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Frenemies July 25, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in to friend or not to friend.

I know it’s a fairly common occurrence (especially, or maybe only?) in friendships between women for feelings of underlying animosity, jealousy, unresolved tensions and just plain dislike to exist. I have known many an acquaintance who, should I run into them at Starbucks, or happen to share a college class with, I will exchange polite pleasantries and ask about their life, offering “ooh’s” and “aww’s” when appropriate. What I don’t like to admit is than my curious questions usually come out so I can measure my progress and current life situation against theirs, and then snark about the person later with my actual friends.

It’s not a good thing to realize about yourself, no matter how many people you know who do the exact same thing.

I’ve had a little experience with this, but it’s still very difficult to reconcile when one of your closest friends becomes a person you feel the need to snark on. To go from declarations of “OMGEE BFF’s For-EVAH!” to the behind-her-back admittance of “man, I feel like I don’t even know her anymore.” To realize qualities that you honestly wish you hadn’t realized, because now there’s really no going back. You’re stuck with the opinion that the person you’ve poured your heart out to really isn’t that great of a person. How do you even begin your explanation when the conversation that starts with “you’ve been really distant lately…” begins?

Looking back, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is very, very difficult to stay close with a person over a long period of time. I had a few friends in high school who I literally could not imagine not speaking to. I consider myself to be a fairly passionate person, and I think it bleeds into every relationship that I have. My high school friendships were all-consuming, spending every minute together, able to just walk into the others house and be treated like family, telling each other EVERY. LITTLE. DETAIL., calling each other crying at 2 am thing. And each friendship each just kinda burnt out, either due to growing apart, or an Ultimate Betrayal.

I feel like a five year old, whining “it’s not fair!!” Friendships aren’t supposed to be like that. What’s the saying? “You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.” Why can’t people just be who they are, treat each other decently, sympathize, lend an ear or a shoulder, and give the kind of friendship you want in return? Why is every single relationship so complicated? I realize that a lot of effort and compromise must come when you’re trying to reconcile two different people’s opinions and feelings. But should it really be this much work all the time?

An obvious solution is to just be honest. But let’s be honest. Some people don’t want to hear the bad things you think of them. Some people would rather just pretend that everyone loves them, that they’re admirable and wonderful, and you’d just be raining on their parade. Telling them how you feel would only serve to make you feel better, and even that would be short-lived, because odds are, your friend would just put a distance and resent you until the day comes when you run into them at Starbucks, ask about their life, and then call your current BFF so you can snark.

And maybe later, when you’re alone with your memories, just sadly reminisce and wonder why all relationships have to be so damn confusing.



1. La - July 25, 2008

I wish I could say that I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but, alas, I do. And it sucks. And I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with it yet.

2. carrie m - August 11, 2008

this gets a bit easier when you’re older – says the sagely 31 year old. however, it nevers stops sucking. every so often i’ll have a very high school or early 20s moment of drama with a friend (usually more casual friends at this point). however, as i’ve gotten older, i have still come to conclusion that you did – that it’s not worth raining on someone’s parade sometimes. although there are far more moments where i will call a person out if something they’ve said/done directly effects me b/c i don’t put up with that crap. but sometimes, you just have to let them stew in their own faux awesomeness and nurture yourself b/c you’re the one who has to live with you forever.

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