No one told me that at almost 45 years old I was going to experience being ghosted by my best friend. Someone I met when our girls were babies, when I clicked with that mom who was in the thick of motherhood like I was.

The friend who I joked we’d buy a house with our two other friends and be “Golden Girls” even if our husbands were still alive and kicking. This friend was always there for me with her long cards, thoughtful overflowing baskets after a surgery or a sniffle, personalized and monogrammed gifts, and she constantly told me how much I meant to her. She wasn’t afraid to show her feelings.

Our girls were friends. Our husbands were friends. They were an extension of our family.

One night, we had an incredible one-on-one dinner, which we did from time to time outside our group of friends. Two hours of talking, getting intimate about our lives, learning about a wellness coach she was working with and changes she was going through. We laughed, we lost track of time, and I left even more grateful for the night that made me feel even closer to her.

Then something happened.

Suddenly the door was slammed. The group text thread between us and the two other friends fell silent. When I reached out to her privately, she either didn’t respond or was short. My gut was in knots. What the heck was going on? She was upset about something. I asked one of the other friends, to which she responded, “she’s probably just busy like everyone.”

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I retraced to find out what on earth could have happened.

OK, so Friday was our amazing dinner, and we had great texts after that. That following week was my daughter’s birthday. Drivebys were a standard with the pandemic and she, as always, dropped off a gift and card from her children. One of the gifts was a microphone that my daughter had already. There wasn’t a gift receipt. I didn’t want to donate it or regift it, that’s tacky and this is my best friend.

I reached out to her with an overly nice long message telling her how awesome the gift was, thanking her, and how I hate to even ask this, but we had the exact microphone, and so on. Initially, it was fine, she offered to swing by to pick it up. Then a few minutes later a passive-aggressive message with the gift receipt link and a message along the lines of, “Hopefully she can get what she wants,” and something about not screwing it up again. A twist in my gut and a “WHAT?” popped in my head.

Then I got a COVID-19 diagnosis. OK, so THIS would be the moment she’d reach out and my old friend would return. The overflowing gift basket would be on the porch. Texts and cards asking what she could do and how I was doing. I let the group know I had COVID-19 and that woke the group up but from her?

“Sorry to hear Michelle. Hope you recover quickly.” And that’s all she wrote, folks.

I reached out multiple times and then finally sent a message saying clearly something was going on and we should talk live. Hours later I got a six-minute voice text from a person I didn’t know anymore.

Cold. Unkind. Gut-wrenching.

She didn’t tell me anything I did nor what she was upset about. She simply had statements including, “I know my worth,” “I’m not tolerating certain behaviors,” “I have changed a lot”, “I love the new person I am,” “I’m SO busy and if I have a moment to breathe, I’m not spending it answering text messages”, and other statements declaring what she deserves with a final cold closing, “Maybe someday we can catch up.”

I haven’t spoken to her. I haven’t heard from her.

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What’s crazy is I’m actually OK with it. Did it take crazy amounts of healing, learning, and growth on my part? Of course! But through that, I learned to connect with the woman and friend I truly am.

I know my values and intentions with those I love. Once I learned how to connect with who I was, I became confident with that person.

I then realized my friend’s behavior was about what she was going through.

True friends give you the benefit of the doubt if you make a mistake. True friends with high emotional maturity come to you when there’s a problem even if it’s terrifying to do so. And if a friend ghosts you and breaks up with you over a microphone, there’s something much deeper going on that you don’t have any control over. What you do have control over is knowing who you are and surrounding yourself with those who know that.

Michelle Mansfield

Michelle is a health coach, author, and mom writing a book to help moms struggling with the unwanted and unmarketable feelings of motherhood. She is also the host of the upcoming podcast, "The Honest Mom Podcast," which will be airing in September. You can follow Michelle on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the_honestmomproject/