Friendship is a toxic waste of time

I don’t wanna be friends, and I sure as fuck don’t need a BFF

artist Finbarr Dac

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” — C.S. Lewis

But — big caveat — it has to actually give value. And it often doesn’t.

You can like other people without wanting to be friends with them

There are people out there who skirt friendship on basis of social anxiety or sociopathic tendencies. But that’s not always the sitch — at least entirely.

I think people are rad. I like them a fucking lot, and I can make friends just fine. I just don’t want to.

People as individuals — and their most human everyday experiences — are actually my favorite subjects in the entire universe to think and write about (proof: see post history), and I find other people, on a whole, utterly fascinating.

I also like talking to people, and I don’t even mind making small talk — certainly helps out being a bartender — and I’ll sometimes gamify it to amuse myself. To be fair, I got a lot better at this after starting my own company, where I was responsible for sales, and whereas before I would often dodge small talk with the best of them, I can now do it with nearly anyone — and usually I even enjoy it.

So when it comes to making friends, there’s no problem with logistics. I do have a few friends, have had several best friends, and make friends rather easily. I actually truly don’t understand what people are talking about when they complain about how hard it is to make friends — especially “as an adult,” or after moving to a new city. I just moved halfway across the country and am having a harder time not making friends.

People want to like other people, and the formula is freakishly easy.

I just don’t want to do it.

Friendships are little socially-construed gremlin children

I don’t really get it, this arbitrary compulsion to have friends.

I guess, tbf, I think most relationships are sort of socially-construed and bastardized. Like I also don’t understand why we uphold the social obligations that keep us all tethered to family members, which we chalk up as “love” and then protect vehemently, regardless of how healthy they are.

I mean, okay, I do get it. I understand it’s a value system thing. I can see what’s going on, with regard to tradition and stability and social norms. I get the appeal.

For other people.

And as much as I’m willing to say “you do you, boo boo,” Imma do me, too. You want to go through life scooping up other human beings like carnival teddy bears and lining them all up for your own amusement, go for it. But that’s just not my bag, baby.

Most friendships are codependent

Especially the “BFF” ones.

They’re so often made up of two enablers who do little more than remind each other, in a time of micro-crisis (“my Tinder date ghosted me!”), that they are not alone and others are fucking up in the same way.

Proof: the countless cutesy memes and tweets and tumblr posts and t-shirts and whatever else, saying as much. Here’s one, just for example:

And like, I guess. But also no thank you.

People start to feel entitled to your personal life

And not in a loving way.

People get a little close to you and suddenly think they’re entitled to know everything about you. They position this as though it’s “caring,” but it’s fucking not. They’re just boorish and impolite. They’re more interested in satiating their own curiosity — and probably immediately telling someone else, if there’s a good story — than they are genuinely interested in your experience or concerns.

It’s the conversational equivalent of inviting someone over to your home and them rooting through your medicine cabinet and sock drawers.

This is rude AF and not cute.

When I moved from Chicago, people who barely knew me would text and blatantly ask: what happened?? Did you and your boyfriend breakup?? Did someone die?? One laughed: “I love how fucking random you are!”

And, like, wow. Tact, much? Fucking hi. And good-fucking-bye.

You try and tell me that’s “care.”

Most people don’t share your viewpoints or values

And if you don’t share those, you really cannot be friends.

I rode a motorcycle cross-country in the middle of Midwest winter. I went from making six digits, then owning my own business, to being a bartender. I’m an attractive woman in her early 30’s and marriage is nowhere near the top of my list of priorities.

Let’s just stop with those three things and ask ourselves: how much time do you imagine I have to spend “explaining” these decisions to others? How much of that do you think is more like me making them feel better about my decisions?

Spoiler: a lot.

An exhausting lot. And I literally have so many other things I’d rather do than walk someone through the intimate details of my life and value system, when all they’re doing on the other side is consuming, judging, and refusing to understand.

People get too grabby with your attention

The sheer amount of texting and hanging out and validation is just too much, fam.

You cannot text me every day. Srsly. I don’t text my mom every day, I don’t text my partner every day, and I sure as fuck don’t want to see a text from you every day — or even once a week. There is not nearly enough time in the universe if everyone in my life did this, and I’m not about to make a special exception for you.

One of my “good” friends (though not a BFF by any means) wanted a standing call with me every Saturday night, because she’d been dumped by a dude — whom she’d dated for a few months… several weeks earlier.

She wanted this because “Saturday nights are the hardest.” And like, betch… for you they are! But at this point you’re just pulling me down into this with you, and making my Saturday night about your inability to get over some douchebag you barely dated.

I did this 2 or 3 times before I opted out.

People use other people as crutches

Rather than getting their shit together

My god, this constant fucking need for reassurance. My fuck is it exhausting.

I’ll make friends sometimes and I’ll really invest and ask about their love life and really fucking listen and care.

And all of a sudden I’ll realize that we’ve had the same fucking conversation like 12 times. And once I see this, I’m like “holy shit, what is this?! Nah, hard stop.”

Because if you don’t care enough about your life to fix it, why the fuck are you wasting my time, expecting me to care?

Just for the record, since this is their “situation” and my advice like 80% of the time: he’s just not that into you. Move the fuck on.

People get too grabby with your time

One of my clients once called me and left a harried voicemail demanding that I call her back “immediately!” (Not because something was wrong, but because she had something “exciting” to tell me, and needed me to call back “as soon as you get this!”)

I did not fucking appreciate that.

Fuck. Off.

My own mother doesn’t get to demand “immediate” from me. My partner, who’s my favorite person in the world, doesn’t get to. My boss doesn’t get to. The only person who’s ever come close to having my immediate attention was my primary client stakeholder on the program I built as a software manager, and only because his company spent several millions a year with us, and was our second-largest program by revenue at the time.

So until you are that, you do not get to make any assumptions or demands regarding where you fall on my list of priorities for my “immediate” attention.

When I called her back after a few hours, the first thing she said was, “man, you are tough to get ahold of!!” And the first thing I thought in response was, “I’d bet anything this is part of why you’re single.”

Where she got off thinking she could demand I drop everything absolutely blew my mind.

But people do this to each other.

People are petty, envious fuckers

I stopped spending time with one of my best friends (see? I have had them before) when she started saying shit like “you’re so far ahead of me in life,” followed by lots of questions, backwards compliments, and offhanded insults regarding my work and love life. When I started my company, she told me, obviously as a result of envy-fueled conversations with her boyfriend, also a business owner, “he said starting a company isn’t that hard. It’s just a job until you hire people.” And I was like, “uh yeah, pretty much true.” So maybe just do it yourself instead of pushing me down about it?

I thought we were equal, and I adored her, but that shit became exhausting.

That’s not a friend.

In general: people are selfish and use other people

To feel better about themselves.

They use them to soothe loneliness or self-doubt. They use them for reassurance. They use them to distract themselves from the emptiness of their own lives. They use them when they are bored. They use them when they want to do something but can’t possibly do it alone. They use them to vent — about bullshit. They use them for their opinions, so that they don’t have to make their own. They use them to feel prettier — the classic hot chick/fat chick combo. They use them to hear themselves talk, and they choose likeminded people who will echo back “you’re so right.” Some people actually collect friends so that they’ll have “enough bridesmaids or groomsmen” or guests at their party. Like, are you fucking kidding me? Your values are all kinds of fucked.

People use other people as barometers, so they know they’re on track — or at least doing as well as if not better than those they’re calling “friends.”

I don’t get anything out of friendship

Does that make me a fair-weather friend? Nah. You have to first be friends to be a fair-weathered one.

“You shouldn’t go into friendship thinking about what you get out of it.”

Or:

“Socializing is more in the sphere of basic needs than it is in the capitalist interpretation of the world ‘what will I gain from that.’”

Lies.

Of course you should think about what you get out of it. Otherwise, why the fuck would you even foster relationships? I mean, really, though. Why.

This isn’t about “capitalism,” but it is about basic ROI on our time and energy and attention.

There is literally nothing I need from friends. I humor people and hang out with them if they ask me enough times and don’t seem too needy, and, to be fair, yes I have fun, but there’s nothing I get out of managing those relationships in the long term.

I don’t need their life advice. I definitely don’t care about their fashion advice. I don’t need their book or restaurant or podcast recommendations. I don’t need them to keep me company when I’m lonely, or reassure me when I’m in doubt. I don’t need to be entertained. I don’t need the buddy system to go out into public. And I most certainly don’t need someone to squeal “omg me toooo!” at anything.


“That’s selfish, conceited, or narcissistic”

Is it, tho? It’s selfish not to allow yourself to be used? It’s selfish not to use others? Then sure, I fucking guess.

“I wonder how well you’d fare in the event of some cataclysmic event where food isn’t readily available, electricity isn’t at your fingertips, and shelter won’t be so easy to find. Having friends you could rely on would be quite nice when the time came.”

Hold up — that’s less selfish?

Cuz, I mean, keeping people around just so they could help me out in the event of an emergency kinda sounds more, not less, selfish to me.

“That’s sad”

I mean, again, is it tho?

If I’m not sad about it, then who are you to swoop in and project emotions? Sorry my variety of happiness makes you sad.

This is a great fucking example of why we cannot and will not be friends.

“You’re just covering up your loneliness/frustration”

Lol, nah. I’m not lonely or frustrated at all.

Your projection here— not to mention lack of understanding or conceptualization around what I’m saying — is another great example of why we’re not friends.

But, but! “People need friends”

Nah. People need relationships, but what we really need is rich and genuine ones.

“We are fragile and social animals. Because our brain still cares a lot of those primitive behaviors. Also, science has mostly shown that interpersonal relationships are heavily responsible for the feeling of happiness… not even psychopaths escape those statistics.”

Yes, people are social creatures, and we live longer, healthier lives when we have interpersonal relationships. I don’t disagree — and am certainly not immune to this.

It’s just that I approach friendships more deliberately, and am more likely to pursue a friendship as a result of meeting an awesome person, rather than moving through life sifting people I meet with the end goal of “filling up friendship slots.” (See below)


A note on the gender thing:

People are always telling women what they should and shouldn’t be doing, and the biggest offenders are other women.

“Women should support women”

I have no problem supporting women. I’ll listen to women podcasts, read women authors, watch films women put out. I watched Girls religiously.

But supporting the work of women does not make me obligated to have them over for tea.

“Women need women friends”

Do they?? But y tho?!

Wat is with this arbitrary assessment and expectation of who we all “need” to be friends with. What do women offer that men don’t, and how is this assertion not inherently sexist AF?

I “need” women friends? Not women friends like this, I don’t.

Why we gotta make this about gender, anyway?

I mean, for real. You make this out to be some issue I have with gender, but part of me is kinda like “that’s you and not me.” I maintain a certain lifestyle, and especially at this age, I have found far more dudes than girls who can dig it.


The friends worth having

The sort of people I do have in my life:

  • Don’t need friends. They don’t go through life grasping at other people’s coattails like beggars in the street. They’re fully functional and rad in their own right. Awesome — let’s get a beer.
  • Approach their friends for mutual growth, not as crutches or entertainment
  • Don’t “dig through your stuff,” conversationally-speaking. They don’t pry into shit or ask about more than I’ve offered, and they definitely don’t do it after 1 or 2 hangouts.
  • Don’t make demands on your attention or time
  • Share values and viewpoints. It’s fantastic when we can compare notes on, say, business strategy, rather than someone just saying “omg, you should totally (insert inane idea)” or asking me why I don’t have kids instead.
  • Are significant others. (“Friendship” being number 2.5 of the only 2.5 things I want in a partner.)
  • Are colleagues, bc #sharedgoals
  • Are rad as fuck. Just worth repeating 🙂

When it comes to people like this, I’m happy to chill with them. It’s just that people like this are few and far between.

1 thought on “Friendship is a toxic waste of time

  1. Aditya Karumanchi August 28, 2017 — 2:44 pm

    Sometimes, I think every reasonable person would feel the same way in such situations. But you’re the first one who voiced this, and I’ve lost count of how many times I was thinking “Yes!” while reading your post (not to mention how much it made me chuckle). And I thought I was being a closet misanthrope for holding similar views.
    Now I’m gonna shamelessly use your wisdom for my own benefit. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

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