So, yeah. Thought Catalog & Ryan O’Connell. Yada yada yada. Hopefully no introduction needed. If so, let this be your introduction to both. You might hate (one of) them, you might adore them, you might hold the fact that you just wasted 5-20 minutes of your life (depending on how freakishly fast you tend read, or if you’re a browser rather than an absorber, or if you suffer from dyslexia rather than AD(H)D) against me until the end of time or the fact that I got you to read this might be exactly that ‘pro’ you needed to tip over the ‘why the fuck am I still even friends with this girl’- pro/con list” to my advantage, PICK ONE OR PICK NONE, I just hope it at least serves to ignite some sort of, you know, spark of a feeling or whatever.
So. Where was I? Ahh yes. This piece of advice inspired by genuine concern for people’s (mental) health or, you know, passive aggressive rant ( I know you are reading this <insert name of frenemy who has finally crossed the line> so GET THE HINT. oh and you better be extremely honoured that i devoted an entire piece to you. On Thought Catalog, I may add. Not just my diary.) that I stumbled on ( all be my onesies, not actually through StumbleUpon) called: “Everyone Should Get Rid Of Their Toxic Friends.”
This right here will lead you to it (click–>read–>absorb–>return to me if you have absolutely nothing better to do with your time.)
Aside from relating to both content and style of aforementioned piece, what struck me most about it was its excellent timing, as, coincidentally, quite a few of people I know (friends and frenemies alike) actually seem to be ‘going through this’ (first world problem if I ever saw one).
I am no expert on this, or anything at all for that matter, and obviously this subject, much like that of romantic love, can hardly be approached in a purely subjective manner. In light of that, I would like to offer up a few reasons why I felt compelled to elaborate on it, rather than just assigning the appropriate amount of brownie-points and sharing it on Facebook.
First of all, I have a bazillion opinions. About a bazillion subjects. And I like to know other people’s opinions about those subjects. Well, not all people, obviously. But definitely the opinion of those who take the time to read what I have to say.
I do not pretend to know a lot, in fact I am a big fan of Socrate’s approach to (gathering) knowledge and classifying it as such (or, you know: not) I tend to read a lot ( which I love) and I tend to ponder a lot (which I don’t). So I obviously greatly appreciate any Gandalfian guidance through that maze of information you might have to offer me.
*intermezzo* for those who do not actually know-know me: vocab-wise I am greatly indebted to “Zoolander”. Also, those who actually do know-know me will also know why I just felt the need to point that out.
Secondly, last time I checked I am, for all intents and purposes, a human being. Admittedly a beaten up, vintage, marked down illegally downloaded version of one, but a human being nonetheless. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but human beings tend to be social beings. At least the half-way quote-unquote normal prototype. Ergo, most of them, at some point in their lives deal end up dealing with the concept of ‘friendship’ in all its facets.
So. Friendship. Sigh. Remember, way back when? When friendship was kind of, I dunno, uncomplicated and straightforward? As was life in general? Maybe that’s just me with my Mediterranean, immigrant, lower-middle class version of a WASPY upbringing ( yes, I do realize that this description doesn’t actually make sense on any possible level, bear with me.) POINT BEING, I was a fucking happy-go-lucky kid. Despite 15 years of (psycho)therapists/shrinks/random know-it-alls trying to convince me otherwise…I just was. Capeesh?
Yeah, so I had loads of friends, and I also had frenemies and I was both a bully and bullee (I’m not even going to, just no.) I had good days and bad days, mostly good days with the occasional bad mood, and we fought and we made up and we laughed and we cried and ..and…and. But friendship never seemed to be…stressful. Despite having had massive fights with people back in the day, people I cared about, not only did they seem so easily revolved, no-nonsense style, but during the fall-out, despite the obvious sadness of not being apple to hang out with them, you didn’t feel as tense, as hyper-aware of everything you said and did and they said and did. There was not as much over-analysis. Shit happened, shit got resolved and if not you just grew apart. No hard feelings. The End.
Alas! ‘Tis not a socially accepted modus operandi anymore. Everything needs to be over-explained, over-analyzed, over-elaborated, over-everything’d. Because, you know, imagine if we would just let things run their course. That would be madness, MADNESS I tell you. Sodom and Gomorra comes to mind.
Ironically, this only seems to be the case when it comes to friendships. Ahhh, because romantic love takes place in a completely different parallel universe, you see? When a man/woman/whatever the politically correct term is nowadays just dumps you out of the blue like a piece of trash without even offering up a made-up explanation to somewhat soften the blow (I personally prefer the truth actually, but you know, you gotta stay reasonable and adapt your expectations to whatever type of miscreant you’re dealing with) and a week later you are still walking around in complete shock, people usually tell you to man the fuck up and stop being a pussy (I have cool friends who say shit like that to me even though they are more feminist than fucking Steinem, I kid you not. That, to me, is true feminism.) AND THEY ARE RIGHT. I mean, I obviously relapse about 12 times a day and those same friends are still there to pick up the pieces/slap me in the face/drag me out of bed/verbally abuse me/hug me/hate me/love me but still: they are right. Not because it is normal to be treated in this manner, fuck no, but they are right because if someone is willing to treat you so disrespectfully then they are not worth your time and honestly, in the highly unlikely event that you actually get them to give a fuck about your feelings and your desperate need for closure, what sort of explanation would make their previous behaviour acceptable? Exactly.
So, my point is: boyfriend/girlfriend is a douche-bag-fuck-face-skanky-bitch-psychopath? Deal with it. Not worth your time. Move on and let karma take care of it.
But then! What if you happen to find yourself in a similar scenario with those boy/girl-friends you don’t have sex with or pledge your everlasting love to and feel the need to share every single fucking detail of your day with?
Those who actually find you whimpering on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night, emotionally unconscious, after the aforementioned evil beings have ripped out your heart, stomped all over it, taken a dump on it and skipped away dancing and smiling like an extra on Glee?
Those who pick you up from that same bathroom floor, fucking insane pathetic mess of a being that you are, drenched in your own tears and self-pity, and know exactly whether to slap you in the face (in case of a psychotic episode) or just hold you ( usually the best way to go).
Those who have listened to you go on and on and on, ENDLESSLY and DELUSIONALLY, about that horrible excuse for a human being without ever judging you for it ( at least not out loud, or you know, to your face.)
Those who watched you disappear into that honeymoon-phase bubble, not hearing from you for days, weeks, sometimes even months, only to welcome you back with open arms after reality came a-knocking.
(Yes, I know what you are thinking. And yes, I do realize how awesome my friends are. Believe me, I do. I really do.)
To be fair, the type of friends described above are extremely rare. If you find yourself in a situation where there is even the slightest chance that you might actually lose them, I advice you to throw your pride/ego/whatever it is that usually gets in the way of your happiness and BEG THEM NOT TO LEAVE YOU. I am not even half joking.
Like I said, they are a rare breed. If you have one of those, I am happy for you. If you have more than one, I applaud you. If all of your friends are like this, well, you are either blind, deaf or delusional because that is just the stuff Disney is made of.
But..there are so many types of friends. And one type is not necessarily better than the other, it’s just different. You can’t even properly determine their value, can you? I mean who says that the friend you only go out clubbing with is ultimately less important to you than the friend you like to have hard-core political discussions with? Who says?
Thing is, and yes, I believe that after many an insane detour we might have actually arrived to what could possibly be revealing itself to us as some sort of a, could it actually be?, point.
We are only human. Our friends our only human. We have flaws, they have flaws. Just as it seems to be commonly acknowledged that just as we tend to inexplicably fall in love, we also tend to, infinitely more explicably I would like to add, fall out of it. So my point is, if you fall in friendship, who says you can’t fall out of friendship too?
Why, when we realize that a friendship has run its course, do we feel like horrible people, why do we agonize for weeks ( if you’re lucky) on end about it, why do we feel like heartless traitors and soul-less abandoners? Why do most of us put up with days, weeks, months, yes even years, of frustration, stress, self-hatred, hypocrisy and, to put it very plainly, deception and lies because we are afraid to tell someone that we fell out of friend with them?
I mean, don’t get me wrong. It has happened to me and ouch, it is ROUGH. It is PAINFUL. It is AGONY. But the most painful part was not the fact that I suddenly ( felt like, although in retrospect, rationally of course this was not the case at all) wasn’t good/funny/interesting/adorable/exciting enough to be someone’s friend. Yeah, that hurt too, but after the vile things men, from ex-boyfriends to random by-passers, have said to me over the years…nothing, and I mean NOTHING shocks me anymore.
Point being, it hurts when people imply that you aren’t ‘cool enough to hang with’ (insert personal variation on this euphemism here) anymore.
But that doesn’t even belong to the same hemisphere of hurt as finding out that all this time, unbeknownst to you, someone who you thought was your friend PRETENDED to be your friend, lied to you, deceived you, trash-talked you behind your back to other ‘friends’ ( theirs, yours, common ones) all because of what? Because they didn’t know how to execute the platonic break-up with you? So on top of being dismissed, you are dissed, emotionally peed on, humiliated and degraded.
I sure know what sort of treatment I’d prefer.
Back to Ryan O’Connell’s piece:
“If you don’t like the way you act when you’re around someone, maybe you should reconsider being around them.”
Be nice to your friends, but be nice to yourself first and foremost, because how can you be a good friend to someone if you can’t even be a good friend to yourself?
post scriptum: comments, discussions, hate-mail & fan-mail are all equally welcome. Infamy beats mediocrity. Holla.