I am a little hesitant to share this story because I don’t think I look very good in it, but it’s true, and maybe it will help someone out there who’s struggling with something similar.

I think, generally speaking, that most friends and even acquaintances like each other about the same amount. It’s very rare that Person A will love Person B, while Person B can’t stand Person A. Their feelings are kind of reflected — they either both don’t like each other, or both like each other. (I’m not talking about the natural rise and fall of an established relationship.) It’s pretty easy to like someone if you know they like you. I mean, if you’re told that your acquaintance — say “Leah” — really likes you and thinks you’re clever/pretty/funny/anything complimentary. You automatically warm to her just from hearing that. Maybe you even think, “Well, she’s obviously intuitive!”

My school was pretty big, and while there were a lot of girls in each grade and it was considered “cool” (not that I used the word “cool” because that wouldn’t have been cool at all!) to be friends with girls in older grades. At the same time, it was considered “beneath you” to become too friendly with girls in younger grades. Needless to say, if you somehow managed to exchange a word or two with a girl in an older grade, you felt ten-feet tall. Found yourself in conversation with a younger girl? Not worth your time.

Well, one day, I found myself in line right in front of a girl three years older than me, who I’ll call Shaina. She asked me something inane, I replied, and soon we were both smiling. Me, because she was older than me and giving me the time of day! Her, I don’t know why. But it was obvious she liked me and thought I was cute and funny. I thought she was very perceptive! And I was very flattered.

Soon we were hanging out at recess, walking around the yard together, deep in conversation about goodness knows what. I felt so mature, so worthy.

We grew closer. We hung out on the weekends, got together on Shabbos. Every day. All the time we had. Slept at each other’s houses. Walked to school together.

This went on for a few months.

One day, one of my classmates, Devorah, approached me right when the bell rang for recess. “Can I talk to you?” she asked me. I hesitated. I knew Shaina would be waiting for me right outside my classroom.

“I only have a few minutes,” I told her warningly.

Devorah pulled me to the back of the classroom and whipped around. “What’s going on? I never see you anymore. You used to come to Bnos every Shabbos, and now you don’t. Does this have something to do with Shaina? Just because you’ve made a new friend doesn’t mean you have to dump all your old ones.”

“I’m not—” I began.

“I’m not trying to attack you… but this doesn’t seem healthy to me. And I miss you,” she told me. Then she gave me a hug and walked away and I went off for my walk with Shaina.

But I couldn’t concentrate.

Devorah had been my friend since kindergarten. Was she right? Was it too much? (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 699)