My best friend Mihlali and I have been friends since the first day of school. I was shy so she would always hold my hand and help me be brave.
At the end of last year, Mihlali started acting differently. Whenever I wanted to do something fun - she would say no. She started to say no to everything I said. She even tried to pressure me not to go out with friends.
I thought maybe she was jealous. I got a boyfriend and had started to make friends with his group of friends.
It was coming up to school holidays and my boyfriend and some friends were planning a night out to go get food at the night market and go dancing. I invited Mihlali and she said no - again.
We started to get into an argument. I told her I was fed up with trying to include her and her saying no. I was ready to give up.
Mihlali started to get upset. I asked her to tell me what was going on and she started to tell me why she wasn’t up for hanging out with that group.
Mihlali said that she had heard rumours that their group would drink alcohol when they went out. She didn’t want to get involved and she didn’t want me caught up in it either.
I had no idea these rumours were real and I told Mihlali I had not seen such things. I promised her if that ever did happen that I would take her hand and we would leave together right away! Just as she did for me as kids.
I know how to be more open with Mihlali and when I sense a change in behaviour to bring it up sooner - rather than letting it go on for weeks.
Mihlali is not a bad friend, she just wanted us both to stay out of trouble. I’m so glad we spoke and are closer than ever!