Tag Archives: friendships

What Kind of Friends Do YOU Have? Cheerleaders, Competitors, or Vampires?

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:

Cheerleaders

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.

Competitors

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.

Vampires

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).

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Christmas Edition

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?

Sincerely,

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!