Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Friendships

As I have gotten older, the way I handle things and situations with people has changed a bit. When I was in high school, one of my talents included cutting people out cold turkey when I felt that they didn’t contribute anything to my life. This might come as a shock, but I only have one friend from high school (just kidding, it’s not a shock at all). Looking back, I don’t necessarily regret my icy attitude. One day, I had a very brief conversation with one of the most well known girls in my school during which she told me her secret, “You have to be nice to everyone, even if you don’t like them, and just do your own thing on your own time.” To me, this strategy was not an option, it felt dishonest and quite frankly, the kind of attitude that makes those years of your life so terrible.

Fast forward to today, I’m not so abrupt in my friendship choices anymore, but I still lack the patience to keep people around that don’t contribute anything positive to my life. In my every day life, I deal with a handful of people that want something from me (from teachers, to other authority figures), the French administration, the immigration office, the 30 people that push me on the metro, cut in front of me in line everywhere, the cat-callers on the street, the occasional panhandler that yells at me in front of everyone because he deemed my donation insufficient to his needs, the teenagers in my university; needless to say, I don’t have any tolerance for bad friends in my life, and neither should you.

For full disclosure: no one’s perfect. No one is the perfect friend, partner, and human being. I read texts when I wake up at 6am and forget to answer until I remember again at the end of the day, and if I don’t want to do something, or go somewhere, I opt out instead of being a party pooper and feeling unhappy. This may land me on someone’s list of terrible friends, but since this is mine, these are 5 friends you should reconsider having in your life, because you is smart, you is kind, you is important, and you don’t have to put up with this nonsense.

1. The sarcastic friend I appreciate sarcasm and I'm pretty sarcastic myself, but I think people that respond to everything you tell them with a sarcastic comment are rather unpleasant and difficult to communicate with. If you respond to my suggestion that we go to the park and have a picnic with sure! why don't we just dive into a mound of ants while we're at it! then you don't deserve any of this delicious carrot salad I made. 

2. The one-way friend There are two versions of the one-way friend. There's the friend that only talks about his or herself when you agree to out with them for coffee and then there's the other way friend, the one that only contacts you to ask about things. Now, the one-way friend doesn't really care about how you're doing, which is why they're texting you after three months of silence. The one-way friend just wants to snoop and ignore you for the next three months. Delete, next, goodbye. 

3. The way-too-positive friend This is the person that says "at least you're alive" whenever you mention something that's wrong, or something upsetting that has happened to you (you're getting evicted, you got fired, your cat died... "At least you're alive and healthy!"). This person is not technically a bad person, but they're just annoying. 

4. The friend & her boyfriend Have you ever texted a girlfriend with something personal only to get a response from their boyfriend who somehow has their phone (and takes the liberty to respond to their texts)? I'm so sorry you got that UTI! btw, it's Jason. Maybe don't eliminate this friend completely, but maybe have a conversation about privacy and boundaries. 

5. The friend that's never there Not all friends are created equal. Some friends are closer than others, and not all friends are close enough to be there through the really challenging times, some are just to go to dinner with. But if you're dropping your day to be by your sad or sick friend and they're never there for you, it might be time to reconsider your friendship.