4 Steps For Dealing With Terrible Friends
Someone once said a good friend will help you move but a true friend will help you move a body and that is hilarious. Go on, have a chuckle. That's some Dilbert-level stuff. But it also avoids entirely the fact that sometimes the body you're moving was killed by your friend because your friend is a complete lunatic asshole and you didn't find out about it until it was too late. Fact is, sometimes you become friends with someone before you know their true nature, and once you figure it out, dealing with the relationship is super hard since your acquaintance from the dog park is now an utter monster. What are you to do, especially when you feel like the direct approach is not an option? You do these four things.
Know When To Cut The Cord
Here's a mostly true story with some details omitted to ensure these people don't beat me up. I had a friend for a couple of years who seemed like a pretty decent dude. We'd have parties, watch movies, hang out with the family and have BBQs and all that jazz, and generally have a good time. Except when the holidays came around. See, my friend, for hilarious reasons I won't get into, only had one leg. Was it eaten off by wolverines? Lost in a vengefully ironic shoe-store accident? Doesn't matter. All that matters is, due to his one leg, he ended up unable to do his former job. But he could still do lots of things, like jumping in place or even sitting. Yes, he was disabled but he could still work. But he didn't work. And every year I knew him, when the holidays rolled around, he'd give me a call and ask if I could float him a loan.
Those Santa-themed prosthetics won't buy themselves.
Now, loaning a friend money isn't always the best idea, but it's not the end of the world. Except it happened every year. And, as time passed, we'd spend less time together doing fun things and more time with him asking me for things -- could I give him a few bucks, could I watch the kids, could I co-sign for a loan. Eventually, I only heard from him when he needed something. Meanwhile, his brother moved in with him and did the same thing and not a one of them had a steady job. They did, however, smoke like chimneys, drink like fish, and sell pot like Snoop Dogg had cloned himself and all the doubles were trapped in their basement.
Eventually I got to wondering: If you're receiving disability, and if you're selling pot and, as I found out, if you're receiving money from the government because your kids were in an accident years ago and got a settlement that you collect in their name, why the shit do you need my money every year?
Those marijuana-themed Christmas ornaments won't buy themselves.
Naturally, the fact he had one leg became the center of his argument about needing money. And naturally, he also used his poor kids not getting a Christmas as guilt fuel. Fortunately for me, I don't guilt easily. My pessimism is like a mighty suit of armor glinting in the rays of your bullshit as I fly a banner that says "Where the fuck is your money and how can you not be aware Christmas comes on the same day every year?"
The point of this story? Sometimes, friends turn into dirty parasites and shitheels. Do you need that in your life? Can you still consider this person a friend? I reckon not.
Keep It Cool
An unstable, assclown friend is a hand grenade without the pin. Or maybe a bag of really wet garbage that has a hole in it and you're trying to walk really fast to take it outside but it's spraying that shitty sour smell everywhere on your floors. Point is, a friend that's gone bad like overripe produce isn't the same as an enemy. Enemies, at least, have a distance. A bad friend made it inside and now you're vulnerable. This person knows you shat yourself after drinking too much one night. They know you slept with that one-eyed chick who does taxidermy. They know your weaknesses and are therefore dangerous as hell.
You can't just up and tell a shitty friend to go shove a lime up their ass and leave you alone, as is the traditional method of getting rid of people who bother you. You need more subtlety and that can be an issue.
I read on one site about some jackwagon who "did a Facebook cleanse" and deleted all the "toxic people" in their life, as though that was some kind of cathartic method of altering your entire being. Fuckin' Facebook? First, do people still use Facebook? And second, all of those people still exist. All you did was make the petty, dangerous ones angrier by removing them from your inane, meaningless, and utterly unimportant friends list. This is not the way to rid yourself of a problem. This is pulling the sheet over your eyes so the Boogeyman can't actually touch you. But as everyone knows, the Boogeyman can reach under your sheets and grab your ankles and make you pee the bed at any time he chooses.
Your best bet for creating an exploitable rift between you and Johnny Dickhole is to start finding ways to get busy. And by that, I mean lie like a cheap rug. Or, shit, tell the truth. I personally find that exhausting. I can't really be going out that much or having appointments and such. But whatever works for you. They want to hang out this weekend? No dice, your brother just got out of jail and needs some talking to about how to properly de-crime his life. They need you to come over and watch the kids on Thursday? Shit, you just signed up for a cheese-making workshop on Thursday nights. You'd love to help, but it's ricotta week.
Have a planner just for your excuses and the episode of MasterChef you'll actually be watching.
The longer you go without having real, personal contact, the less of a person you become and more of an idea. The idea of you is way easier to forget than the reality. Soon you'll be a hazy memory. "Didn't I know a guy once who I used to exploit and take advantage of because I'm a dirtbag? Hmm." But by then they'll probably have moved on to using someone else and you'll have more freedom to take more cheese-making courses. Mozzarella is life, folks.
Master Plan It
Obviously, I have issues dealing with people, relationships, and reality, so maybe my example is not the best to go by, but it's all I have. Literally. I have so little. But what I do have is passive-aggressive creativity and if you wrong me, I will put a lot of effort into balancing the cosmic scales if I figure it's necessary.
In the case of my friend, who I will say had moments of unsettling darkness that I had witnessed once or twice, I needed to find a way to create a sense of ill will between us without blatantly pissing anyone off. Ever try to make someone break up with you because you can't bring yourself to break up with them? It's like that, only so much more childish. And it's the subject of fewer mid-2000s romantic comedies.
This is how I've ended every relationship since I was five.
Basically, I ended up putting a stop to any and all off-site activities. When contact couldn't be avoided, like say he came over totally unannounced and I couldn't pretend I was helping deliver panda babies in China, I'd veto going out and instead queue up The Happening on Netflix. If I got roped into going over to his place, which I agreed to once or twice for strategic reasons, I'd bring a DVD copy of The Happening. I'd also spend the whole day eating undercooked chili. That way, I could spend a solid hour in his bathroom. And then, oh no, I'd discover that the toilet wasn't flushing so he'd have to go take a look at it. Between the shit on TV and the shit in the bathroom, I quickly became the kind of guy you don't want to spend too much time with.
Then I ordered Domino's to complete the shit trifecta.
Now maybe Machiavellian diarrhea isn't your cup of tea. For some reason. There are still probably plenty of ways you can go from "number one bestie" to "call the police, I think Nick Nolte is in the house." Have you considered not bathing and sitting really close? Unrepentant double dipping of every food item you come across and/or licking a spoon before using it again? Boinking your friend's mom and insisting it was an accident? There's a rich tapestry of approaches one can take.
The goal in avoiding a shitty friend is consistency. Never give in to that guilty urge that tells you maybe they changed, or makes you try to remember the good times you once had. That's not doing you any favors. That's what you do for a friend who messed up once, or Drake's music. That won't work with a truly bad egg.
An important thing to remember here is that the saying "it takes two to tango" is fucking dumb and only relevant to the tango. You didn't make your friend shitty, so don't feel bad about shunning them. This happens way too often. Humans seem hardwired to want to give assholes another chance. I won't get political here except to say that you should really look at politics. We sure do like to keep electing shitty politicians, don't we? And we like to let shitty people have more and more chances to maybe not be shitty, which is like expecting your cat to start barking one morning because you always wanted a dog. Ain't happening.
The world is full of good people. If you got saddled with a douchenozzle, don't let it drag you down. We've all been saddled with a douchenozzle. Until such time as Teslas come equipped with advanced dick detectors, we'll all keep being saddled with them because a lot of times, these people are good at disguising their shittiness until much later in the relationship.
A friendship should be an important, fulfilling, fun relationship. If there are moments of stress, they're ones you should be navigating together, not causing for the other person. You need to be on the same level at all times, equal and supportive and totally willing to laugh at each others' fart jokes, and running interference when your friend is trying to hook up at the bar but some knob is cock-blocking them. That's how friendship works. No guilt, no abuse, no undermining you, or making you feel bad, or using you in ways you're not comfortable with. By and large, you're probably a decent person, right? You don't need that shit in your life.
No one should have to eat Domino's.
For your own sanity, just think of them like Old Yeller. Yeah, he had his moments but in the end, he still had to be taken out behind the woodshed. This is your friend's woodshed moment. You're doing both of you a favor by metaphorically splattering their brains across a tree stump, which I assume is what occurred behind the scenes in that film. To be honest, I don't recall if that's how the movie ended at all or if I'm just making that up. They did shoot him, right?
I just Googled it and yes, they shot Old Yeller. Shoot your friend. Metaphorically. I can't stress that part enough.
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