With friends like that …

My friend from the West Coast called me tonight to tell me about her obnoxious ex-friend who’s been trying unsuccessfully for months to call her, as the ex-friend finally got through tonight.

The obnoxious one was full of news designed just to hurt my friend’s feelings, mostly about my friend’s ex who not only went on to be successful in life, but let’s just say he owns a freaking basketball team. I can’t find a photo of him, but apparently he’s really good-looking and is married to an insanely hot wife. So he’s rich, quasi-famous and paired off to some Barbie doll. Good for him.

My question: Why the FUCK would you tell your friend that? Obviously to hurt her. No doubt. Because that’s all they have to talk about. And my friend’s going to get smarter about not answering her phone after this.

The good news is that my friend had anticipated that call and we’d Googled the guy (over the phone), so we’d gathered all the goods before ex-friend called with the dirt. And my friend was so pleased to be able to say, “Yeah, I know. Isn’t that great? I’m so happy that his life turned out so well for him.” She said you could just hear the disappointment in the other girl’s voice, as she was clearly aiming for a very different reaction. What, did she want her to cry in her beer over it? Did she need to have her be weak for a moment so she could feel invincible?

One thing I’ll never understand about former friends is their propensity to want to shove a dagger in your heart at some random moment when you’re doing just fine without them and their dumbass drama. These people are worse than exes, because you can eventually forgive an ex if they do you wrong — it’s hard to forgive yourself for a poor friend choice, as they get to know you even more intimately than a lover, if that can be possible. The good thing is, you can exist and be strong just fine without them, and you nurture a better, stronger network of people who would never do such childish shit to you. (e.g., my friend called me, and I knew what to say — because I believed it — “What a dumb bitch.”)

And that’s the thing, about people doing well after you’ve all moved on from each other. You don’t want to hear how fabulously someone’s supposedly doing. You don’t want to hear that “the one who got away” (or, in my friend’s case, the one she left) has moved on to someone hotter and has suddenly come into all kinds of money. Hell naw. I told my friend that the ex-friend is probably just lying — the wife undoubtedly looks like an entertainment center and has a goiter on each side of her neck and another one on her ass for good measure.

Those are the things you’re SUPPOSED to tell your friends!

Not to mention, calling to gloat about how fantastic their ex is doing shouldn’t be the sole reason for a phone call. This ex-friend (god, do I have a love connection for her if she would ever move to this coast) called to rub it in that my friend supposedly forgot to celebrate her birthday. No, she remembered. I’d talked to her that day. She was surprised she’d remembered it and hoped she’d forget it next year. I don’t always forget those days — I usually just outright rue the damn day, even if it has to be retroactive. 🙂

I had to laugh at the ex-friend trying to make her feel bad about that — at our age, birthdays are no longer that important unless the love of our life is whisking us away from our drab existence for a few days. Aww, boo HOO, did you want to be taken to Chuck E. Cheese to celebwate your big day? Gah. Unbelievable. She needs to check herself and realize why nobody calls her back.

My friend said the girl tried to ascertain whether she’s avoiding everyone or just her in particular. So the friend asked how I’m doing, and my friend gleefully shared my endless tales about work and boys and all the other crazy stuff that I’m up to — again, the girl wasn’t quite expecting that enthusiastic of a reaction.

It’s just kind of funny how certain relationships just refuse to die, you know? That people can’t just make a clean break. When I break up with somebody, I’m done. With exactly two exceptions, I was never the one to call again and feel them out about no longer being “on a break.” Friends or otherwise, I just can’t.

And no matter how badly things ended, I just can’t go back and say, “I saw so-and-so and BOY did you fuck that one up.” I’ve been known to wonder if a friend’s ex might have become a public-health statistic (which was probably the case, oftentimes) but you just don’t violate the friend code. Not even if they themselves are living in a chalet in Paris themselves, and ESPECIALLY if they’re nowhere even close to it.

A true friend is a friend for life, even if that means stepping into the shadows and letting that person live a healthy existence without you, if that is what is best for them. Constantly flaring up and attempting to get their goat doesn’t anger them — it just makes them sad that someone they once loved so much gets their kicks by being so cruel. (*cough*)

I mean, that guy had wanted to marry my friend, and she turned him down. She’s got a good husband and two great kids and a pretty house, but still, you don’t do that to people — you don’t try to make them question their lives and their decisions. For what? Does that dumb bitch ex-friend think my friend will suddenly want to hang out with her now? After delivering that kind of news? What the fuck is WRONG with people?!?!

I’m grateful to the dumb-bitch friend. Because she makes me look like fucking Friend of the Year with every bonehead stunt she pulls. Her loss was definitely my gain, and unlike that fool, I am never, ever going to jeopardize that precious friendship we’ve cultivated after respectively clearing out the wreckage that was left behind by others. In any personal relationship, having standards is not just a good idea — it should be mandatory to set the bar as high as possible. Because believe it or not, for the dozens that barely graze the bar, there’s always someone who will rise to the occasion. And if you want to mess with that, you’re nuts.

Today, I want you to salute your friends — the truest and the bluest. Call them up and tell them how fabulous they are. Tell them the person who hurt them most was smashed by the karma train. Let them know that the standards to which they hold you are keeping you honest and wanting to continue impressing them. And remind yourself that nothing could hurt worse than them no longer caring about, or being disappointed in, you … and work to prevent that day from ever arriving.

2 Responses to With friends like that …

  1. Sabre :

    Ex friends are much like exes, they should just die with quiet dignity 🙂 Okay, maybe not die, but at least go away and crawl back under their rock and stay there. Your friend is fortunate to have you, as you my dear, rock on more levels than I can count.

    I bought a couple of tickets for the karma train… and I have a fresh bucket o’ buttery popped goodness. Let’s watch the show 🙂

  2. Valbee :

    HEY! I’m turning 40 in eight days. People had damn well better make a big deal out of it! 🙂

    I do salute my friends, though. The *real* ones. I won’t get into the issues I’m having in that department these days, at least not here.