Sophomore year of quarantine is here and as your sweatpants collection gets bigger, your friend group is getting smaller. Don’t be afraid to Lean Out (A great title for Sheryl Sandberg’s next book). It might be just the right time to finally break up with all your (and my) faux friends.
Unlike the new-to-social-media age I grew up in where the more friends I had on Facebook the more success I felt, 2021 feels like the opposite. And you know what, maybe a small-ass-friend group is exactly what I need. As an introverted people pleaser, it’s been nice not worrying so much about the barista I just met who asked if I knew of any apartments for rent for less than $800 a month. I tend to overdo it on the “friends,” and pre-pandemic I was overscheduled with improv shows, brunches, and hikes. The point is, it’s all my fault. I try to be friends with everyone, even the older man (Biff) who side-swiped my car with his minivan. This year was the first time I was even able to delete some contacts off of my phone—a huge step for me—such as “Jen XS,” a sweet gal I had met at the XS Nightclub in Las Vegas circa 2014. She said she wanted our friend groups to have brunch together when we got back to LA. Of course, that never happened because neither of us is a sociopath. When you worry about quantity over quality of friends, you lose. Popularity doesn’t matter anymore, and I guess it never really did. Hahaha?
Lockdown forced me to be pickier about whom I risk my life to see. If you’re like me and have a hard time KonMari-ing your friendships, here is a list of some faux friends that are safe to donate/toss and leave behind in the pre-pandemic days:
The Essential Oil “Friend”
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Lookit, I have a diffuser. I have essential oils even, but I don’t want ANY MORE. I can’t go to another oil “party” unless you’re Gwyneth Paltrow. I’ll buy and diffuse anything she tells me, even if it’s her Goop-packaged sweat. That’s not a bad idea. Anyway, I tried Dragon Time on my “tummy,” but Aleve works better. I tried peppermint oil on my temples, but Aleve works better. Respectfully, bye.
The I-Hated-That “Friend”
Doesn’t matter what it is, they’re gonna find something wrong with it. Because of this, I will typically lie to them and pretend that I have the same views as they do, in order to make myself more comfortable in the moment. Unfortunately, sometimes this faux friend asks me what I think before they give their own opinion. So, I’m honest: “I thought Promising Young Woman was fantastic!” Sh*t. Now I feel like I’m in a fight because I forgot this friend hates everything. Miley’s Plastic Hearts album? The Invisible Half? Please, like something, anything, before we ever get coffee again! Yes, and I’ll work on my discomfort with differing views. Respectfully, bye.
The Cockroaches-of-the-Sea “Friend”
Thank you sooooo much for saying shrimp are the “cockroaches of the sea” right after I ordered shrimp fried rice. You ruined shrimp for me forever. Respectfully, bye.
The Wait-Do-You-Have-Any-Siblings “Friend”
If you don’t even know if I have any siblings by now, we can’t keep doing this. I’ll admit, my family tree is trickier than most. I don’t expect you to know which of my half sisters are from my mom or from my dad, or even really keep track of the number, but I do expect you to remember the answer to a question you’ve asked me now at least 15 times. Respectfully, bye.
The One-Downer “Friend”
We all have the one-upper friend, and to be honest, I don’t really mind them. Who I really despise is the one-downer. The one who takes my tragedy and tries to top it with something worse. Let me be the Debbie sometimes. I know your fiddle leaf fig tree died, but I just told you that I lost my job. Respectfully, they never did catch that anthrax guy.
The Two-Weeks-Later-Texter “Friend”
I might lose some friends for this one, because I have a bad habit of responding weeks later without a good excuse. Maybe I should do the “read receipts” for accountability, but I never do because I still don’t understand those people. I finally texted one of my friends back, and she responded, “I’m sorry my texts automatically delete after a month. What were we even talking about?” Now, my response, “Boom Chicka Pop Light Kettle Corn” makes no sense to my dear friend. Respectfully, I’m sorry.
The Over-Planner “Friend”
Please, don’t make me think about the future right now, unless it’s about which show I’m going to start tonight. What am I doing three Fridays from today? Hm, well, I don’t even know what month that’ll be. I’ll probably be out of town. Yes, I’ll be in Italy…no, Genovia! What do you mean?! We’re in a global pandemic. I’ll be doing nothing, and so will you because respectfully, bye. But, before you go, what kind of planner is that? I really like the size.
The Vegan “Friend”
I just wanted to say that to piss off vegans. I don’t really mean it. You’re fine. It’s contagious in LA, so you caught it from someone else. I’m sure you’re maybe even right about things, but you make me feel lazy and mean which is a sad combo. My daily prayer is “Lord, make me vegan—but not yet.” Respectfully, if it’s so bad for me then why are you eating the beyond version of the same thing?
In conclusion, as one can see, and lastly, our time is sacred and spending it starting The Crown for the fourth time is better than going to an essential oil party for someone who can’t remember if you have any siblings.
Images: Batu Gezer / Unsplash; natcpod / Instagram; Giphy