Friendship Rules and Myths
Occasionally, I am a terrible judge of character. I’m also a really good friend. If you need me, and I can help, I’ll be there. It doesn’t matter if it’s three in the morning, or if I just got out of the shower. If you need me, I’m there.
I have limits, like everyone does. I have boundaries that should be respected. For instance, if you text me at three in the morning, you should be bleeding on the side of the road. Or your husband just left you. Or your grandma died.
Important and bad things need to have happened. Otherwise, it’s rude, disrespectful, and selfish. It’s also disruptive of whatever sleep I’ve managed to get.
There are some other things I won’t tolerate, but let’s go with what’s listed above. Today, I’ve walked into the Twilight Zone, apparently. A once-friend I haven’t spoken to in years – because she abused my friendship, exploded spectacularly because I wasn’t available to her at all hours on the night, and unspeakably cruel – contacted me this morning.
As if nothing had happened between us. As if we were just two people who had fallen out of touch.
So…that’s awkward. Needless to say, that’s not something I’m going to indulge. However, I do feel like it’s apropos to repost something I wrote years back.
Let’s get this out of the way, shall we? If you don’t already know, my name’s Ali. I like coffee, sarcasm, humor, chocolate, Italian food, books, music, poetry, getting into trouble, high heels, orange-scented lotion, honesty, and laughter.
I do not like liars, drama queens/kings, self-centered behavior, immaturity, bullying, lack of integrity, small minds, unnecessary meanness, cruelty, red meat, people who fail to yield and use turn signals, the Boston Red Sox (I’m a Yankee fan), and math. Math IS the Devil’s arithmetic, and I firmly stand by that.
I believe that people above the age of twenty-five should know how to navigate a relationship with at least a modicum of maturity. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I’ve realized that this is not always true. And when it is not, shit happens. Bad shit. Shit that would make a great movie on Lifetime, and if Tori Spelling’s free, she could be the Crazy Friend Zombie out for blood, souls, and a good bit of drama that might make Shakespeare proud. If Shakespeare suddenly resurrects as a pathological nutjob, afflicted by a raging case of Munchausen’s syndrome, hailing from the planet Look at me! Look at me! (Yes, that’s a really long sentence. I’m tired and cranky. Shove off.) As for who would play me, I don’t know. Is Natalie Portman available?
So, let me just lay down a few very generic Friendship Rules.
- Do not project. Do not accuse someone of ‘flipping out,’ if you are the one throwing a monumental fit. How can you tell if you are doing this? You send two incensed emails in a forty-eight hour time frame. The second one includes phrasing that would make the Cheshire cat say, “Oh, dear. Stay away from that one. She’s a little too mad for me.”
- Hurling insults in response to a simple request is not going to get you the results you are looking for. If you call names, throw sand, steal my coffee, or try to guilt trip me, I will put you on the ferry Bugger Off – which takes you to the Isle of Misbehaved Friends. I don’t have endless patience, even though I am more patient than I should be.
- If I say something like, “I am really busy. I can’t talk right now,” I do not expect you to text-stalk me. This is the adult(ish) version of repeating, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” on a three thousand mile road trip.
Now, here are a few Friendship Myths.
- Friends should be at your disposal at all times. If you have a hang nail, a bug bite, a bad dream, or a gummy bear stuck to your shoe, it is acceptable to text message/email/call/send a fax/send a carrier pigeon with this information. Incessantly. NO. No. No. No. No. And no. Boundaries are there for a reason.
- Guilt is an acceptable tactic, and it’s endearing. Again, NO. Guilt tripping someone, when you are in the wrong (clearly), isn’t mature. It’s not helpful. And it doesn’t make me want to hug puppies. Instead, it makes me want to ask how much crack you’ve ingested, have you recently hit your head, and why the hell are you allowed out of the mental ward?
- Nothing, short of the world ending in a fiery blaze, is more important than you, your feelings, and responding to you. NO. You see, I have a life, responsibilities, and my own drama. If we have a good relationship, and you’re having a crisis, that’s an entirely different matter. If I don’t respond to you at the drop of a hat, because I am busy, dealing with my own crisis, out of town, with limited email access (and an even more limited amount of patience), I am not going to hop to it like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Not everything is about you. I know, I know – that’s entirely difficult to realize. And you might need therapy to slog through the implications.
Alright, that’s it for now. I need more coffee. Or Johnny Depp. Does anyone have his number? *ahem* Feel free to share your own friendship rules and myths.