I met Kari* in college about a decade ago. She was friendly with my roommates, who were also my best friends, so it wasn't unusual that I would also develop a friendship with her. We became a little clique, hanging out together all the time and attending classes together, too. We took vacations and had a lot of fun partying and clubbing with each other. I was closer to my roommates than I was to her, but she was cool — reserved and nice.
After college, we all went our separate ways following different career paths, and I lost touch with her. I moved far away for work, and she got her masters degree, got married and had kids. Then, I got a phone call from Kari about two years ago. She had just moved to my state because her husband got transferred.
I was happy to hear from her, and I was so excited to meet her kids and reconnect. She was quite lonely and did not have a lot of friends here. Her husband's colleagues and their wives tried to be friends with her but she was hesitant. Kari had always been a bit stuck up in college — she said she just wanted to keep to herself and didn't want drama.
We became fast friends again, and we discovered we both liked makeup, fashion, crime shows, and shopping. I wasn't married and didn't have kids, so it was very convenient for me to spend my free time and weekends with her. I got along with her kids very well; I would buy them gifts regularly and would spend hours playing with them so she could get a break. I enjoy cooking, so it was assumed that I would help prepare the meals while visiting. I was very generous and kind to her, and I accompanied her to the mall a lot since she usually needed my opinion before she could decide on what to buy. She was nervous about taking her kids downtown all by herself and would usually ask me to accompany them; I obliged all the time.
Kari seemed needier than most of my friends. She could spend hours on the phone talking about anything from her problems to the next designer bag she wanted to get. I didn't really mind. We spoke on the phone almost every day and we shared secrets, anxieties, gossip and fears like most friends do.
I started noticing she was self-absorbed and loved talking about herself and the things she wanted to buy. I remembered telling her about a trip I took to Dubai; she didn't show any interest in my trip and just said I should tell her on my next trip to there so she could give me a list of things to buy for her. I tried to not to be resentful about it, but I noticed it was very easy for her to ask me for favors while never showing any interest in being helpful to me; she claimed to be busy when I asked for help, which I rarely did.
Over the course of our friendship, Kari would ask me to share purchases with her; she would buy something, we would split it equally, and I would refund her half of the price. It could be a giant pack of spring rolls from Costco, mascara or lipstick value sets from Sephora, or artisan marinara sauce. Every single time she wanted something and she felt either the quantity was too much or she didn't need the other items in the set or pack, she would call to ask if I wanted to share, and as a good friend I dutifully went along. I never asked her to share anything.
I needed a new liquid foundation brush, and I had planned on purchasing it soon. Kari was aware of this, so she called and asked me if I was interested in splitting a pack of four brushes because she needed a particular contour brush that was sold only in a pack and she didn't need the other three brushes. I said no since the brush I wanted to buy was only sold as a single brush, and I wanted it specifically for liquid foundation application.
Two weeks later, Kari sent another text asking me the same question: if I wanted to share the pack of four brushes and that we could split it equally and I could also keep the pouch that came with the brushes. She also mentioned that one of the brushes I could take was good for both liquid and powder foundation. After doing some research online to make sure I could at least use the brush for liquid foundation, I agreed to the deal.
A few days later, we spoke on the phone and I invited Kari and her kids to my friend's birthday party scheduled for that weekend. We made concrete plans to meet at my house; from there, we would then go to the party together, and then I would go home with them to spend the long weekend with them. After we spoke, she texted me a picture of the brush set she bought, and I told her it looked very cute and that I would give her my share of the money when next I see her.
The next day, I got the following text from her:
"Hey! Do you really want the brushes from the set? I am going to return it. The contour brush is too soft for cream. Works better with powder."
I was disgusted.
This lady had asked me twice to split the brush set with her, and when she felt didn't need the brushes anymore, she wanted to return it and didn't care that I had agreed to sharing the set with her. I knew if the roles were reversed, I would not have suggested returning it.
I sent Kari a text saying that I would prefer for her not to return it since we had a deal, but she replied and insisted that she was going to return the brush set and it won't happen again, followed by a stupid smiley face.
I immediately sent her a text explaining that I felt disrespected that she would ever consider returning the brush set since we had a deal, and when she thought she needed the brushes she wanted me to share the set with her, and the moment she didn't want the brushes, she was willing to return the set. She couldn't be bothered by what I wanted.
I expected Kari to reply with an apology, and I would have let it slide easily. However, she did not reply to my text even though she knew she had offended me. I chose to remain calm but I resolved that I was not going to call or text her — the ball was in her court. I had let her know that I was upset, and if she wanted to remain silent, then so be it.
The day of my friend's party, I thought Kari would at least reach out, but she didn't. I attended with another friend and enjoyed myself.
One morning three months later, I woke up and saw a missed call from her. I ignored it for a few days, and eventually she sent me a text: "I called you a few days ago. I hope you are not ignoring my calls because of makeup brushes."
I didn't bother responding because I didn't think any conversation we were going to have would restore our friendship to what it was before. And I just did not care.
Kari sent me another text message about how she came to my house to check if I was OK but there was no one home. She also called my phone and left me a voicemail asking me to call her.
I didn't respond to any of her attempts to contact me again. I always thought we had a close enough friendship that should have made her reach out to me as soon as she knew she had offended me, but she wanted to keep me waiting. But if she's waiting for me to call her back, she'll be waiting a very long time.