I once had a friend who would buy me lots of presents. That wasn’t why I was friends with her. The presents made me uncomfortable and I found myself hiding them to save having to explain where I got them from. We met in a psych hospital. One morning in group, I had a panic attack and ran back to my room. My friend, who wasn’t my friend yet, followed me back to my room and comforted me. We started spending all of our time together. One day I told her that I loved her hat and she gave it to me. I had nothing to give back, I was the poorest I have ever been but she didn’t expect anything in return. I figured it was just a one-off act of generosity but then she came back from overnight leave with bags of presents for me. She told me she had won some money and wanted to share her winnings with me because I had become such a good friend. I felt awkward and didn’t really know what to do with the gifts. It was clear that she had spent a lot of money on me. I probably should have told her that I couldn’t accept her presents but I didn’t want to offend her or lose her as a friend. I didn’t have many supportive people in my life back then and she was someone I really connected with.
After hospital, she visited me and brought me more presents. I tried to reciprocate the gift-giving but I didn’t have much money to spend so I always felt inadequate. If we didn’t see each other for a while, she would mail me huge packages of gifts. I wanted her to stop. I didn’t know what to do with everything she gave me and she was clearly spending a great deal of money on me. All I wanted was friendship from her. We planned to move away together but that never eventuated.
She started making up strange lies to try to impress me and she tried to turn me against one of my boyfriends by starting a rumour about him. We pretty much fell out of touch, although every few months we would talk on the phone for hours and hours about how much we missed each other. Then we fell out of touch completely.
I miss her. I don’t miss her presents or her lies. I miss how she understood everything I said and never judged me. I miss how much we made each other laugh. I think that maybe we’re both too intense to be in each others’ lives but I am glad that for a while, I had that connection.