Nicole* and I met when we were at university and became best friends almost immediately. During those three years, it was very rare to see either of us without the other one and we were even referred to by our peers as ‘the Siamese twins’.
We were so dependent on each other that there was a part of me that was afraid that our friendship would come to an end when we left university.
Happily, I had no reason to worry as nothing changed between us. It became harder to spend time together and our work schedules often clashed, with the various parties that each of us had to attend as part of our jobs. But we still remained very close and texted or spoke over the phone almost every day, even if only for a few minutes.
All of it started to crumble when Peter* entered our lives two years ago. I had started a new job and he was my new boss. Peter is an above-average-looking guy who is also very charming to boot. He isn’t at all flirtatious but, with a brilliant sense of humour, he’s often able to win people over after just one meeting.
Nicole and I often went to each other’s work events, mostly to provide moral support. She was at one such event that my company was hosting when she met Peter. She already knew who he was because I had mentioned him to her, so she went on to tell him that she was my best friend. Peter and I got along very well at work – it was a pleasant professional relationship – so he was more than happy to get to know my best friend, too.
The day after this event, Nicole pestered me to find out more about Peter: Stuff like whether he was single or not and, if possible, what he thought about her. I was appalled by the idea that she would be interested in my boss so I quickly changed the topic. But Nicole wasn’t giving up without a fight. She sneaked Peter’s name into every conversation and it soon became clear that I couldn’t ignore the issue any longer.
I did some digging around and found out that Peter was single. I also learnt that he hung out at a particular bar every Friday after work. I gave Nicole this information and she immediately suggested that we go to that bar that Friday.
I thought it was best to get it over and done with. After all, what were the chances of my boss falling in love with my best friend? Surely he’d just entertain her for a while by chatting – he was a nice guy, after all – but nothing else would happen. Peter is 12 years older than Nicole, so never in my wildest dreams did I think that he’d be interested in her.
At the bar that night, Peter was surprised to see us but was very friendly. I felt awkward because he was, after all, my boss, and even though I enjoyed working with him, I had no intention of socialising with him on the regular. Peter and Nicole got on like a house on fire and, to my surprise and dismay, he asked for her phone number.
They met for dinner that weekend and had to endure two sets of conversations on the same topic. First, I had Nicole on the phone with me on Sunday night talking non-stop about what a lovely time they had; on Monday, I had to listen to Peter going on and on about how much he enjoyed having dinner with Nicole.
Nicole and Peter started dating soon after and I saw less and less of my best friend. I don’t have an issue with the fact that she’s so in love with Peter; rather, I’m flummoxed that she has changed so drastically, so much so that I can hardly recognise the person that she had become.
For instance, she has never to my knowledge been into sports but now waxes lyrical about Peter’s favourite football team and talks about soccer as if she’s been a lifelong fan. She also only watches the type of action movies that Peter likes; our days of laughing and crying while watching chick flicks are gone.
Nicole has also become so entrenched in Peter’s social circle that she hardly mixes with any of her own friends anymore. Our friends from university – whom I’m still close to, thankfully – often remark that she doesn’t respond to messages anymore and that they find that she has changed.
Peter is still my boss and, to be fair, he doesn’t talk about Nicole with me. We are completely professional at work, although I do meet him up with Nicole in a social setting. But such outings are few and far between. I see Nicole every couple of months but it’s never just the two of us – she always drags Peter along, which she had never done with previous boyfriends.
I think that the day will come very soon that I no longer want to see Nicole and, this time, it would be a relief to me as I’ll no longer have to plaster on a fake smile just to get through the ordeal. I have lost my best friend – to my boss, of all people! – and there’s nothing I can do to get her back.
Text: Balvinder Sandhu/HerworldPlus