10 Thoughts To Consider When Making A Friend
1. Can this person hold a conversation entirely made up of quotes from your favorite movies and TV shows? Let’s be honest – about 50% of our interaction with friends is a compilation of inside jokes and references to our favorite lines from stuff we watch. There’s a big difference between saying “I’ve seen pieces of Pitch Perfect before” and spewing out Fat Amy quotes in addition to making cheesy aca-puns. Mean Girls, Step Brothers, Napoleon Dynamite, The Hangover etc. Those are just some of the commonly quoted movies, and if you don’t believe me, go on Tumblr and be captivated by the abundance of GIFs covered in Glen Coco references.
2. Do you have common enemies? If I say something about someone I don’t like, and you chime in to agree, we’re immediately friends – and not just like, acquaintances — I mean a do karate in the garage, sleep in a bunk bed type of connection. We don’t have to alwyas dislike the same people, but it’s nice to be able to share a common loathing. For example, if you love pineapples on your pizza, and you find someone else who enjoys chunks of fruit on theirs as well, a bond can definitely form on that basis alone. It doesn’t mean you won’t have friends who prefer different toppings, it’s just a bonus to be able to share an entire pie with that person. I mean, you never want to be sitting around for hours, bashing the folks you don’t care for, but if you run into nemeses and can exchange a quick F-that-person glance with your friend, it’s a precious feeling.
3. Knowledge of their history. There’s no such thing as a Friend-Fax that’ll list all of a potential friend’s past red flags, but between gossip and social network lurking, we can hear a lot about people before even interacting with ‘em. If so-and-so has a history of drama-filled falling outs, and bounces from friendship to friendship, that shouldn’t be entirely looked past. Obviously there’s a reason they’re unable to hold onto buddies longer than a few months, and ain’t nobody got time for petty, fake rent-a-friend shenanigans. On the contrary, you don’t want to judge or have preconceived notions about strangers, so recognize the difference between hearsay/speculation and cold, hard facts.
4. Their ambition. The importance of a friend’s goals is often overlooked, but it can be important to surround yourself with driven individuals. Think about how much easier it is to waste a day when you’ve got someone asking you to hang out with them, watching YouTube, playing videogames and talking about positions you wish you were in. We’ve got to evolve! Do you want to be a Squirtle forever, or are you trying to grow into a Blastoise and leave your mark? It’s just important to be around folks who won’t make you feel bad for choosing work over the bar on a Saturday night. To have highly motivated, determined homies who aren’t content doing the same stuff you did last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that.
5. The impulse factor. Who is always there when impromptu, entirely unexpected conditions arise? From joining you at your occasional pity party after a stressful day, to hopping aboard for a liberating, spontaneous road trip, to picking you up on the side of the road when your car goes kaput. Life is full of unpredictability and the value of a person who’ll respond to your emergencies is priceless.
6. Are they down to participate in silly banter, and do they take a little sarcasm as well as they dish it out? This is important because the worst type of interaction goes like this:
Them (joking): That’s why you’re always the dumpee, not the dumper, burn!
You (joking): Well at least somebody wanted to date me in the first place, zing!
Them (being all angry and serious): Wow, you’re so messed up, like – I’d never, ever go there with you. Seriously, just, that’s not even cool.
Now the mood is uncomfortably awkward, and everyone is silent and tense, which makes you feel like some kind of line crossing jerk. People who give must also be willing receive when it comes to playful insults.
7. Would they screw you over with your crush? Everybody knows how brutal it feels to see the person you like flirting with someone else. But when that somebody else is an individual you consider a friend, that’s like slicing the wound and dousing it a salt and lemon juice glaze. Everybody knows this feels crappy. It sucked in first grade, it sucks in college, and it’s always going to suck. So if a “friend” knows you’re in like with this person, but is willing to make you feel crappy, take the knife they stabbed you in the back with, and use it to cut ties with them early.
8. Can they be brutally honest with you? Some days we have a disastrous combination that goes consists of a creative imagination + feeling uber unique + an unusual amount of confidence (enough to make you feel comfy using the word uber) which results in you doing something publicly, that you’ll probably regret if the moment can be captured by flash photography or video recording. Maybe you’re wanting to wear checkered, polka dotted pants or bring back jhorts – or perhaps you’re thinking about a big decision like getting bangs, even though you cried last time you had ‘em done. Whatever the case, we need someone willing to talk us of the ledge, even if that means using forceful, straightforward vernacular.
9. Will they “Like” your heartfelt or witty Facebook status that nobody else appreciated enough to click on? I’m kind of just kidding, but not enough that these words aren’t still written on this list.
10. Are you going to fall in love with this person? If you’re fortunate enough to be able to tell in advance, and these extracarricular feelings don’t unexpectedly develop over a lengthy period of time, then you’ve got to decide if being friends is worth the risk of a broken heart in the future. I mean, if you want to be lovers but they consider you one of their dawgs, then ruh-roh. Things get messy and people get hurt – it can be very nasty stuff. If you think hanging around and being platonically close to somebody you already kind of have a crush on, and may fall in love with is worth a possible disaster, that’s your call. However you do have the option of steering clear of a friendship, strictly because it’s potentially hazardous. Ah, who are we kidding? If you like someone, you’re always going to take that chance and be friends with them.
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This is the first part of a book that I am writing for Thought Catalog. This is a fiction book about young people in New York City. A lot of it is not fiction, and not made up, because I am not sure if I am very good at making things up.
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