Saturday, May 4, 2013

With Friends Like These ...

You’ve heard the expression, “With friends like these who needs enemies?” Of course you have.

Well, the four flawed friends below aren’t that bad, but they can be plenty annoying.

Honk if you recognize someone you know.

The Undercutter
I’m not sure she can help herself. She just has a way of reacting to things you tell her that gives you pause. You announce you’ve been accepted into a writer’s program at a prestigious university and she replies, “Really? You did?” As though she can’t belief those chumps were fool enough to open their doors to you. You tell her that another friend is encouraging you to apply as a speaker at a women’s conference, and she gives you a blank stare that says, “Seriously? What could you have to say?” You’d call her on it, but you honestly don’t think she has any idea what she's doing, and sometimes it's so subtle you think you must be imagining things. So you just let it slide. But you don’t like it.

The Secret Agent
This woman is apparently living a double life, because you talk to her all the time, but you never seem to know what’s really happening with her. Except on reveal days. On reveal days, she'll make some dramatic statement with no warning. She’s gotten a divorce. Not getting—gotten—two months ago. She’s had a baby. She’s had two babies. She’s converted to Buddhism. She works for the President. She’s marrying a Sheik. Whatever. You ask her, “When did you start dating the Sheik?” And she says, casually, “Oh, two years ago.” And you’ve talked to her every month for the past five years. The point is, this chick keeps everything close to the vest. You’ve been blabbing all your business, but she doesn’t tell you jack. This is entirely not girly-like. Girls share. It’s a rule.

The Conversation Control Freak
Speaking of rules, this girl monopolizes the conversation with hers. There’s a whole list of topics that aren’t to be mentioned in her presence—well, you aren’t to mention them anyway. She announces at dinner “no shop talk guys” and then spends the next thirty minutes talking about her job. But when you mention your job, she says scornfully, “Oh, you always want to talk about work” and then changes the topic to something on her approved list. When you get right down to it, she’s a bit of a brat. Or maybe she’s just crazy. I’m not sure which. It’s tiresome.

The Schoolmarm
The schoolmarm is always in teacher mode—even though she’s never actually worked as a teacher. And that wouldn’t be so bad, except at some point she got it into her head that you’re her student, so your conversations are shrouded in this weird dynamic that leaves you feeling infantilized. She has a way of talking down to you that just gets on your nerves, especially when it’s apparent she doesn’t know what the hell she’s saying. You’re not sure what her deal is, but you didn’t sign on to be her perpetual student, you do know that. Somehow, you’ve got to reframe this relationship, or it’s bye bye Mrs. Chips.

So, listen. Nobody’s perfect, right? And despite these flaws, these women can still be good friends to you. Kind of. Maybe.

My head hurts.

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