You know who she is. She’s that friend who’s always asking you about your life and what you’re doing, with an oh-so-interested, concerned expression permanently plastered across her face, as she skillfully touches on every sensitive topic in your emotional suitcase with running commentary that makes you feel somehow worse than before.
“And how’s your Hubs? Is he still working with that 20-year-old blonde tramp that was all over him at the Christmas party? Well, despite what everyone is saying, I’m sure nothing ever happened between them.” “And tell me about your daughter. Has she stopped dating that creepy guy with the tattoos and all those facial piercings? It must be so hard for you to watch her keep picking losers.” “So your mother is coming for the weekend? She must be back from her cruise with your sister. Tell me again why you weren’t invited?”
One of the benefits of aging is that we reach a point in our lives when we get to choose who we spend our time with. We can be selective, letting in only those people who lift us up, encourage us, make us laugh, forgive our mistakes, celebrate our wins, and genuinely grieve our losses. And we do the same for them, because that’s how it works.
Longevity in our lives, parallel office cubicles, or shared DNA are no longer deciding factors. Yes, we’ve been friends since junior high, or we’ve worked together for three years, or maybe we’re family, but you’re also kind of a bitch and when I spend time with you, I always leave feeling “less.” So buh-bye. And while you’re headed out the door, please take these people with you:
The flake. She shines at planning events. She packs our calendars with weekend wine tastings, girls’ night out, movie nights, or duo mani’s and pedi’s at the local day spa. But then you get the last-minute cancellation. Every. Single. Time. So don’t hold her seat at the restaurant, because she’s not coming.
The user. Whenever she needs something, whether it’s helping her move her furniture around or being the lookout while she stalks his new girlfriend all over town, you’re the first person she calls. “Please, please, please. I’ll owe you one” is her wheedling promise. But somehow she’s always in a no-cell-service zone when you try to call.
The whiner. This woman’s life is a mess. And before the second glass of wine, you’ll know every detail. Hubs is not paying attention to her, she hates her job, her kids are spoiled rotten and entitled, and her beloved shiatsu needs $1000 surgery, so she’s thinking of just putting him down, and life is just so haaaaaard. 45 minutes into our evening and you’re ready to shoot yourself.
The gossip. She knows everything about everyone. Her favorite activity is curling up on the couch with you and a bottle of wine, while she narrates the evening with private, salacious detail of other people’s lives. While this may have been fun the first couple of times, you begin to realize that this is all she talks about, ever. And remember, “Do it with me, do it to me.” All that trash gossip she’s sharing with you about them? Guess what she’s telling them about you.
The drama queen. She’s happiest in the midst of a personal crisis, so she creates them wherever she goes. She’s exhausting, needy, and if you let her, will suck your energy until you’ve got nothing left. Then you’re the bad guy because “you don’t care about her.” No one can care enough. It’s not humanly possible. Save yourself. Run for the nearest exit.
The expert. She’s got advice on every topic you’ve ever brought up. She knows what you’re doing wrong with your kids, why Hubs has been less attentive lately, why your boss has been so hard on you, the best way to host your weekend dinner party, why you can’t lose weight, and how to stop your dog from peeing in the house. She has all the answers, all the time, and starts every sentence with, “What you need to do is…” What I need to do is throw you out of my car. While I’m driving.
The Eeyore, who starts every day with ears down and, “It’s gonna rain.” No matter how good your news is or how great the day has been, Eeyore will find a way to prick your balloon. “I just won the lottery!” “The tax department is going to take half.” “I just got these fabulous boots on sale for $250!” “They had them down the street for $175.” “I’m thinking of getting my hair cut short.” “If you don’t like it, it’ll take forever to grow back.” While this can be adorable in a children’s book character, it’s annoying in an adult.
The bombshell. While undeniably beautiful, she dresses to showcase every asset. Everything she wears looks like date night at the MILF Motel, and if there’s a man within a two-mile radius, she’ll be working her moves. It doesn’t matter if he’s married, barely out of high school, or in a wheelchair. She needs constant validation of her desirability, and if her flirting with your hubs bothers you, well, you should try harder to look like her and maybe he wouldn’t stray. These women were the originators of the bathroom brawl.
Most of us have met and befriended these women at some point in our lives. If we’re lucky, they’re now just memories. And they helped shape the fabulous friendships we have today. For that, we’re grateful. But I’m still not accepting her friend request on Facebook.