Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Correspondence: A Letter To A Bad Friend

Kate Writes:

Dear Bad Friend,

I can remember the first time we met. You were very mysterious and charming and, like any new friendship, you captured my interest with a force I found myself unable to control. I know that sometimes I can come on a little strong, but I think there is a pretty definite line between ignoring a crazy person and ignoring someone who just wants to know if you’d like to catch up for a drink. And I would like to think I am the latter.

Time and time again you have let me down. I remember when we had planned to go away for the weekend. I was so excited that I baked biscuits for the trip but, the night before I was to pick you up, I messaged you to see if there was anything specific I needed to bring. It was as though we had never spoken about the trip, you had forgotten all about it and had made plans to see other people. And while you apologised profusely for letting me down, it didn’t stop that little niggling thought in the back of my mind that asked, ‘why do I even bother?’ and, ‘you don’t really want to be my friend so why do I still want to be yours?’

When we first started this ‘frelationship’ you were wonderful. You sucked me in with stories of your life and what you hoped to accomplish. I felt like I could really be myself around you and wondered if you felt the same.

You see, Bad Friend, that is the very worst thing about this whole situation. You are such a bad friend that it makes me want to be your friend even more. It’s like being attracted to the ‘bad boy’ and hoping that you’ll eventually be able to change their horrible ways with your wholesome and positive outlook. But alas, I fear there is nothing to be done for you. You’re not the first Bad Friend I’ve encountered; not by a long shot. This in itself makes me think I am a masochist who loves being ignored and treated badly. But I don’t, Bad Friend! In fact, I bloody hate it when you don’t return my messages or call me on my birthday! You don’t even offer an excuse for your poor behaviour and that makes the way you behave even more infuriating. You never ask me how I’m feeling or how my life is. I think you should know by now that if I’m going through a major life crisis, I’m not going to offer that information freely!

You need to learn to be more attentive to the needs of the people who love you. I’d really appreciate it if you would be the one to message or call first. I know I am a fairly confident person, Bad Friend, but just once I would like you to organise to see me…and be excited about it! I feel like I’m stuck in that terrible movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ and I should cut my losses and move on. You and your treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen ways won’t last forever. I will eventually lose interest in you, Bad Friend…and I think that would be a terrible thing because I honestly believe you are a great person and would feel terrible if we parted ways.

I’m sorry if I’m the one at fault here but I really don’t think I’ve done anything out of the ordinary. I treat you exactly the same as all my other friends. The only difference is that you don’t reciprocate the way my other friends do. Yes, that’s right…it’s not me, it’s you! The things you do (or should I say DON’T do) are noticeable to me in a way that you always seem to have my attention. And it isn’t always a good thing.

All I’m asking for is a little bit of common courtesy. I’m not your parent, I shouldn’t have to tell you how to behave. I wish I could flick a switch and you would turn into the good friend I know you can be. I’m going to give you one more chance, Bad Friend. And then I’m going to tell you I’ve given up. You take up too much of my time for such little, or worse, no reward. I want to be able to feel happy when we’re together, not worried about whether or not I’m ever going to hear from you again.

There should be a club for people like you so that people like me never run into you and waste their lives trying for nothing. It would save so much time and heartbreak. You can hang out with people of your own kind. I’m sure you’d enjoy all the one-sided conversations that go on forever and have no point. And you’d never have to worry about calling anyone back because nobody would care enough about you to give you their phone number.

Throw me bone, Bad Friend…I’m not asking for the world, truly.

Kate Stark.

Lauren Writes:

Dear Bad Friend,

You’ve been around for a long time. You’ve taken shape in various incarnations over the years, popping up as one acquaintance or another, but have always been recognisable with your trademark snickering and a self esteem bruising blow.

We’ve had such fun at times, Bad Friend, that it has been hard to recognise you for who you are in the beginning. You and I have eaten together, listened to music and watched movies, giggled over crushes and taken up each other’s causes. We’ve talked on the phone, we’ve IMed and we’ve emailed, we’ve shared everything down to the tiniest of details. That’s the way it always starts; with me smitten with your charm and delighted with the friendship you offer, and sometimes the good times seem to roll on and on.

But then, all of a sudden, you decide I’m not good enough to be your friend anymore. In your mind I cross, for some reason or another, over that line; that very thin and flimsy divide between the people you think are cool and the people you think aren’t. Perhaps I choose to wear the wrong type of clothing, perhaps I unknowingly snub you in some way, perhaps you feel threatened by or uncomfortable with some part of my character. Who knows? I, at least, am always left guessing.

Luckily for me, there have been far more versions of Good Friends, more Caring Friends and Supportive Friends, than there have been of you, Bad Friend, in my life. I’ve never had too hard a time picking myself up and dusting myself off after the whirlwind of your visits. There have been times when you have rubbed off on me, and turned me into a Bad Friend who continually whinges and pities themselves after your inevitable hurtful departure, but luckily my friend repertoire holds many of the Patient Friend variety, and I (hopefully quickly) work myself out of this phase.

You’ve taught me a bit about self respect, Bad Friend, but I’m not going to go all Christina Aguelira and thank you for the lesson, because I don’t think the way you taught it was at all necessary. I have grown into an adult who values my time enough to not waste it on the likes of you, one with a keen eye to sort between the stayers and the more fickle minded.

Bad Friend, I’ve made the decision to never make acquaintance with you again. I know that you are unpredictable and like to hide in the most unseeming of characters, but I will be trying my best. Do us both a favour and stay away?



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