I was chatting with a friend today about relationships and friends and we both suddenly realised that we had both had encounters with “secret smiling assassins”.
These are people who give all the outward appearance of being friendly and interested in your life and/or relationships, but all the while are sharpening their little knives so that they can implant them firmly in your back or between your shoulder blades at the first opportunity.
I had a friend like that at school. Well, she actually became my best friend eventually. We shared many interests – horses, dogs, boys and clothes. I even lived with her and her husband and little boy for quite a while when I first came to Sydney and she lent me her clothes (she was a great dressmaker and artist) and helped me with makeup etc. I should have realised that her choice was not necessarily the best one for me when I was mistaken for a hooker in my false eyelashes and fishnet stockings and offered a substantial sum of money to perform a sex act, when I thought I looked sophisticated and mysterious.
And then the knife came out. I found out that she had been having an affair with my boyfriend behind my back, and what was worse quite a few of my friends knew and decided they didn’t want to tell me about it. Suddenly some of her generous behaviour didn’t seem so generous anymore. I found myself questioning her motives for the first time. Did she really want to be my friend, or was she grooming me for the ultimate betrayal?
At first I was angry and hurt and had fantasies of cutting all her beautiful long hair off (it was her crowning glory and hung down past her bum), but after a while I began to see things a bit more clearly and a pattern emerged. She was always trying to get me to try on her clothes and then expressing surprise that they didn’t fit (I was not as svelte as she, in fact I was quite chubby) although shes was a talented dressmaker (she had even done it professionally) so she should have had some idea about dress sizes.
She would invite me over and invite some of my male friends as well, and then make derogatory comments about their clothing and lack of style after they left, although she would be nice as pie to them while they were there. She always made nice comments about my boyfriends though, and encouraged them to drop round for coffee if they were in the area.
Finally she encouraged me to talk about myself and was especially keen on hearing about any relationship problems, whilst she never contributed any information about herself. I thought at the time she was genuinely interested, but realised in hindsight that she was gathering information to make her attack.
Needless to say we are no longer friends. She used to call me up and profess to be sorry, and I even went horse riding with her years later and slept overnight at her house, but I never felt that ease and closeness I had when we were at school together. I just didn’t trust her anymore and if you can’t trust someone you can’t be friends with them (well at least not in my book). Occasionally I hear something about her and wonder how she is and whether she is still the same or if she has learnt something from all this. I don’t feel angry anymore, just sad that we lost the closeness we had as teenagers when there was no competition between us and the only time either of handled a knife was at the dinner table.