Sometimes, people around you are nice and cool. Sometimes, the friends you have are the best ever and all you could ask for. Usually, though, your friends are just as humans as you are, and they have their own faults and issues. And sometimes, their issues prove way too big and too much of a hassle for you or most people to be able to keep a friendship going with them. I had a small yet big problem with a friend just a while ago, which I believe might’ve led to a definite break between both of us. Interestingly enough, I’m not too bothered about it since in some way I started it, and rightly so.
I stood up for myself against him, and apparently he didn’t like it that I dared defy the bullying and demeaning he enjoyed disguising as jokes. But I’m getting ahead of myself on this.
This friend, whom I’ll call A because that’s the first character I found when I last checked an abecedary and because that’s actually the first letter of his name, has had a rather rocky relationship with me from the get-go. Being an outcast who’s not a stranger to wearing masks all the time to hide his true nature, he immediately hit close to home with me, what with me having been on exactly the same spot not too long ago. After what wasn’t really a hard time, we became close, since it seemed rather easy to get close to him, and I myself am the kind of person people for some reason easily trust.
Problems, however, started soon enough. We were, and are pretty incompatible people, with me being the careful yet ambitious kind, and him being the careless kind of person, a guy who at 17 had literally no idea, not even the faintest clue of what he wanted to do with his life, and who would actively avoid talking about anything deep, generally giving out a silly answer to any serious question, as if by joking about the subject it would go away. I bore with it, knowing what wearing masks in order to hide your true self and keep people from hurting you is like, after all, there’s a reason why I vouch for being yourself no matter what, and that reason is personal experience.
However, no amount of personal experience ever seemed to be able to get through to him, and soon enough I gave up trying to get to him – He seemed to trust me, but only enough to tell me small things about himself, except when it came to sexuality, where his friend-of-a-friend stories and personal confessions would quickly fill up several warehouses. Also, he seemed to like me, but only as long as I agreed with him on every single thing, and any kind of disagreement would quickly devolve into him calling me names, because there’s absolutely no way anyone remotely smart would ever have an opinion that differed from that of a seventeen year old high school graduate.
And that was actually the first issue we had, quite some time ago. Back when we first started getting close, he claimed to have been in love with this girl who he’d only ever describe as cute, and never as anything else. Yes, a straight guy who could only ever call his girl cute. Not hot, cute. Cute as such a relationship might have been for an onlooker, to me the girl was the lamest thing ever, a whiny, self-absorbed girl whose main hobby seemed to be ordering people around anytime, anywhere.
I, making a showcase of my never silent personality, was very vocal about this since I met her, several months before he and her became a couple, back when he wouldn’t even admit liking her in any way beyond platonic. But suddenly, after they became a couple, it seemed to him a horrible thing that I couldn’t like her, and it became a horrible issue for him when I requested he didn’t bring her around when he came over to my place – This after he brought her over and proceeded to spend over an hour with her on my bedroom’s terrace, just whispering to each other and completely ignoring me. Yeah, there’s a reason why you shouldn’t hang out with couples, and that’s precisely it. Now just try doing it with a couple that’s half comprised by somebody you loathe. It becomes way worse.
After he decided to become very vocal (read: insulting) about how it was a ridiculous offense for me not to like his absolutely platonic girlfriend who’d refuse to even kiss him goodnight, where he spent two hours on a rant calling me any and all varieties of idiot and immature he could find, communications between us stopped, due to obvious reasons. I just don’t take it well when seventeen year olds tell me I have to reflect over things and change the way I think as if they were my parents, just because they disagree on the way I think of.
Several months later, he decided to resume communications, just as usual: He’d run away from anything deep, he’d always say what we’d talk about (sexuality, yay!), and more often than not he’d start and end any conversation with an insult of some kind, most of the time also throwing some of those during the conversation to spice it up a little.
And that last quirk was what actually drove me over the edge. He had already crossed the line back when he’d first fought me, when during his rant he’d several times mentioned the depression issues I’ve fought since I was ten as something that made me unlikeable and immature (because people suffering from depression can’t ever be right), and even before that he’d often bring up said issues “casually” during conversations, often logging into msn just to say “So how’re you, are you depressed today?” as if that were the way a regular conversation should go.
It didn’t change at all, ever. A few weeks ago, I first confronted him on his “better-than-you” attitude towards people, letting him know how his attitude came up as ridiculous, immature and insulting, and also telling him how it did nothing to hide he was nothing but a sad little man who couldn’t ever man up and be himself, choosing to wear masks and be fake as a three dollar bill. Hey I may have issues, but at least I’m upfront about them. I tell people about my psychological problems because I know I’m not the only one with them, and being outspoken about them is a way of letting people know they’re not alone.
After a discussion where he repeatedly stated that I get offended too easily, because he calls everyone a pig all of the time and that’s just normal, he seemed to agree to put down the name-calling when around me. And it seemed to work, sort of. ‘Sort of’ meaning until a few nights ago.
On Saturday, I spent the day out in the mountains with some friends from university/French classes (A very nice story I’ll tell you about later!), and got home pretty tired and with a bad sunburn on my face, yet pretty happy about the day overall. After I get on msn, he messages me, and I tell him how I’d been out with friends all day. His answer to my statement about what I had done during the day was incredible, disrespectful, annoying and downright insulting. He simply said:
“OH, YOU HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE? What a surprise!”
Because, you know, that’s what anyone should naturally say to somebody who’s dealt with depression and loneliness for most of his life (Note, I’m not looking for pity here, I’ve actually managed to drive my life to a pretty nice state. It could be better, but I’ve definitely been way worse than I am now, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with my life than I am at this moment). After reading his thinly veiled insult, I responded with what I believe is the most deserving “Fuck off” I’ve ever thrown at anyone. And then things got worse.
He immediately went on a tirade on about how, once again, I’m apparently way too delicate because I don’t enjoy it when “friends” prey on my weaknesses or on old wounds. I let him know I’ve grown sick of the mean-spirited “jokes” he uses in pitiful attempts at bringing people around him down to feel better about himself, to which he responded saying that was just how he treated everyone, and that he’d be the last one to ever try to put anyone down because he himself doesn’t have much of a social life or self-esteem. Because, you know, bullies are renowned for having great self-esteem, and none of them ever treat people like shit to disguise the fact that they see themselves as such.
After he went on his tirade, I just answered to him with a simple phrase, and I’ll quote myself here:
“I don’t give a damn how you treat everyone else, when dealing with ME you either treat me with respect, or don’t treat me at all.”
The answer I got? He called me a little girl, because little girls are widely known to stand up for themselves rather than letting human trash throw abuse against them repeatedly. And then, he proceeded to delete me from both his messenger and Facebook accounts, showing just how much he understands the concept of irony. Maybe irony is a concept only little girls can grasp, who knows.
The whole point about this is, it really got me thinking. All I did during that conversation was standing up for myself against somebody who called himself a friend, and when I gave him the choice between actually being a friend and just getting out of my life, he chose the easy way out.
That situation just made me wonder, since I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever gone through that, yet I’m also sure most people don’t really dare standing up to these kind of people, because they’re “friends”. If so, how much crap are we actually supposed to take from friends before it becomes clear they’re not really good friends, or friends at all? Is it ever worth it putting up with such a treatment just because of fear of losing someone who’s apparently close to you?
The answer I found myself is, it isn’t worth it. And at the end of the night, I didn’t really have one less friend. At the end of the night, I had one less bully posing as a friend, and one less person to worry about.
Accompanying image taken from Flickr.