knew Banke was pregnant, mutual friend inclusive, but yet they had all shown up. The couple had only informed their immediate family, and even those ones had kept it under wraps.

Banke mourned the loss of her friendship with Anita, but proceeded to try to move on with her life. She thought the worst was over…except it wasn’t. Anita proceeded to spread nasty rumours of Banke feigning a pregnancy, adopting the twins, using a surrogate….there were so many variations of the lies, that it was hard to keep up with them. And Banke’s heart broke with each one. She couldn’t believe that this was her friend, her so-called best friend, doing this to her. In the end, she was forced to share pictures of her pregnancy on all her social media platforms.

I wish this was just a fictional tale, but sadly, it isn’t. I know these two women, have developed a close friendship with “Banke”, and have had long discussions with “Anita”. Even though I didn’t know them in the early days of their friendship, I was surprised at the level of bitterness Anita still has about Banke, citing instances from secondary school about how selfish and entitled Banke was, and how she thought the world revolved around her! When I asked her what on earth that had to do with the issue at hand, of her not being there when her friend needed her, and of her choosing to slander the poor girl instead, Anita couldn’t give me a logical answer, a meaningful connection between those days in the past (when her resentment obviously began), and today.

Alas, their friendship never did recover, and whilst Anita probably considers Banke an enemy, Banke has chosen to classify Anita as her “friend for a season”.

Women, especially, are notorious for being over competitive, even with their nearest and dearest. Sometimes, it is a case of healthy competition, but in other cases, it gets out of hand. The quest to be the “better one” sometimes pushes us overboard, into a sea of irrationality! For some women, even if they have it all, the thought of the next woman having a little bit, is enough to drive them into a tailspin. Anita had carried a chip on her shoulder for Banke for so long, right from their childhood, and was holding on to the one thing she thought she had finally achieved over Banke…fertility! Even if she had 10 children, the thought of Banke having even 1 would have been enough to fuel Anita’s jealous rage.

Friends like that have been rightly classified frenemies! Friends, but enemies…or rather, enemies cloaked in a friendly garb. I would rather have 1,000 clear cut enemies, than just the one frenemy! If you’re going to stab me, I’d rather it wasn’t from the back!

May God keep us all!

 

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Photo Credits

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69 COMMENTS

  1. @nicole this is such a beautiful piece and lesson. It is so sad that this is how the world runs today. I can sooooo relate to this story and it breaks my heart to think that people actually view life like this.

    I have had friends and family who have looked at me as a successful married woman but have achieved one over me because they have children. For me I am in no competition with no one but myself and have decided that the quiet life I live is better than having a bunch of people around me who never wish me well.

    I am so happy the scales finally fell off *Banke’s eyes because sometimes it is hard to let go of a friend you hold so dear to you. I am even more elated that God blessed her in the end!

    • @mrs-al, it is really awful! I too experienced this with a few “friends”. Competitiveness over everything, and anything. It takes the grace of God to be able to identify these people…and weed them out from one’s life!

  2. @nicole it really takes the grace of God. Imagine some people will even make comments like “at least me i don born and she never born. If she like make she be career woman, buy house, drive the best cars nothing fit pass pikin.” I only shake my head because in the end in as much as I desire to have children, only God can give children and He has not defined me by the viability of my womb.

    • EXACTLY! And HE will always uplift us in the end! As the scripture says, He will prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies! No matter the agro, beef, or envy, nothing and nobody can come between what the LORD has prepared for us!!!

      :hug:

  3. I can totally relate to this beautiful piece,every aspect of it. My own scales fell off after my daughter was born and I just had to walk away from a jealous bestie. God help us all.

  4. Well, I have no girl friend because of “matters” like this, I hardly even tell anyone else in my family because of the stories I hear (not because it is happened to me). It is awful the kind of things that break trust these days. I mean, I will not be happy over someone’s pain let alone, gloat. I am scared of getting hurt by a dear friend or a family member and that is why I keep my issues between me, DH and God. A lot of persons have said horrible things…abeg I keep everyone far (I don’t know if that is a good thing). And sometimes sef, me myself I feel I get jealous (I know it is not good to be jealous), I feel it reminds me of something I want and should pray for. @nicole you can like to make me cry….I remember another beautiful piece of yours on “my sister’s keeper”.
    In all, God is Almighty and He has promised that He will never fail. Everyday, I am hopeful and I still dream and see myself with my DH and children.

    • Mehn, @kenechukwu…true talk oh! Even though I don’t think we should keep everyone far away…we just have to pray for the wisdom to know who to draw close. God help us all :hugs:

  5. @nicole, don’t make me cry. The other day @oluwakemine asked me why I don’t have friends, I told her of one friend who I used to have but left out a “darling” friend who I called sister. I begged her to come stay with me when she was having accommodation issues, I shared things with her and thought she was the best sister ever. I treated her better than i will treat a blood sister, defended her everywhere, had disagreement with everyone cos of her and she hurt me so bad that I carried the pain for months.

    I wept daily, went for counselling but still the pain didn’t reduce. Had to cry out to God to give me strength. I am not there yet but surely better than yesterday.

    Funny enough, she is still spreading stories about me but I know my God will surprise her soon.

    • Mehn, @reggy, I know that pain WELL!!! I stayed with my (former) other best friend when I travelled to the States to have my baby. I can’t even begin to talk about how this woman hurt me! This was someone I considered almost like a blood relative, loved her to the moon and back. When she was still in Nigeria, I would remove the shirt on my back for her. But this woman made me feel like scum of the earth. Long story short, the friendship ended…and I was broken! Even though she was the one who hurt me, I reached out to her severally…all to no avail! There were nights I lay awake, thinking about what had happened and weeping. It was ROUGH! But I thank God for my main babe…my ride or die bestie…who had been my best for even longer (and never did quite like this my new besto). It was her counsel and support that saw me through that period. That pain is something very few can understand!

  6. Thank you for sharing ladies I know this pain too well.still praying for grace to forget even though I have moved on to some extent.it still hurts a lot.good to know I am not alone.

  7. Ah @nicole this article is the truth! Hubby has pointed out early in my marriage how most of my friends are really not friends and I always brushed it off… until the scales fell, we pray for wisdom and a discerning spirit God help us all

    • May HE really help us all oh, @ldike. My hubby always teases me about the fact that I can count my friends on 1 hand. I told him that keeping my circle small has helped keep me stress-free for the past 3 years!

  8. Familiar story.

    Funny thing is that it is the ones we trust the most that usually end up hurting us. I used to be a firm believer in long term relationships ad loyalty and could keep the same friends forever until I had a nasty experience with a friend I considered my bestie. I met her some twenty seven years ago and it was blissful until the scales fell from my eyes and discovered that my ‘well-meaning friend’ (That’s what they usually come disguised as) was nothing but a frenemy that would stick the knife in my gut if she could.

    I saw the red flags but ignored them, always rationalizing her actions and thinking I was the one getting a bit too paranoiac until it came out in the open and publicly too..that was when the scales fell..

    I walked away from her ten years ago and it is still the best decision I have taken in a long time..I am happier and healthier without toxic people raining on my parade.. I keep my circle tight and certainly draw boundaries in every one…..

  9. Frenemies are very real. This story really touched me and am so happy Banke had twins which Anita will never have. God never forgets a sincere heart. Anita knows she can never ever be like Banke especially with so much hate in her heart. I really don’t have close female friends because the jealousy and competition is just too much. Some people really think good things are meant for them alone but God always proves them wrong. God help us all.

    • Frenemies are very real. A lot of them pretend to be your friends and even go to the extent of wanting to get close to you just to get to know what is happening in your life and relationships in order to use it to their own advantage. I don’t care what people say about me,I just choose to be fair with everybody and not having any close friend or friends.

    • Frenemies are very real. A lot of them pretend to be your friends and even go to the extent of wanting to get close to you just to get to know what is happening in your life and relationships in order to use it to their own advantage. I don’t care what people say about me,I just choose to be fair with everybody and not having any close friend or friends. I love this piece.

      • Sometimes, that is the best thing to do, Treasure152. But sometimes, we just need to have a few close friends. We just pray for the wisdom to choose the right ones :good:

  10. I enjoyed every bit of your story..i can relate to it..i have just learnt to pick my friends carefully. I have very very few intimate friends,but many general friends who go and come based on seasons. It is well

  11. As I read through this I became very angry with Banke. She knew from day one that Anita was not a friend why did she not cut her off? Why did she remain in such friendship( it’s not even friendship sef) knowing fully well that Anita did not wish her well.

    One thing I have learnt from a very young age is to remain true to good friends and cut off toxic ones. I give you a couple of chances to retrace your steps and become a better friend if that does not work, I cut you off.

    I became friends with a girl no one had anything good to talk about but I did not judge her and we became friends anyway. I tried to change her as much as I could and ignored most of her excesses, at some point I thought she was becoming a better person. Every now and then people will warn me of all the not so nice things she says about me. I remember a mutual friend telling me how she went around asking people why they liked me and that i’m not as nice as people make me out to be.She even tried to turn her husband(my friend that I introduced her to) against me. I cut them both off.

    • You are very correct, Jess. There’s a saying I like a lot. Something about when people tell us who they are, we need to believe them! A lot of times we see the signs, but still rush in headlong. May God save us from toxic people!

  12. I’ll say this is very common with ladies..we(some ladies) sometimes compete with other ladies even without the knowledge of their opponent..i can relate very well with banke in the story and in most cases it is not always easy to work out from such relationship even when the signs are so obvious……I pray God saves us from those kind of friends

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