A brief snapshot from my 40th birthday party. And oh yeah, my friends are hot and my man (who threw me the party) rocks.
Best time of my life. Thanks everyone 🙂
A brief snapshot from my 40th birthday party. And oh yeah, my friends are hot and my man (who threw me the party) rocks.
Best time of my life. Thanks everyone 🙂
Gotta admit folks. I’m feeling the pensive these days. I’ve been trying to figure out where these clouds of melancholy are coming from. You know the one… the kind which lodges inside your chest cavity and won’t let go? So, I’ve been going through my mental checklist, of things which usually would or should bother me. And the truth is, none of the usuals are cranking my chain. Mr. Mix and I are cruising in the happy convertible. Sweet Pea and Drama Queen are enhancing the fine street art of sibling rivalry, but otherwise hunky dory. I love my work, I have wonderful friends…
So why am I feeling…lonely? Yep, that’s it. I feel disconnected, even in the midst of all this good.
And to answer the question I KNOW some of you are thinking, uh NO, I did NOT stop taking my meds. And I’m NOT depressed about turning 40.
Now that I’m all free associating and all, I think I’m still mourning the loss of a friend of mine…you see, I’m an only child, which means friends are, like, heavily layered and meaningful for me and shit. Once I love you, I mean REALLY love you as a friend, that’s it. You’re usually in for life.
Um, I guess until you’re not.
This friend is not a bad or malicious person. And in very different ways, this person was one of the best hangs around. But I made a promise to myself when turning the big 4-0 that I’d only have cheerleader-type friends in my life from now on (see previous post). And I’m sticking to it.
I am sure that this person feels I let them down as well…and I’m sure on some level, that’s true. But if s/he takes a moment, s/he knows full well that I loved them dearly, and even though I’m not the easiest person to deal with, all I ever wanted for them was to find out what made them happy.
But that happy can’t come at my expense. I can’t put up with someone always living glass-half-empty or with thinly veiled, passive aggressive jabs. You got a problem with me, then spill it like a big kid or shut the fuck up. You can’t find the happy, then get your own therapist and get on some meds already.
So I’ve been cleaning house. And while it’s necessary, it doesn’t mean it’s easy for me either. So there.
10. “Circle,” (Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians) Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars.
09. “Don’t Panic,” (Coldplay) Parachutes.
08. “Phantom Mountain,” (Laura Veirs) Wrecking.
07. “Unraveling,” (Deb Talen) A Bird Flies Out.
06. “The Funeral,” (Band of Horses) Everything All the Time.
05. “Last Goodbye,” (Jeff Buckley) Grace.
04. “Lonely,” (Tom Waits) Closing Time.
03. “Pitseleh,” (Elliott Smith) XO.
02. “Rehearsals for Departure,” (Damien Jurado) Rehearsals for Departures.
01. “Revelation Big Sur,” (Red House) Songs for a Blues Guitar.
Sorry I haven’t been around recently. In addition to the usual rumble and tumble of everyday life, I also took some time out to visit one of my best friends for her surprise 40th birthday. It is ironically fitting that I start this post talking about my friend Lisa because she was the first friend who really taught me how to be a friend. Of course, I had other friends before her, but much of those experiences were highly conditional upon social rankings or what resources I had to give (not necessarily material goods, but precious resources nonetheless). Lisa unconditionally loved me, probably even more than some of my family members. She genuinely cheered for me when I succeeded and gently but firmly scolded me when I acted inappropriately. She helped me grow up, and did a fine job, if I may say so myself.
Over the same weekend of Lisa’s party, I had a run-in with two other friends of mine. I can’t get into the details, but let’s just say each of them – for different reasons – put me in a terrible position. The kind you shouldn’t ask friends to do. I ended up mending fences with one and cutting off the other. It has all been incredibly eye-opening and painful for me, as I’m sure as it has been for them. The friend I said goodbye to – and I did actually call and say goodbye – is someone I’ve known since I was 19 years old. I never could have imagined we would be this far apart from one another, and that it would be me insisting on circumstances staying that way. The whole weekend has had me thinking about friendships, and as I quickly approach my 40th birthday, what kind of friendships I want for the second part of my life. Which brings me to the title of this post: What Kind of Friends Do YOU Have? Cheerleaders, Competitors, or Leeches? Let me explain:
These are the crown jewels of friends. They are generally positive people who root for your success and happiness. While they’re an optimistic bunch, they don’t blow smoke up your ass when you’re wrong, and make sure to set you straight. They’re also the kind of friends who are still happy for you, even when things are wanting in their own lives…at most, they will feel a ‘velvet envy’ – meaning, they’re excited for you and just wish the same for themselves. If you find yourself one of these, grab onto them for dear life because they’re about as rare as a big winning lotto ticket.
The competitor friend does really like you. Really. Just as long as they feel they’re one up on you in the rat race of life. Maybe not in all areas, but in enough to make themselves feel better. It’s a shame because otherwise, they’re a great hang. And even more of a shame because most friends fall into this category.
We’ve all had at least one of these – the vampire friend. They call you constantly, to the point where you other family and friends are wondering what the hell is wrong with them (and resentful of all the energy they suck out of you). They’re never really happy, even when things are going well for them, and when things suck, boy has the world comes to an end. What’s even worse is that when you offer some constructive solutions, they’ll give you lip service that they’ll think about it, then just go back to complaining and sucking the life force right outta you. Because that’s what they feed on. Get it?
Run, don’t walk, away from someone like this – not just to save yourself, but to hopefully get him or her to someday get their shit together once and for all.
Throughout the entire debacle, my cousin Lee was counseling me. Lee is not just my cousin, but is also the older sister I never had. I revel in her awesomeness, and she’s not just a family member, she’s my head cheerleader. And you know what she said to me after the whole weekend-crappy-thingy? “Sometimes, the universe brings these kind of situations to a head all at one, in order for you to clear out the negativity from your life and start a new cycle. I think that’s what has happened here for you, honey.”
And you know what? I believe she’s right on. Thank you Lee (and Gia, of course). Thank you Lisa. Thank you Raina. Thank you Erin. Thank you Michele. Thank you Jason. Thanks to the friends who are my soul sisters (and one brother).
Dr. Ms. Mix and Bitch,
I moved to the City two years ago and have only developed vague friendships. Early on, I met a very gregarious guy who has introduced me to his friends and friends he’s made since we’ve been together. All of my quasi-friendships are with people he’s met and brought into our lives. They are all nice people and we seem to get along, but I have yet to establish myself beyond being Great Guy’s Girlfriend with anyone.
This has caused tension within an otherwise great relationship. Boyfriend feels the pressure of making friends for me and I don’t hang out with anyone else unless he’s around, so I’m either with Boyfriend or by myself. I know it’s a two-way street and I have made (albeit, small) gestures to those I’ve hit it off with, but they don’t seem receptive. It’s always a battle to make play dates and I’ve pretty much given up.
I’m starting to feel super-isolated and concerned for my mental health. I shouldn’t depend on Boyfriend to fulfill every relationship aspect humans crave. My best female friend lives across the country and I haven’t seen her in a year. I miss girl friendships very much, but have no idea how to start one. Never in my life have I been approached by a friendly stranger and I couldn’t imagine doing it to someone. I am out-and-about the City all the time, but everyone remains a stranger. So, how do I begin? Part of me wants to meet people completely separate from the Boyfriend’s circle so I can really establish myself as an individual. Boyfriend hangs out with friends by himself a lot, so now I feel a competitive edge to finding a friendship. I know where to meet people, but I guess it simply boils down to: How?
Thanks for any advice,
I Got the Great Relationship, How About a Great Friendship?
Dear Great Girl,
It’s tough when you team up with a Golden Boy, ain’t it? Half the time you’re trying to enjoy your relationship and the other half just trying to keep up. So, here’s a suggestion:
Because he’s King of the Social Butterflies and that’s obviously not in your nature. Doesn’t mean you don’t try to branch out, but here’s the kicker darlin’…the more you try to “make friends” the more likely you won’t find them. Why? Because loneliness is the bug repellent of relationships my friend…it guarantees anything worthwhile will flee from the stink. The ultimate pickle of a situation, huh kid. So, what to do?
Take it from a gypsy that’s moved from town to town for years…the key is to get involved in a cause or class or some organized group activity that suits YOUR interests. Get involved – get outside yourself and your own head. And through the time you spend doing something you love, you will eventually find some kindred souls. But remember, it takes time…and takes effort from you. Social skills are an acquired ability, sweetie. In fact, they are a lost art form.
The bottom line for your boyfriend is probably him not wanting to feel emotionally responsible for you. He wants to know you’re enough of your own woman that he doesn’t need to worry about your mental health. And you know, that’s a fair point. The tricks are remembering these:
* Friendships are like good, plump, ripe fruit – the best grow organically and slowly over time.
* The best way to even ensure friendships can grow is to be the most interesting hang you can be,
* Friendships are like romantic relationships…ask them all about themselves and they’ll think YOUR fascinating.
Good luck Ms. Shyness. The world is waiting for you.
Sorry, no mix today, sweetums…
Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,
So I have this really good friend, who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend from a million years ago (okay, about two, and we were friends for a really long time before that). We split pretty amicably, and there was never really any drama when we made the “Just Friends” switch. He lives all the way across the country now, but we keep up via email and the occasional IM session. We’re not as close as we used to be, but we still exchange gifts at birthdays and Christmas and… well, maybe you’ve noticed that Christmas is coming up kind of quickly. I’ve already got this year’s gift (it’s a really cool book), and I’m ready to send it off, but here’s the problem: He has a brand new live in girlfriend who apparently gets very jealous. Plus, you know, she lives with him. What’s the protocol here? Should I send her a present, too? I don’t really know her, so that seems kind of weird, but she’s really sensitive so maybe I should send her a book or something, too? Should I pick up a dvd or bake some cookies or something and put both of their names on it? Should I just send the solo present? Not send a present at all to avoid causing potential drama for my friend? Most of the people who have met his girlfriend think just sending that book might cause drama because I’m a female friend and he and I have a prior history. I just think it kind of sucks that all of a sudden I have to worry about whether or not I should give a friend a Christmas present. I don’t want to cause any problems, though, and I certainly don’t want to hurt the girlfriend’s feelings. I don’t want to Grinch out on my friend, either. I usually LOVE picking out and sending gifts to my friends, but this is kind of turning into a great big “AUGH, I have no idea what the best thing to do is and my head hurts and I’m just going to go and drink eggnog until I explode and then I won’t have to worry about it because I’ll just be a giant eggnog splatter in the living room and eggnog splatters can’t mail presents anyway” kind of situation.
Also, what music would you recommend for an overthinker dealing with good friends who are exes, Christmas, and very sensitive live in girlfriends?
Dude, Christmas used to be easier
Dear Christmas Dudette,
Oh how well acquainted am I with this pickle of a situation. So let me cut to the quick here: I think you send the book AND some cookies addressed to both of them. That way, you respect the seriousness of your friend’s new relationship without spending too much extra cash. Since they live together, not acknowledging her in some way would def add unnecessary tension. And address the card to both of them. If after that, she has issues with you, then, well, she just has ISSUES.
A fair warning my good intended friend…if your guy friend continues on with this girl, don’t be surprised if you lose the friendship along the way. Unless you get to meet her and become friends with her too. And you STILL may lose him if she still thinks you’re a threat. And remember, the one who fucks the guy always wins.
Why do I say this? Because I used to have a few ex-boyfriends who became really good friends of mine. And while my husband never had an issue (because he rocks), the girlfriends/wives of my friends sure did. Slowly but surely, I lost every single one of them (the guy friends of mine who remain were always platonic). Usually because the gals are the ones who control the social schedule and they made sure to be “too busy.”
But here’s the kicker…friendship is a two-way tango. These ex-boyfriends-turned-friends didn’t insist on keeping the friendship either (at least not that I saw). So you can do everything right here, and you still may lose him. I hope not. Remember this too – it is too easy to demonize the current girlfriend, saying if she wasn’t such an insecure mess, you wouldn’t have to worry about all this. And while this is very true, don’t forget your friend chose her – TO LIVE WITH no less – so what does it say about him that he picked a girl threatened so easily?
Anyway, I sincerely wish you the best of luck this holiday. And a drama-free year to come.
ATTENTION MIX TAPERS: This is where I would usually post a mix via the Mixwit system, but they’ve informed me that they’re “going out of business.” So if anyone can share with me a music playing mechanism that actually works on wordpress, please email me.
10. “Friends of Mine,” (Duran Duran)
9. “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance,” (Vampire Weekend)
8. “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own,” (U2)
7. “Jealous Girl,” (Sarah Dashew)
6. “Tiger, My Friend,” (Psapp)
5. “The Boy in the Bubble,” (Patti Smith)
4. “This Woman’s Work,” (Kate Bush)
3. “Accidental Man,” (The Damnwells)
2. “Rehearsals for Departures,” (Damien Jurado)
1. “Ex-Girlfriend,” (American Music Club)
See you in 2009!
Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,
My friend Sarah and I have always been very close. She’s sweet and funny and forgetful and ditzy. I used to find all that stuff kind of endearing. Not anymore.
She’s madly in love with this guy – her first real boyfriend – and now it’s like I don’t even exist anymore. She doesn’t always call me back and I hardly see her either. It doesn’t help that the guy I thought I was in love with blew me off. And while the guy isn’t worth crying too hard over, I am bummed not to have my own fairy tale/happy ending like Sarah. I know we’re only 21-years-old, but how come it has happened for her and not for me? I am so angry with her, I can’t even see straight. Am I being a bitch? Am I just jealous? Or does she suck as badly as I think she does. Signed, Enraged and Plotting Murder
Are you being a bitch?
Are you jealous?
Is she as bad as you think?
Yes, but cut her some slack. It’s her first love.
There’s no question that Sarah needs to learn how to balance love and friendship. Most of us girls learn these lessons back in high school, so she’s a lil’ late coming to the cool kids’ lunch table here. Just break in to your momma’s medicine cabinet, pop a Vicodin, chill out, and talk to her calmly about how you feel. If you two are really friends, you’ll work it out.
(I can’t believe women still believe in this shit. Ever hear of The Cinderella Complex? No? Ya see…THAT’S what happens when all you Generation Yers thumb your nose at feminism. Tisk tisk.)
As far as the whole “happy ending” thing, remember this is her FIRST boyfriend and she’s 21-years-old. She may feel it’s forever, and she should, but what’s more likely is that Sarah will have a few more fairy tales and frog princes before she’s ready to hang up her magic Princess shoes.
(Dammit, now all the foot freaks who troll my blog now have another post to spew to. Yuuuuck.)
Your time will come as well, and after the endorfin high dulls to a low hum, you’ll look back on your carefree college years and lament over them “good ol’ dayz.” Meanwhile, feeling jealous is human…deciding to see the big picture here and showing some paitence and character (or not) will determine what kind of woman you want to be. Choose wisely.
Speaking of “big picture” remember what John Lennon said: “Life’s what happens while you’re making other plans.” No matter what’s going on for you, this is YOUR time. Otherwise known as your only-sanctioned-selfish-phase…the next one doesn’t come until the kids are off to college, so buck up and get a clue.
(John and Yoko going through heroin withdrawal. Now THAT will get ya to live in the now, motherfuckers)
And hey, if you don’t like your life, make a plan to change it. You’re the architect of your own misery or happiness. The choice is yours.
Here’s a mini mix for you camper. I’m too damm tired to lay it down right.
5. “Stupid Girl,” [Garbage] Garbage.
4. “Jealousy,” [Stereophonics] You Gotta Go There to Come Back.
3. “Happy Ending,” [MIKA] Life in Cartoon Motion.
2. “Fairytale of New York,” [The Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl] The Best of The Pogues.
1. “Belladonna,” [Stevie Nicks] Belladonna.
I love my friends. Like good fruit, I only pick the best – and I’m thrilled when one has ripened.
Back in college, I was a member of a certain Jewish-leaning sorority whose Greek letters looked like they spelled the word “EAT ” on our Champion sweatshirts. With our big hair, pale pink lipsticked pouts, and metallic blue underliner, my sorority sisters and I thought we were the shits. We all walked around entitled and spoiled as hell, figuring any other girls who dissed us were just jealous and wanted to be us.
And we fucked all their boyfriends too.
Even at the time, I knew we were ridiculous. I later resigned from the sorority in a scene reminiscent of an underground cult rescue and recovery mission, but I digress. One of the few things to come out of that period worth holding onto was my friendship with a girl named Debbie Reed.
While everyone thought they were something special, we all knew Debbie actually WAS something spectacular. She was beautiful and smart, self-deprecating and real. One day she was winning the Miss University of Miami pageant then the next day snorting milk out of her nose. Plus, she had somehow lived all over the world and yet never came home with a fake accent or an attitude.
I liked her so much I became engaged to her brother for five minutes. When that relationship didn’t work out, and I no longer was in contact with the family, I think I missed my friendship with her more than I did her brother…but no matter…he married the right girl for him and has a great litter of kids, Debbie and I are back in touch, and the woman is about to release her FIRST teen fiction book. How’s THAT for a happy ending?
Anyway, leave it to Debbie to take her time as a talent booker for a modeling and acting agency and turn it into something productive. Go out and buy a copy immediately for that angst teen in your life, and support the good eggs out there.