I'm not a Taylor Swift fan, but she has one lyric that hit me like a punch to the gut when I first heard it, and it's still her only lyric that has that much of an effect on me: "When you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them."
When I was fifteen, I lost my best friend because a boy told me he loved me and I believed him.
We'd only known each other since we were thirteen and I moved to town, she'd grown up there. We bonded in the way that shy, dorky girls in middle school who have glasses, braces, a large vocabulary and a wardrobe that doesn't quite fit anymore do. She was trying to hide the beginning of a stunning hourglass figure that she kept concealed all through high school, I was already within an inch of my full height and built like a whippet. Going into high school, we both joined marching band which only brought us closer together.
We talked all the time during our Freshman and Sophomore years. We had classes together that we'd spend writing notes to each other that we'd fold elaborately to hand to each other after class. We ate lunch together whenever possible, often sitting on the floor outside the band room to avoid the crowded, noisy cafeterias. We discussed crushes on the junior boys who had girlfriends, and then reassured each other that we were totally prettier/funnier/all together better than those girlfriends. She started a website devoted to competitive high school marching bands in our area and it was the first website I ever wrote for. We spent the night at each other's houses, spent lazy afternoons sitting around the school before band practice started rather than going home, and we longed for the days when we'd have real independence.
Then I got a boyfriend. A boy that another friend had dated previously, but who I'd been given her blessing to date. He was a year above me in school but about a year and a half older, had the kind of wonderfully fluffy hair that I'm still a sucker for on guys, and was moody in that way that's tragically appealing to teenage girls. Being with him was consuming. He called every night and insisted on talking for hours, at school he spent every possible minute next to me, if I couldn't get a ride to come hang out with him at the local music store while he played their store guitars for hours and expounded on all the ways his life was awful he took it as a personal affront. My friend didn't like him, and I knew that. I tried to find time to spend with her when he wasn't around, but he refused to not be around. It wasn't until I was well into college and shed of that relationship that I realized how controlling and manipulative that behavior was.
She never gave me an ultimatum. There was no confrontation, no "you're choosing him over me and that's wrong", no fight, she just drifted away. I kept trying to keep up with her, especially when he graduated and I had my time at school free again, but our friendship never recovered. By the time we left for college we were barely talking anymore, and the fact that she went to a school 40 minutes away and I went to one 18 hours away finished what that relationship had started.
I don't know if we would have made it if I'd broken up with the boy a few months into the relationship, or if I'd never dated him at all. I don't know if my going so far away to college would've ended the friendship just two years later no matter what. I just know that looking back I wish things had gone differently for so many reasons, but most of all I wish I had been a better friend.
But when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them.