Everyone’s always like, “My friends are my life!” and “I don’t know, I have to ask my friends what they think,” but no one ever is all, “You know what? I think my friends are allowing me to turn into a terrible person and there’s a strong possibility that they don’t even like me.”
This isn’t directed at just the high school/college set where you can easily feel “trapped” into hanging out with a certain social group because you all live in the same area or like the same music or share a similar style. This trend of hanging out with emotionally and socially toxic humans because you just want to find someone who “gets” you (even though you maybe don’t have a clue who you are) follows some of us throughout all of our lives.
Here’s an example: Last night one of my friends and I decided to try out that Sprinkles ATM (fine, I’ve been two other times in the past eight days) at a Los Angeles mall. We killed time in the long line, ignoring the impossibly loud “OMG!”-types in front of us, until I saw a queen.
When I say that I’m saying that I saw a woman confidently pulling off her personal style in a way I don’t know I ever have. Her clothes were impeccably tailored, her make up was fresh and she’d made strong choices when putting it all together. It was a black tank with an elegant flow-y scarf and equally flow-y yet tailored pants and these black and gold studded shoes that probably came out of a sale bin in the back of a Ventura Aldo, but like—god bless, she wore those shoes and she wore them well.
So I’m like, gasping and hitting my friend’s arm so she can enjoy this moment as much as I am because we all could use a queen at 9:45 PM on an autumn Sunday. Those are the things that inspire our attitudes on Monday, right? And just as the queen was out of sight, I hear one of the mid-to-late 20s OMG-Girls in front of me be like, “Uccchhh, look at her shoes.”
Just two or three years ago I probably would have snapped my head around and been like, “You’re just jealous of her! Mind your business if you can’t be nice!” but I decided that this was not the occasion to break out in my first slap-fight at a Sprinkles ATM. I instead decided to tune into their conversation that, of course, had already turned to their own feet.
One had on a glittery version of another’s delicate Gucci knockoff flat-sling backy sandals and one was wearing flip flops. They decided this was noteworthy enough to catalog and one whipped out her phone camera and took a picture of their feet pushed together into a pathetic triangle. The photographer of the group (non-shimmery sling backs) proposed a great question, “What should I captione this? ‘Three feet?” The shimmery sling back girl and the one who was in simple white flip flops ignored her as the white flip flops girl asked the other, “Do you think I look gross because these are just white flip flops?”
Well, hon, of course they did. These two sandal twins probably talk shit about you all the time and love you as much as they can because you are slightly heavier and/or out of work and/or drive 99% of the time.
It was at this point that I realized they had Cheesecake Factory to-go bags and White Flip Flops started on to a new subject: how weird the guy dancing at the club last night was. I’ll give them this, the guy was probably weird, but I could tell immediately that there was an unspoken second question was here and that it was, “and why didn’t he want to fuck me?”
She was all, “He was kind of cute, but the way he was dancing was like, [her imitating some over-the-top, arm-heavy dance moves] so weird. I mean, he came up to me twice and I thought he wasn’t that bad but that dancing! Like, what?”
I wanted to interrupt her and say, “Coming up to you twice means he left you for a significant portion of time ‘cause you seem like an unapproachable grump (because you hate yourself) and it’s not that weird to dance however you want at a night club. Some people like leaving their drama on the dance floor. I am not one of them either, but you seem to be about my age and you should probably have a grasp on the whole, “different strokes for different folks” phenomenon.
And the Sandal Twins were like, “Oh my god, yes. Totally weird.”
Then I saw them catch each other’s eyes and share a smug smile so my suspicion that White Flips was just the fat friend they kept around for their benefit and that they secretly were ready to drop her for the next best eager and willing big gal with desperate eyes.
And as the Sandals Twins tried to beat the shit out of each other via their debit cards at the cupcake ATM in a false attempt to act like they both wanted to pay when it was obvious that’d it would be Sparkle Sandals because she didn’t have blonde highlights and there’s a little thirst behind every sparkly anything any of us may own, I wondered, “How many of us have degraded the quality of our souls in order to be included by people we thought we desired to be just like?” AKA Lindsay Lohan’s take-away at the end of Mean Girls.
I know I’ve done it. I can never really successfully pull that shit off because I know myself too well and am a spaz when my emotional weeds overgrow. Six months is when I start to feel over it, a year is when I completely burst cuz baby, I’m a firework.
I still have friends I like to get “so bad” with and say “naughty things” but we’re all pretty honest when one of us needs to go back inside or change their clothes for their own good (example: the wrinkled neckerchief I pulled off my BFF last week on our way to a meeting that clearly his subconscious made him put on to mask his nerves) or when we see each other unconsciously making decisions that are harmful.
But that’s far from the basis of why we love each other. We love each other first because there’s full acceptance and understanding of why we are the way we are. We don’t laugh behind each other’s backs. We don’t smirk at undeserving strangers just to get ourselves wet. We spend most of our time optimistically talking about the future and how Teresa Giudice may not have to serve her full term in prison.
Don’t be afraid to wait it out and find the absolute best people for you to hang out with. Sitting around and saying shitty, plain mean things with your friends means none of you are growing or are capable of true productivity.
Find real friends if you don’t have them! Buy sandals that you like! Don’t eat at Cheesecake Factory! Leave the dancing guy alone!