An Open Letter To The Friend Who Fell Off The Planet
Look, I love you. We’ve been friends for so long now, and you know you’re amazing. There is no one I could have more fun with, no one who will so reliably hold back my drunk hair and then tell me it’s okay to wear sunglasses indoors at brunch the next day because my eyes feel like despair. We’ve been through so much together that, at times, I can take you for granted. I assume that you are a constant in my life, and if that has led me to treat you with anything less than the love you deserve, I’m sorry. You are the greatest friend anyone could ask for, and there’s no one I want happiness for more. No one. So when I found out that you were dating someone, I could not have been happier. I thought, “This is it. We’re all finally going to be happy and get what we want, and we can all run off into the sunset together linking arms, singing that song from the end of Grease.” If only I knew then how wrong that would prove to be.
It starts off innocently enough. I call you, wanting to do something, and I don’t hear back from you for a while. A text or two goes unanswered, and when I finally get a hold of you, you mumble something about being “really tired,” and not feeling up to going out. I can hear your lover in the background, trying to pry the phone away from you from all directions like a many-tentacled squid, but I ignore it. You’re in love, and there’s nothing wrong with spending some quality afternoon time in bed.
But then it gets more worrisome. You start missing out on things you love, your social appearances become so rare as to elicit a “Woah! Look who crawled up for air! Hope no one is pregnant.” every time you show up. Your hobbies and interests start morphing, slowly, to adjust to those of your new love. Your affinity for bowling has been switched out for a serious vested interest in wind surfing, and the fashion magazines you once pored over with glee you now refer to as “banal.” Who taught you that word? My friend would never seriously refer to something filled with free cologne samples as “banal.” But I digress.
The point is, I can see the “you” that makes you who you are evaporating in front of my very eyes. Aside from the new interests that seemed to appear overnight and replace all the things you used to love, is the strange assertion that this is nothing new. Come on now, let’s be real. We all know that your long-standing, passionate interest in Greek philosophy is about two weeks old, tops, and is inspired more by the fact that you’re getting laid on the regular by someone who likes to read than any interest in understanding mankind. I mean, I get it, but let’s just be honest with ourselves. And I don’t begrudge you this new persona! On the contrary, it’s fine to see someone grow and develop. I mean, it would be nice if this were a little more self-motivated and less based on making yourself the ideal mate for someone you are unhealthily attracted to, but I suppose the ends justify the means.
However, there are certain things that irk me more than others. For example, last I checked, you were a single unit — one person, no more, no less. As I understand the English language, that would mean that you would use the first-person singular nominative case personal pronoun, known in some circles as “I.” You would say, as you used to, things like “I went to the store,” “I really liked this movie,” or “I picked out this scented candle that makes my house perpetually smell like chemical pumpkin pie and suffocation.” It seems though that now, whatever it is you participate in, enjoy, or experience, is being fed through a second set of nerve endings and sensory receptors, because I have yet to hear about something that doesn’t involve “we.” “We went to the new exhibit, it was bourgeois.” “We used to really like Woody Allen, but Midnight In Paris was like watching him dance for pennies from the everyman at your local multiplex.” “We decided to arrange the apartment to get more south-western light in our living room.”
I don’t recall being friends with a two-headed hydra who can’t stop talking about the concert it’s going to next week, but then again my memory’s never been great.
Look, I’ll reason with you here. You and I both know that this relationship isn’t going to last forever. Feign your outrage, talk about moving to Vermont and having barefoot children, and then let’s get back to reality. At some point, you’re going to find yourself hating all of the pretentious and uninteresting things you pretended to do to participate in this farce of a commitment, and that’s okay. Come on, we’ve all been there. I once learned about everything there is to know about modern banjo playing with a foaming-at-the-mouth urgency to impress this guy I ended up breaking up with in a month. (True story.) But you know what was awesome? When I regained consciousness and realized how much of an utter circus that whole thing was, and I regretted how quickly I had tossed aside my friends for what I imagined was tru luv at 1st site, you guys were there to take me out and remind me how much fun it is to be myself. And I want to thank you for that.
But now it is your turn. So have your fun, ditch your friends, lose your head. Just remember who was there before, and remember who will be there after.
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I always wanted to give a commencement speech.
My ears listened to what they wanted me to believe.
3. Don’t get mad, get everything.
But I am here to talk about realities, realities that are based on experiences, guy talks (who cares about that?) and late night chats with good female friends of mine.