I had a co-worker when I was in my 20's who was a decade older than me. She was wildly smart, insightful, and personable. She had epic taste in music and clothes. She was funnier than I was, with a quicker wit. She was one of those rare people who fill up every room they enter, and she radiated attractive qualities that inspired in me a sense of longing to be like her. I often found myself thinking that I hoped to be more like her when I was her age. We became friends right away, and I felt lucky to have such a compelling person making time for me.
One of the wise things she used to say was: "People tell you what you need to know about them. You just have to pay attention." The truth of the resonated deeply within me, as I was in a shitty romantic relationship at the time with a narcissist who held more than a fair share of my self-esteem. I thought this credo was her way of telling me that the writing was on the wall if I had the courage to acknowledge it.
But two years later--after this friend had hurt me countless times, exploited our friendship for personal gain, and attempted to shame and intimidate me into staying in her life--I walked away from the friendship. I had always wondered why she didn't have more people in her life, friends her own age, long-term friends. Suddenly, I got it: People tell you everything you need to know about them. You just have to pay attention.
**This post was the result of a creative writing exercise prompt from Write On Edge's "RemeberRED" series.