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I came to a hard decision this week. I walked away from someone I’d considered a friend for half my life. But I’d realized: this so-called friend had no idea who I was.

A few weeks ago, this friend- or, rather, this person was telling me about someone in their family who had started to write an epic fantasy story. He’d step away from the table after dinner, my peer informed me, and say, “I haven’t written today, and I need to sit down for a few hours.” I commended that dedication, because it sounded so familiar to me. Upon being questioned regarding his desire to write a story, the young man informed this person that he wanted to become a rich and famous writer. Then, my long-time acquaintance said, “He’s the only person I know who’s ever been really dedicated to writing.”

I have never been struck so speechless as I’d been at that moment.

I couldn’t believe it: here was someone who’d known me since we were basically kids. I’ve been writing stories through that whole time. But because my end goal isn’t to be rich and famous, I didn’t even register on this person’s radar as a writer, or even a storyteller. That’s when I knew: I might have been a friend to this person for all those years – I’d listened to the school and job and relationship trials and lent the sympathetic ear – but they hadn’t been a friend to me. I’d been merely a project to them, a person to mold in similar image. When I’d gone my own path, when I wasn’t interested in being something they could fix, I wasn’t anything to them any longer.

I don’t have a lot of friends. I’ll miss having one I thought was so close. But, I’ve felt a lot of love around me, especially through this past year. Why waste time on someone who doesn’t have my back?