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Friday, September 17, 2021

Why Can’t We Be Friends

One of the BIG drawbacks of being on the move as a child (every year or two anyway) is that I never got the hang of this thing called friendship. Yeah, I got the general gist of things as I grew farther into adultness but it’s taken me an obscene amount of time.

Here are some things I wish I’d known from the get go.

There are levels of friendships.

Bestie—you know, Jen. I can count on her for anything and everything. She’s there for surgeries and recoveries, travel adventures, ugly crying and unending laughter. Oh, we can talk about poops and other delicate subjects too. Need a kidney? Here, take one of mine!
Close—learns a little ASL or, on their own, finds a good voice to text app to ease communication, understands where I’m coming from, supportive, forgiving and fun. Maybe we don’t talk bathroom matters so much but other ticklish topics are still on the table. MGH, in pre-pandemic times? Of course! Kidney? Same as above.

 Good—I see them less frequently than a close friend but otherwise similar. Sensitive subjects? It depends. If they can, I may see them at MGH next time I’m getting sliced up. They bring Fratelli’s over when I’m recovering though—YES!

Warm—love them! We don’t get into anything serious but, when we still threw parties, they were DEF on the guest list.

 Casual—totes enjoy having a cocktail and chitchatting together. We have some common interests. They’re on the party guest list too.

Acquaintance—I remember their name (usually) and smile when I see them.

Who?—they might remember me but…I have a terrible memory. Sometimes that’s on purpose. Not always.
Don’t confuse the categories, mine or your own.

Then there are all the chums who fall between the lines. Maybe most.

Next wish-I’d-known is this—who’s a friend and who’s not. This one’s tricky. I wasn’t born with self awareness or discrimination and you need those tools to make the calls. For a few of my early adult years, I was just thrilled and grateful that anyone wanted me as a friend. Yeah, how sad is that!?

I got over it, more or less.
Have you found yourself in a sitch where a ‘friend’ is not really who you’d thought or hoped for? You need to break up or, at least, insert distance. How? Stop replying to emails. If you answer phone calls, be brief and find a way to cut them off and hang up. If that doesn’t work, give it to them straight and as non-confrontationally as you can. NOT it’s-not-you-it’s-me—christ that’s lame. Do the chat as honestly and peacefully as you can. Avoid blame bombs. This doesn’t need to be an hour(s) long discussion.

Also, friends and friendship levels aren’t necessarily rock-solid and forever. They rise and fall, come and go. Why? Life is fucking tumultuous and fluid.

I wish I’d known all this as a kid.

Why Can’t We Be Friends—War


  1. It has been my experience "friends" are only friends until the opportunity to run up the Jolly Roger.

    Better to be a rock ...

    1. I've, generally, been lucky—at least in my mid to later adult years. Luck and learning when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Sorry, song's in my head and I had to share. Take my word for it, it's better than hearing me sing it.