*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people discussed.
Making new friends is always hard, but it’s especially difficult when you’re new in town and just starting high school. Couple that with being an anxiety-filled introvert, and you’ve got… me. Because of all of this, my first few weeks of ninth grade were a blur. That changed one day in gym class when a girl named *Monica spoke to me.
“Did you get your braces taken off?” she asked. I winced, completely surprised that anyone had noticed. I’d been lying low, staying quiet in the backs of my classes just taking in my new environment and all of the cliques that were already established. As it turns out, I wasn’t as invisible as I thought. I smiled and answered, “yes,” and then our conversation evolved into talking about where I was from and what we had in common. We learned we both loved the group B5 and we both hoarded a ton of Seventeen magazines. In a matter of days, I went from a total loner to someone who had a best friend.
Over the next few years, Monica and I were inseparable. She knew everything about me, and I about her. We talked on the phone for hours every night and texted about our crushes whenever we weren’t together. We joined the same extra-curricular activities, and spent after school club meetings giggling in the corner over the dorkiest things ever. This eventually evolved into late night car karaoke on our way to Taco Bell, where we always ordered the same thing (chicken quesadillas with Baja Blast and cinnamon twists, FYI). We could always be found side by side, during birthdays, school dances, sports games, and any party we went to.
I thought Monica and I shared everything. Interests, hobbies, and even crushes – until I found out we didn’t.
I won’t say we were oblivious to what was happening in the world back then, but politics didn’t exactly make for fun Myspace statuses, so we never talked about our thoughts and opinions on world issues. Call it naive, but we thought alike when it came to everything else, so our feelings on politics couldn’t possibly be any different, right? Wrong.
The first official problem Monica and I had came after one of our mutual friends *Bethany got pregnant during our senior year of high school. A straight-A student and cheerleader, Bethany opted to have an abortion, and afterwards, she returned to school extremely broken up about it. I felt sorry for her and tried to comfort her, listening to her experience and helping her through it. Monica, on the other hand, completely shunned her.
Instead of being sympathetic for what Bethany had gone through, Monica kept saying she couldn’t understand why Bethany had “murdered her baby.” She was very clearly against abortion and was very pro-life, and I was completely taken aback by her stance. It wasn’t because I thought she didn’t have a right to her own opinion, but because it was so starkly different from mine. In a second, she went from being a person I shared and knew everything about to someone I didn’t recognize. Cold. Judgmental. Mean.
Our differing views on abortion created a rift between us that neither of us liked. Over the next few weeks, I tried to listen and understand where she was coming from, but her stance on the subject was extremely harsh, not based in fact, and completely unreasonable. This is, honestly, something I’ve come to expect from the pro-lifers of today. Monica absolutely refused to listen to why I disagreed that Bethany was horrible, and she didn’t understand why I didn’t believe the government should be able to tell women what to do with our bodies. I tried to explain why I don’t believe a woman should be forced to carry a baby against her own wishes, but my attempts at this resulted in eye rolls and backhanded “you have no morals” comments. Despite the fact that we were sexually active teenagers, Monica wouldn’t even entertain the idea that she would make the same choice Bethany had if she were in the same situation.
Out of the two of us, I was typically the most quiet and compromising, someone who didn’t like confrontation, especially about hot-button topics like abortion. But in this situation, I refused to back down and change my views. Monica wouldn’t stop bad-mouthing anyone who was pro-choice, and it wore thin on my nerves. I was ashamed to learn that she’s one of the millions of people in this country who think that women are terrible people based on one decision they make about their own bodies. Monica was generally compassionate and understanding, but when it came to abortion, she was the opposite. she just couldn’t understand that for many women having an abortion is the hardest thing they’ve ever done.
Eventually, she noticed that I wasn’t budging on my own pro-choice stance, and I found myself just as shunned as Bethany had been. The calls stopped. There were no more late night fast food runs. We avoided each other in the cafeteria, and spent the rest of senior year barely interacting.
It’s a tough pill to swallow when you have to admit that one of the closest people to you, someone who you held to your hip, laughed and cried with, cannot grasp or accept your point of view. I felt betrayed. I felt stupid and low. Monica’s “morals” branded Bethany and I as monsters, and that’s not something I can ever forget. It’s been about seven years since we last called ourselves “friends,” and I still haven’t forgiven her.
Monica failed to realize that pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion or “baby killer.” It means that women have the right to do what they choose to with their own bodies, whether that’s having a baby, having an abortion, covering it in tacky tattoos, or so forth. Her extreme stance and blatant ignorance made it clear that she wasn’t someone I wanted in my circle any longer.
A wise man once told me that friendships end when common ground is lost. A part of that is people changing, and another part of that is life moving in different directions, both of which aren’t bad things at all. I’ve come to accept that that’s what happened between Monica and myself. Our friendship had run its course, albeit a little sooner than I might have initially liked. But, if I had to go back and time and do it all over again, I’d still 100 percent stick to my pro-choice views over having her as my best friend.
What are your thoughts on abortion? Would you end a friendship with someone over something like this? Let us know in the comments.