Saturday, April 21, 2012

Don't Meet Halfway Friends Halfway

Get rid of them. I'm not kidding. You meet real friends halfway. Friends who are not really friends don't deserve more time and effort than your actual friends. I recently made this mistake.

Look at these pictures of cakes:

Chiffon Cake of unknown flavor
Molten Chocolate, meant to be eaten hot
They are past their glory, as they are take-out from yesterday, but you can tell that they are nice cakes. I got twice as many take-out cakes as I would have liked though, because in addition to having lunch at the shop they came from with my boyfriend (foccacia, tortillas, drinks, and a very filling taste of desserts), I had two coupons for these cakes. Why did I have two coupons?

Because weeks ago, when one of my "friends" informed me that she would be in the area (on vacation) and asked me what I was doing for Spring Break, I told her that I was thinking of going up to Taipei, which I fully intended to do. I shopped for coupons and made lists of things to do there and worried that she was going to hijack my Spring Break (she is a planner and a controller). I bought two coupons for the cake (okay, they were Groupons) because I knew she liked to eat sweets and thought that with more people we could sample more varieties.

Chocolate Chiffon
In the end, another, previously bought Groupon threatened to expire on me, so my boyfriend and I went somewhere else instead for half a week. I apologized, and she said it was no problem since she had other plans and would be here for a couple more weeks. My boyfriend and I could have gone to Taipei after we got back, except that I got sick and was later hospitalized for a week.

The next time she contacts me, she wants to know what I'm doing Saturday. I tell her we want to make the belated trip up to Taipei. I sent her links to where the cafes are. I gave her my cellphone number. She replies that she can't make it because of an impromptu family thing and asks us to stop by where her family is to pick up a package.

Here's the thing about the package. It's a gift from my one of best friends, currently not living in Taiwan. She, I, and this "friend" were roommates last year. She sent gifts with our mutual "friend" to me and her douchebag boyfriend. Douchebag boyfriend said he couldn't pick it up from the "friend" and told my best friend that "friend" could just keep it. I got really angry on her behalf, because that showed a real lack of appreciation for the trouble she went through for the gift. At the same time, I did sympathize with him based on the fact that he was working and therefore did not have time to make an hour commute on a weekday to go pick up a package, whereas "friend" is on perpetual 3-week vacation.

I was still angry about his lack of appreciation for the gift though, and told friend that he lied about having to work until 8pm every day. We only had to work until 7:30pm two days that week, and I had twice the amount of conferences as he did. He, exaggerating, said that he got home at 9pm because instead of eating the dinner the school provided, he went to eat dinner after the conferences.

I wasn't worried about it though, because I was meeting "friend" that Saturday in Taipei and could pick up douchebag boyfriend's gift as well as my own. This was, of course, before I found out she couldn't make it to Taipei. I then told her that I was sorry for pulling a douchebag boyfriend move on her, but could she please mail the packages to us? She asked me where, so I looked the address and sent it to her, plus offered to pay for the mailing if I saw her when she tentatively had lunch with my own boyfriend's former lonely female user (FLFU).

"Friend" replied that she was having lunch with FLFU not in the town where we lived, but someplace I had never heard of that was in between where we lived and where she was staying with family. At this point she said something about wanting to see me and my boyfriend, and I jokingly told her that if she really wanted to she would make concrete plans to meet us in the town where we lived.

I must mention at this point that my boyfriend and I had long decided that this "friend" was unimportant to our lives, or at least he had. I had decided that we didn't have anything in common and that her controlling nature made her difficult to hang out with casually, and that I would therefore not put any effort in keeping in touch with her--especially since whenever she chatted with me all she wanted to know was gossip. I kind of fell off the band-wagon though when she actually came to the area and acted like I wanted to meet up with her, or at least was polite and solicitous about it.

"Friend" emailed back talking about how it would take her at least an hour to commute from her doorstep to ours and that she felt like she was compromising by offering to meet us halfway. At this point I went ballistic and took my boyfriend's advice to tell her, "Okay, forget about it."

I have to mention that I had residual anger from when my best friend guilt-tripped me about not making more of an effort to meet up with "friend," saying I was like her douchebag boyfriend. I told her I wasn't because at least I came up with a proactive solution to receive her gift in a way that was not too much trouble for either party, and that it was about appreciating the gift, not the half-assed delivery girl. She then said some stuff about how "friend" considers me to be a real friend. I blew up at that point. I told her that "friend" has a habit of wandering off in the middle of chats, never asks me how I am personally but instead tries to solicit juicy gossip from me, and that I put far more effort and respect in trying to meet up with her than she did with me. "Friend" also never even asked me how I was doing after a week in the hospital. Granted, I hadn't mentioned to her that I had been the hospital, but I had posted it on facebook where other acquaintances I barely knew posted their sympathies. I then remembered that my best friend wants to live in a fantasy world where everyone gets along--where her douchebag boyfriend and my own boyfriend are best friends and where I also like her douchebag boyfriend, for example.

I later found out my boyfriend's advice was partially predicated on a misunderstanding of what I had told him, and talked to him about my guilt about sending such a terse reply, but he told me not to worry about it. I continued to fume, however, about the injustice I had been submitted to (hence this blog post) and later told him that I needed a mantra. Mantras calm me. My mantra for douchebag boyfriend is, "He is happy with who he is" (i.e. he likes himself and doesn't see the need to change, so why should I waste my own emotional energy wishing he were different?). My mantra for my crazy supervisor who I increasingly see as similar to my super-crazy boss is, "She is not happy with who she is" (i.e. she is insecure and feels the need to either have people in her pocket or to undercut them). My boyfriend's suggested mantra for "friend" was, "She is a little bitch." I told him that wasn't calming enough. He suggested, "She is not important." This is true. I try to tell myself that now. After all, I had already previously consciously made the decision to not invest time and effort into my relationship with her when it was so unfulfilling. I had purposely deprioritized her in my life, so she can neither be a source or joy not a source of pain and frustration.

I think my mantra for FLFU will be, "She doesn't know how to relate to people." This works both for her previously inappropriate relationship with my boyfriend, and for me. I told my boyfriend that she, like "friend," drained me, though not as much. He disagreed and said that we were more like anti-matter. I didn't know how to relate to her. I know because I tried, since she's still my boyfriend's erstwhile friend and I don't want to be jealous of her. However, I failed. This is not my fault, or at least my boyfriend claims that she doesn't get along with most people even though she is charismatic, because like most charismatic people she is secretly insecure. She doesn't know how to talk to people one on one, and I only really get to know people one on one. I mean, she won't even really talk about her personal life with my boyfriend, so with whom does she talk about it with? (Hopefully her real friends, if she has any.)

I even have a mantra for my best friend. It's something along the lines of, "She is her own person." I know these mantras are simplistic and don't encompass these five people with whom I have frustrations with. That is the point. It's not my job to analyze their psyches and fix them. They are happy with who they are, or they are unhappy with who they are. They don't know how to relate to people. Mostly though, they are unimportant to my life, or even if they are important, they have their own lives, separate from mine. Extensive blogging about them aside, I would like to keep it that way.

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