F*ck Friendship! It’s Overrated
“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
The thing is, we need friends, whether we like it or not. All great stories need an audience and a supporting cast. Take my story, for example. Though it’s not as extraordinary or adventurous as I would like to think, it would seem even more tedious if it wasn’t peppered with anecdotes about all the peculiar people I have met along the way.
A lot of curious things have happened in my life, but I am not the only person that these things have happened to. There were so many who came along with me on my little adventures that I sometimes wonder . . .do they remember those times like I do?
Like that one time my friends and I were kicked out of an Airbnb in Barcelona and we ended up getting drunk with some sociable Spaniards all night.
Or that other time when we met a crazy Nazi in Berlin who bought us free drinks since he assumed that my husband was also a Nazi sympathizer just because he’s white and bald. There was this one time in Paris that we got caught for using the underground metro with children’s tickets. Our anger and frustration at having to pay the exorbitant fine for making an honest mistake prompted us to randomly steal inexpensive, plastic souvenirs from the shops around Champs-Élysées.
These tiny infractions seem silly now but back then we felt invincible. Sloshed from drinking too much cheap wine, perpetually hungry, angry at everyone and emboldened by our ignorance, we decided that it was us against the world and we had to rebel however we could. In those moments, these friends were my compatriots, helping me make sense of this crazy world.
But now I know that they were just fellow passengers, we were all on our own personal journeys and our paths crossed momentarily. These bonds were never meant to be lasting.
Those people are gone now. I am not friends with them anymore (except my husband!). I am not good at making friends; actually I don’t even like making friends. But, I understand the importance of friends.
When Anita walked in on her boyfriend cheating with one of her friends, she came over to my apartment and cried all night. I made her tea and held her. It was awkward at first, but then I started trash-talking Ahmed. Said really mean things about him, I didn’t even mean some of them. But I knew that, in that moment, she needed to hear those things. As her friend, it was my duty to say these awful things about Ahmed. I don’t know where Anita is now. She wasn’t a good friend to me. She failed me. When it comes to friendship, I have always followed the rituals set by the other party involved. So, when my heart was broken, I went to her. But she told me that all of it was my fault. That I was stupid and immature. I was confused, the cup of tea was there, but where was the vicious verbal assault against Kyle which would have soothed my soul? Much later on I found out that Anita thought that I was slutty and a bad influence, and that she actually encouraged Kyle to end things with me.
Moral of the story, it’s hard to communicate with other people. Hard to understand them. Why did Anita do the things she did? Did I misunderstand her? Has she forgotten about our great adventures gallivanting across Europe? Does she also fondly remember those times, like I do? Her face is blurry, sometimes interchangeable with other friends I made and lost, but those memories are still fresh.
I have forgiven Anita and all the others for the mistakes and the betrayals. They have taught me an invaluable lesson:
I am not a people person. I am awkward and disagreeable in most of my interactions with other humans.
However, I feel like life is a series of contradictions and human nature is such that we can conveniently rationalize these seemingly inconsistent patterns of behavior by any means necessary. So, while I just claimed that I don’t necessarily care much for people, I must admit that I am continually amazed by them. I am very curious about human nature. The problem is that the moment I seem to have an epiphany about my fellow human beings and try to fit them into neat little patterns, someone does something to upset my carefully constructed theory.
Thus, I have come to the conclusion that friendship is highly overrated. But I really want someone to prove me wrong. Despite my evident apathy towards friendship, I secretly wish that someday, someone would challenge me and tell me that I am wrong.