How To Stop Wasting Your Money On Gifts By Losing All Your Friends

One of the saddest parts of becoming an adult is realizing that all your hard-earned money goes directly to bills and gifts for other people. Do not pass go. Do not use that $200 to buy yourself something nice. Why should I spend all my money on my friends’ weddings? It’s not like they’re chipping in for my therapy bills when yet another date goes awry. Talk about a one-sided relationship!

There’s got to be some other way. And there is! It’s called simply not having any friends past the age of 25. That way, you don’t have to portion out every single paycheck to ensure you have enough money for Kayleigh’s housewarming gift and Jessica’s bridal shower gift (which seems slightly unnecessary, given the engagement gift you already got her, not to mention her forthcoming wedding gift, which, by the way, you’re flying from out of state for) and Jenna’s baby shower gift, and, oh yeah, the roof over your head.

With these tried-and-true strategies, you won’t have any friends left to buy gifts for. Now you can actually spend your money on the person who deserves it most: you!

Always Show Up Late To Everything

Is there anything worse than being forced to wait around awkwardly because your friend failed to show up at the agreed-upon time, and now the hostess is looking at you with pity because she thinks you’ve been stood up? No! And can you imagine, people used to wait around awkwardly without phones? I shudder at the thought. Anyway, one easy way to lose friends is to consistently be late—and I’m not talking about a respectable 5-10 minutes. You want to be so late that people start lying to you about what time various events start, and even then you’re still strolling in after the start time. Say it with me: Time is a construct and reservations are merely a suggestion.

Leave Early With A Dumb Excuse

The equally evil counterpart to the person who can never show up on time is the person who leaves early because of some half-baked excuse that boils down to “I’ve got somewhere better to be.” So why not expedite the process of friendlessness and be both people at the same time? This requires a certain level of finesse to pull off, because if you play your cards wrong, instead of being the friend who never wants to be there, you’ll cast yourself as the mysterious, aloof friend who does nebulous cool things. Which is why you need to make it clear that, when you inevitably Irish exit after gracing the group with your presence for no more than 45 minutes, you are doing so in favor of something objectively worse than what you’re currently doing. Some examples include: watering your plant,  a “dusting emergency”, wanting to be home in time to place your Seamless order (for the following day). The goal is to make your friends ask each other in the group chat after you’ve unceremoniously left, “does she even want to be here?” Once they realize you can’t even get over yourself long enough to sit through a “congrats on your new job” happy hour, there’s no way anyone’s wasting the money or spot on a wedding invitation.

Bring Everything Back To Your Significant Other

You might be reaching a point in your life where a lot of your friends have significant others and fiancés. This will make the threshold for annoyance higher, since your friends all likely bring everything back to their S.O.s, to an extent. So the question is, how far can you push the extent? It’s time to get inventive and think outside the box. Ordering eggs Benedict at brunch and remarking that your boyfriend’s favorite brunch dish is eggs benny? That’s amateur hour. Look around you. Does the waiter’s jawline remind you of your beloved Kevin’s? That’s a good place to start. Are the walls painted his favorite color? (So his favorite color is beige? That’s weird.) Perfect.

If you don’t have a significant other, don’t fret. In fact, it works even more to your advantage. Turn every conversation point back to your dog—or, better yet, your plant. For maximum impact, you’ll want to refer to said pet or plant by name, and only through multiple rounds of questioning, reveal that Teddy is, in fact, your ficus. If your dwelling is completely devoid of any living thing (respect), your only choice is to redirect all topics of conversation to your astrology app.

Don’t Forget To Take Way Too Many Inappropriate Instagrams

It goes without saying that at any given group meal, you must force everyone to hold off from taking a single bite for as long as humanly possible while you treat the restaurant like your personal jungle gym in pursuit of getting the “perfect shot” that you aren’t going to post anyway. But we’re not just talking restaurant outings. If you really push yourself, any gathering can become a photo opp—the more socially inept, the better. Like, yes, I know this is technically your late aunt’s shiva call, but the lighting here is unreal.

Never Offer To Cover The Bill

This part is key. Odds are, if you’re friends with people you know and trust (basically the definition of a friend, I hope), you probably all take turns covering the bill. When your turn comes, have an absurd and not-at-all-plausible excuse at the ready:

Teddy ate my wallet.”

“I put all my money into Dogecoin.”

“I was carrying a magnet in my purse that destroyed the strip on my credit card. (Yes, I really do carry around a magnet. I legally can’t say for what.)”

“My WiFi is out.” (No further explanation.)

Venmo Request Everything

Going hand in hand with having the kind of relationship where everyone takes turns paying for each other is the unspoken agreement that nobody is going to be that friend. You know the one. The friend who nickels and dimes everyone over the most minute purchases. Yes I do care that your drink was $1.50 more than mine. No, it’s not good enough to just have you pay more in tip. Brush up on your math skills, because you’re going to have to do some minute division. I’m talking down to the pennies.

By practicing these tips, you’re guaranteed to be so insufferable that nobody will want you present at any significant life events. You’ll never look at another registry again. Congrats to you!

Image: Addictive Creatives / Stocksy.com

To All The Plans We Made For ‘When This Is All Over’ And Are Now Desperate To Cancel

Once upon a time, the concept of leaving your house and actually doing something — anything — seemed absurd. Sure, we used to be well-versed in the art of rallying all weekend, our false lashes hanging on for dear life. But once the pandemic hit and everyone and everything shut down, we got realllll comfortable with the fact that not going anywhere was kinda… nice?

So, for over a year we’ve all just been sitting inside with our vibrators, ordering way too much food and begging our exes not to change their Netflix passwords. Other than that week or so when the world seemingly discovered Zoom and you had to go to virtual happy hours with everyone you know, plans were just a far-off, abstract idea. We agreed to anything because honestly, it wasn’t like it was actually going to happen.

Except now that more and more people are getting vaccinated, seeing friends and family once again is becoming a reality. Which is great… except for the fact that you made a lot of bullsh*t plans with a lot of bullsh*t people that you have absolutely no intention on keeping. Here’s what you agreed to, and a few ideas for getting out of this mess: 

10. Drinks With Your Coworkers

For over a year you’ve been working on your couch, but after the company-wide email went out saying everyone was expected back in the office, the invites started rolling in. Happy Hour! Team Building! Draaaaanks! Whether you like your coworkers or they’re pesky annoyances you try to forget exist after you log off at 5pm, the barrage of “let’s go out after work” invites are a given as soon as the world opens back up. Back when you replied to those requests while sitting at home with acne cream on your face, it didn’t feel like they would actually happen. But now that the time is here here, you’re realizing you might actually have to interact outside of work with these people after not physically seeing them for over 12 months.

How To Get Out Of It: You can’t really. You work together. You sh*t in the same room. You can put it off as long as possible, but eventually, you’ll have to give in and go out with them. Sure it sucks, but out of all the “plans” you made, it’s the least offensive. Just make sure to schedule it on a day you have a time restraint (“one drink because I have to help my neighbor? with her printer??”) so you can down your vodka soda and peace TF out ASAP. It’s that or quit your job, so like, the choice is yours.

9. Brunch With Your Frenemies

Did you love them pre-covid but after seeing their idiotic IG posts for the past year you’re over them, or have they always been a little sh*tty? Chances are you have a few toxic friendships that need to be scrubbed, but that didn’t stop you from making “when the pandemic is over” plans with those a-holes. Now that things are “normal,” they expect you to join them for carbs and complaining. It’s not that you hate them, it’s just that you realized life was maybe better without them?

How To Get Out Of It: Unless you’re ready to cut this group loose, they’ll eventually guilt you into brunching. Wear your biggest sunnies so they can’t see your eye rolls and chose a spot with bottomless mimosas. If you’re going to endure a few hours with the friends you low-key despise, you might as well be wasted for it.

8. Dinner With That One Annoying Couple

Whether you’re coupled up or expected to third wheel, you keep getting invites from that one couple you can’t seem to shake. Perhaps they’re college friends who turned corporate or your friend and her obnoxious boyfriend, but the duo just won’t take the hint that the idea of breaking bread with them makes you want to die. Sure, you could just keep bailing, but if there’s any part of you that wants/needs to keep that relationship afloat, you know it’s only a matter of time before they choose a pretentious restaurant and expect you to give them a bite of your entree.

How To Get Out Of It: It’s honestly kind of embarrassing that they haven’t figured out you don’t want to hang, but that’s a prime example of why they’re so frustrating to be around. Still, if they’re true friends who turned lame, a coworker you can’t ignore, or a pal you love with a partner you hate, you don’t want to totally jeopardize things. Luckily, claiming to be on a strict diet might be the key to getting out of a meal. Say you’re working with your doctor and can’t eat X, Y, and Z, so dinner is out. Promise to reconnect once your cholesterol (wink) is at a healthy level (wink, wink), and just make sure not to post your drunchie food the next time you have a fry craving.

7. Partying With Your Old High School Pals

When you were stuck in your tiny apartment with no one to talk to other than your house plants, you found yourself reconnecting with your old friends from school. Ancient pictures resurfaced, memes were sent, and after your ten-year high school reunion got canceled, you all agreed that you needed to get together ASAP. Now that ASAP is here, you realize you’d rather leave the past in the past and keep those relationships where they belong: in high school.

How To Get Out Of It: Unless you live in your hometown (my condolences), timing and scheduling are on your side here. I mean, what are the odds that all of you will agree on a weekend, book flights, and get together? Slim. So the only real option is to meet up around the holidays, but after a year of family events were canceled, your parents are officially your “get out of plans without looking like a total dick” card. Say you’d love to get together and then once you’re in town, throw your family under the bus with “my mom keeps guilting me” or “grandma forgot to tell us she was coming by for dinner.” It sucks but, you know, they’re family *humble shrug.*

6. Coffee With Your Internet Friend

Whether she’s a friend of a friend who slid into your DMs or you connected in a Facebook group and started chatting, you’ve officially landed yourself an internet pal. One thing led to another and a few casual conversations became a passing plan of meeting up IRL after Covid. Which means you agreed to go awkwardly hang out with a stranger whose messages you sometimes ignore because the idea of actually being able to leave your house someday sounded less ludicrous than going on a platonic first date with a social media rando.

How To Get Out Of It: It really sucks to be ghosted, but that’s the beauty of social media. If the person has no ties to you, stop answering/opening their messages or even go so far as to block them. There’s probably a reason you don’t actually want to meet up with them. If, however, they run in your circle or there’s the possibility of seeing them again, you might want to be a little less bitchy. Keep putting off the actual coffee date until they get the hint, or destroy their spirit and tell them you’re not that into an IRL relationship with them. The truth hurts, but at least then they’ll stop sending you TikToks you’ve already seen.

5. Shopping With An Acquaintance

Is she a friend? Sort of. Do you know her middle name? No. Do you genuinely enjoy spending time with her? Also no. But again, she’s sort of a friend and somehow you both landed on the idea of getting together to go shopping. Like, in public. Back when you agreed to the idea, the thought of perusing shelves instead of Amazon sounded so absurd, you said yes without thinking because it wasn’t like it was ever going to happen. But alas, stores are open, you’re both vaccinated, and she’s trying to schedule a time to get together. Even though you’ve never hung out with her 1-on-1 (and never really had the desire to TBH), she seems determined to spend an afternoon shuffling around stores and making forced small talk.

How To Get Out Of It: This is a tricky one. On one hand, you don’t want to go shopping with this person. On the other hand, ghosting feels like a non-option, especially if they’re friends with your other friends. Say you’re trying to save money, turn the shopping date into drinks, and drown out the awkwardness with shots and sh*t-talking. Everyone knows the pathway to a new bond is paved with bottom-shelf liquor and newfound mutual hatred.

4. Manis With Your Mother-In-Law

It’s been a long year, but one of the very few perks was getting out of those obligations with the in-laws. Unless you love the family you married into (liar), the thought of spending some extended 1-on-1 time with your MIL is probably causing you some serious angst. You’d humor her calls and texts and gushed about how you couldn’t wait to get together with her, but now that she’s vaccinated, it’s clear this wasn’t idle chitchat. She’s sending you nail design Pinterest boards, photos of cats in salon chairs, and is continuously asking your S.O. why you won’t call her back. Did you not get her seven-minute voicemail?

How To Get Out Of It: I don’t think there’s anything worse than getting your nails done with someone you don’t like chatting with. You’re just sitting there for a very extended period of time with nothing to do other than talk. You can’t bring a book or scroll social without looking like an asshole, but you’re 100% certain you’ll run out of stuff to talk about before the clippers even come out. The only way to get out of this is to say you’re not visiting the salon due to health concerns (Mold? Germs? Covid still? You decide), and would rather just paint your nails the next time you get together. Grab a few bottles of the fastest dry polish you can find and tell you S.O. to stay in the room while you give your MIL the sloppiest mani ever. She’ll feel like she’s getting that mother-daughter bonding moment and as long as you have some polish remover to get rid of the lime green mess she made on your hand, you’ll be set.

3. The Cross-Country Visit To See The Friend You Talk To Once A Year

Around the time when everyone was Zooming each other for happy hours, game nights, and *gasp* virtual bachelorette parties, you casually reconnected with an old friend who went MIA after moving away post-college. When she left for work (or was it to follow her boyfriend’s work? Wait, does she still have a boyfriend?) you both promised to keep in touch, but that quickly went to sh*t when real life got in the way. With covid, however, you had the chance to drunkenly DM, and now she’s wondering when you’re going to come see her and her new baby, whose name is escaping you at the moment.

How To Get Out Of It: There’s nothing worse than being roped into an expensive trip you don’t actually want to take (looking at you, bridal showers, weddings, and baptisms), but luckily, this one is fairly easy to get out of. There’s a good chance she doesn’t actually expect you to pack a bag and take a four-hour flight to see her, but if she does, hit her with a “times are hard, sh*t is expensive.” It’s not technically a lie because last I checked, times are hard and sh*t is expensive. If that doesn’t work, offer to host her at your home instead, and hope to God she too, decides to flake.

2. Toxic Weekend Retreat With Your Estranged Family

Awww! Your aunts, uncles, and cousins were so sad you didn’t see them this year, but they get it! You’re just a liberal sheep who believes in science. Even though they all masklessly got together numerous times, you were easily able to opt out. Now that you’re vaccinated and slowly starting to post bar pics on Insta, your family is making it clear that they’re dying to see you so they can ask you probing questions, question the validity of your job, and gaslight you into oblivion. You know, like the good old days!

How To Get Out Of It: Extended family is super tricky because, on one hand, they’re family. But on the other hand, you disagree with them about everything, and you honestly don’t even know how to spell half of their names. The problem is, no matter how sh*tty sitting around a cabin with people who still call you “kiddo” sounds, you kind of have to go unless you want to get written out of the will look like a dick. The only way to get out of it is to fake a work trip or wedding and make it clear how sad you are to be missing the big reunion. Sure they’ll talk sh*t about you, but what else is new?

1. Accomplishing Those Lofty Personal Quarantine Goals

 

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Sure, you made a lot of plans with a lot of people during the pandemic, but what about the plans you made for yourself? You know, the mission to really concentrate on your health during quarantine? Or what about the novel you were going to write? Or that new job you were going to get? Weren’t you supposed to have abs by now? You made a lot of promises to yourself and now that the excessive amount of “you time” is coming to an end, it’s clear: You didn’t accomplish sh*t.

How To Get Out Of It: Letting yourself down is the worst, but if you think about it really hard, did you actually think anything was going to change? I mean, after doing that ab video one time, did you ever try it again? And you went on LinkedIn once, but quickly left after seeing all the thirsty DMs from old men wanting to ~connect.~ Sure, you bought a lot of cute note pads to write in, but did inspiration ever strike? Nope. And while everyone else might not understand, at least you can cut yourself some slack for flaking.

Images: Autri Taheri / Unsplash; Giphy (9); betches / Instagram

Mercury Is Back To Normal: Weekly Horoscopes November 18-22

Amazing news, everyone. You’ve (almost) survived another Mercury retrograde. Or maybe you didn’t. But either way, Mercury is out of retrograde this Wednesday, meaning it is officially time to assess the damage. Say some sh*t that came out harsher than you intended? (Yes.) Misinterpret a text and fly off the handle over nothing? (Always.) Get mad at your roommate for breathing weird in the common spaces? (Do you even need to ask?) This is the week to make amends. Until the next time Mercury goes into retrograde and wrecks your life, that is.

Aries

Cuffing season is in high gear, Aries, and it’s time to figure out whose dried-out face you’re going to be staring at all winter. You’re on the hunt for the person who will share your bed through the long, cold nights and won’t shame you for not shaving your legs between Christmas and Easter. If you already have that special someone in your life, take time to do a check in and make sure things haven’t gotten stale. You’re going to be spending a lot more time together now that the temperature has dropped below 50 degrees.

Taurus

raise the roof

Take a look at your partnerships: romantic, platonic, and professional. Are they in a rut? Are things going unsaid? Now that Mercury is out of retrograde you have the perfect opportunity to clear up any lingering misunderstandings and get back to dynamic duo mode. Or, in the case of your coworkers, “adult professionals who enjoy each other’s company from 9am to 5pm” mode.

Gemini

Did you get your old Adderall prescription back? Because you’re focused as f*ck this week, Gemini. Use this energy to bring an important task across the finish line, whether it be redecorating your apartment, something to do with work, or finally finishing that novel. This week you’ll magically find the focus and motivation to finish whatever you set your mind to, so choose a task and start accomplishing things.

Cancer

thinking

When was the last time you assessed your romantic situation, Cancer? Every second of every day? Cool. Same. Now that Mercury is done being a little bitch, it’s time to make sure that any pent-up resentments that have built up between you and your partner are released for good. Single Cancers should be aware that they’re going to attract whatever they put out this week, so make sure you’re giving off “stable professional with a savings account” over “35-year-old with 17 roommates whose never had an STD check.”

Leo

Bust out the coasters your aunt sent you three birthdays ago, because you’re in the mood to entertain, Leo! The end of Mercury retrograde means you’re ready to jazz up chez Leo, and what better way to do that than a little dinner party? Whether it be a full blown friendsgiving, or just sharing a bottle of wine with the girls, find a way to bring the people you love into your space this week. Just remind them to take their f*cking shoes off first.

Virgo

hoe

This week you’re embracing your sensuality and letting the world see your sexy self, Virgo. In other words, you’re in the mood to hoe it up, and we mean that in the most feminist way possible. Bust out the thigh high boots, bodysuit, that one bra that makes your boobs look amazing and take yourself for a night on the town. Whether you’re doing it to impress a random stranger (good), a significant other (great), or your own damn self (even better), you will love the confidence (and the thirst traps) that come of it.

Libra

Congratulations, Libra! You’re at the beginning of a seven week motivation explosion. Whether you want to use your newfound ability to get sh*t done to finish up some lingering 2019 goals, or get a jump on 2020, this week is the start of a whole new you. And yes, this does count as a reason to celebrate by buying yourself one of the premium cocktails at happy hour.

Scorpio

Stassi Birthday

Your season is coming to a close and it’s time to go out with a bang. Luckily, going out with a bang is kind of Scorpio’s thing. Stop chilling on the couch and get out into the world and no, the fact that it is dark at 5pm is not a reason to stay indoors. Take advantage of all the shady shenanigans you can now, while “it’s my birthday month!” still works as an excuse.

Sagittarius

You’re in the mood to keep it low-key this week, so set your phone to Do Not Disturb and get cozy. Will you use your alone time to actually finish a book this year? Or maybe you’ll tackle that 5+ hour Crock Pot recipe you’ve been meaning to try. Or maybe you’ll just veg out on the couch and binge-watch Netflix and put things in your cart that you have no intention to buy. The world is your oyster!

Capricorn

king of the world

Great news, Capricorn! You’re in the middle of a lucky streak, both professionally and personally. Everything you touch turns to gold, and every selfie you take is magically fire. It’s just one of those weeks. The only thing you need to decide now is where you want to focus these magical powers. And try not to let it get to your head (too much).

Aquarius

It’s time to earn that holiday bonus, Aquarius. The year is coming to a close, but this week you have exactly enough energy to end it on a high note. For the next month, focus your attention on advancing in your career, and you could be starting 2020 with a whole new job title. PRO TIP: Holiday parties with an open bar totally count as networking opportunities.

Pisces

goals

What do you want to accomplish by the end of the 2010s? This is the week to map that out and put it into action, Pisces. The end of Mercury retrograde has given you newfound clarity about wtf is going on in your life, and where you want it to go. Before holiday travel plans take over, set aside some time to write down your 2020 vision. That way you won’t find yourself scribbling your resolutions on the back of a napkin between layovers.

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Roommate Horror Story: Bad And Boujee, Literally

I go to a university, like many, where roommates are completely random your freshman year, so I didn’t have the luxury of scrolling through a Facebook group to shop for someone who had the same degenerate tendencies as me. I was lucky in that the worst I had to deal with was a snoring Wisconsinite with good intentions and poor taste in decor, but this also means that I have little to show for any spicy roommate drama. I thus have to live vicariously through others when it comes to terrible roommate experiences, and my best friend from home provides the perfect example. I was constantly receiving text messages about the absolute barbarian she called a roommate, so strap in thots, it’s story time. 

 

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I know you ate my f*cking @theskinnypop Jessica #SkinnyPopPartner

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My friend showed up to school freshman year after her roommate had already moved in, and given, like, the rules of college, this means that she got the sh*ttier room situation. Yes, you read that correctly. ROOM. Apparently her school is a f*cking resort, because not only did she have her own room, but she also had a built-in kitchenette and bathroom. Would I ever use said kitchen? No, absolutely not. But would I also love the opportunity to pretend that I’d cook more than a literal Dorito for myself every once in a while? Hell yes. Anyway, enough about me. 

The storage in their suite was complete with two built-in drawer/walk-in closet combos, presumably one for each roommate (I know, like they live in the f*cking Ritz or something). Given this built-in/walk-in situation, the beds, and other pieces of furniture, there was little room left for any extra storage in the suite. My friend finally makes it to campus to move in, and while unpacking, she slowly starts to realize her roommate has put her clothes in literally every single storage space; both closets and all the bathroom storage are completely filled with her sh*t. Not just any sh*t, we’re talking designer everything: a fugly Gucci tracksuit à la Jeffree Star, Balenciaga sneakers, Hermès belts, the works.

nene Leakes I am rich

My friend texts this girl to let her know she’ll be moving some of her things, because you know, she needs to have clothes accessible like a normal human being. This girl responds saying, “Don’t! I left you storage in the KITCHEN CABINETS.” Bitch what!? My friend understandably gives the girl a heads up and tells her won’t be using the spice rack as a closet, and is planning to move some of her roommate’s things out of the walk-in and onto her bed. My friend claims to have laid everything out nicely, but the way this girl reacted would make you think that my friend flushed this girl’s LV bag down the toilet.

My friend notices her roommate didn’t come back for the night, but decides to chalk it up to her wanting to spend more time with her mom before orientation in the morning. The next day my friend leaves her room for orientation, having not seen her roommate all day, and when she gets home, there’s a 50-something-year-old woman sitting on her bed. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but this is the point where I’m calling the RA.

Turns out the woman is the roommate’s mom, who begins to lecture my friend by explaining how my friend, and I QUOTE,  “does not understand the price nor value” of the things she “treated so recklessly” and how she’s willing to forgive her for her actions because she, “would not expect her or someone of her background to understand.” Ugh, what a saint! I’m so thankful that she was so understanding—I hate when the middle class touches my things too. She really went out with a bang, however, by telling my friend if she ever “assaulted” her daughter again, she would call the cops, get her scholarship revoked, AND get her tossed out of the university. Lol. Ok, Nancy, how about you watch one episode of SVU and get back to me with some more substantive charges?

Needless to say, my friend decided to GTFO and is now living with two amazing girls in an apartment off campus. Personally, I would’ve stuck around a little longer to see if I could cop some designer items, but to each their own. Just remember, if you think your roommate is crazy, at least you don’t have a psychotic, entitled mother in your bed threatening to call the cops on you! Or, if you do—submit that sh*t to [email protected]!

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We’ve All Had A Friend Like Caroline Calloway

If you haven’t already read Natalie Beach’s tea-filled essay about her friendship with influencer/scammer (scamfluencer?) Caroline Calloway, you may have at least heard about some of the more sensational points. The life of an Adderall-addicted manic-pixie-dreamgirl-esque influencer, wreaking havoc in a foreign country and drunk off her own (bought) Instagram power, is pretty much the stuff social media dreams are made of. I’ve followed Calloway for a while, after several articles about her various scams—including the time she ordered 1,200 mason jars to her own home for a “speaking tour” that got mostly canceled—alerted me to her beautiful yet terrifying Instagram presence.

I started building up anticipation for Natalie’s article last week, when Caroline told the world the it was coming via her favorite medium: the novel-length Instagram caption. Caroline ultimately posted about the story eight times before it came out, and since it has come out and my writing this article, she has posted about it 42 times. Yes, forty-two. My guess is by the time you read this she’ll have posted so many times, Instagram is permanently disabled. Following her is about following the improbable life of a probably crazy person, who lays it all bare for the world to see, and also like, might have a pyramid scheme on the side.

 

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The summer of 2014 is when everything started coming together. I had finally found my voice as a writer. I no longer depended on Natalie to sign off before I posted something. I was writing stories that were important to me and I was getting feedback everyday about how important my stories were to the girls that read them. I had bought a couple tens of thousands of followers, which I had leveraged into a community of thousands of real followers. And it was growing. The reason was this: In the same way that I anticipated the trend towards long captions and using Instagram to tell the stories of our lives in real time, I also spotted the potential for Instagram ads from a mile away. It seems obvious now, but it was a breakthrough then and fucking brilliant when I realized I could pay these large accounts to post about me and target my ads to the kind of followers that I wanted! Because that was the thing. I didn’t want FOLLOWERS. I wanted READERS. So I bought ads with BOOK fandom accounts like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games; The Fault in Our Stars was big that summer. Paying for posts seemed like an outrageous idea at the time and the anonymous people who ran these accounts and whom I paid $10 an af thought I was throwing away my money. I gain 150,000 followers over the following summer. I didn’t know it then, but this summer in Sweden would be my most emotionally stable and creatively productive for the next five years. Only THIS SUMMER have I exceeded the levels of artistic output that I achieved that summer. Secluded in Sweden with Oscar that summer where midnight never comes and the end of summer vacation doesn’t come until October (!) I wrote and wrote and wrote.

A post shared by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

Despite Caroline’s desperate desire to post “relatable” content, her life has always been hilariously far from anything I, or any typical human, would experience. For example, I have never accidentally ordered 1,200 mason jars to my home (though I am getting married next year, so who knows?). But in hearing Natalie’s story, I realized there was a role for me in Caroline’s crazy world, and it was the role of the traumatized friend. The girl caught up in her friend’s fake “adventure girl” persona, who falls for her magnetic energy, only to get burned in the end. Underneath the story of Caroline ripping up the floors of her pill-strewn Cambridge apartment and the mysterious disappearance of some Yale plates (#WhereAreThePlates), is a story about a toxic friendship coming to its logical conclusion. Ultimately, it’s a very common story, with a pretty filter over top.

The relationship Natalie describes between herself and Calloway is one that was familiar not only to me, but to many of my friends. The toxic cocktail of jealousy, love, anger, fear, and desperation that Calloway inspired in Natalie was something we’d all felt at some point, towards someone we considered a friend. Were those toxic friends famous influencers who lost us thousands of dollars by failing to complete the terms of their book deal? No. But were those relationships similarly painful, traumatic, and difficult to end? Absolutely, yes. A lot has been made of toxic romantic relationships—how to spot them, how to get out of them, how to deal with them once they’re done—but the toxic friendship is the toxic relationship’s annoying younger cousin, and it can be just as hurtful and hard to process.

The end of my own toxic friendship took almost a year from when I realized the damage the relationship was doing in my life to when I finally decided to cut contact. One of my biggest epiphanies that led to my ending the relationship once and for all was when I realized I was behaving like someone who was being abused. I lied to my friend about where I was going because she’d get mad if I hung out with other people. I dreaded seeing her, but also desperately wanted her to be happy with me. I found myself daydreaming about something—anything—that would end the friendship, not realizing that I had the power to end it myself.

I wrote about an intoxicating, formative, challenging, infuriating, and deeply important relationship of mine for The Cut https://t.co/Y4JqIwS5tk

— Nat Beach (@Nat_Beach) September 10, 2019

Like Natalie, my toxic friend brought out the worst in me. She made me feel small. She sucked me into her drama and made me responsible for her successes and failures. I was a worse friend to others because she was a bad friend to me. I hated her, but I also followed doggedly in her footsteps, begging to be included in the crazy adventure that was her life.

That’s not to absolve myself of any wrongdoing. Also like Natalie, I was as much a part of the relationship as my toxic friend. I encouraged some of her worst decision-making, watching on the sidelines as she blew up her own life time and time again, all because I thought it would make for a crazy story. I was the Gretchen to her Regina, and the most shameful parts of the whole relationship were the times when I watched her inflict her toxicity on other people and cheered it on. Because if she was losing her sh*t on someone else, she wasn’t losing her sh*t on me, right? When she broke into a boyfriend’s bedroom (multiple times) after they broke up, I laughed it off as her being crazy. When she broke into my bedroom after getting angry at me over text, I realized how frightening that type of “crazy” could be.

Who among us hasn’t met a magnetic person that they just couldn’t help but want to be around? One who gets close too quick, and the next thing you know you’re years deep in a friendship with someone who, based on your knowledge of true crime, might be a f*cking psychopath?

The story of Caroline Calloway is the story of an unhinged influencer who will stop at nothing to seem “relatable” to her followers. What’s funny to me is that the first thing that ever made her actually relatable was the one thing she tried to hide: a toxic relationship with a friend.

Images: carolinecalloway / Instagram; Nat_Beach / Twitter

‘Text Me When You Get Home’ Is The Book You Need To Read If You’re Single On Valentine’s Day

One Thursday night, my friends and I went to happy hour, as we often do, setting our sights on a douchey sports bar in the hopes of finding the slightly overweight frat alumni of our dreams. On the way to the bar, we were discussing the post apocalyptic wasteland that is dating in 2018. You know what I’m talking about— “I’m never getting married,” “I’ll be single forever,” “I might really kill it in the second round, when everyone has divorced their first spouse and is looking for their second marriage.” Just me on that last one then? Whatever, see y’all at the altar in 20 years when I’m looking fresh-faced and youthful because I haven’t had a husband stressing me out for the past two decades.

 

“I’m 29,” remarked one of my friends who’s as single as the rest of us. “You guys can’t complain until you’re actually pushing 30.”

 

Just then, a middle-aged couple walking in front of us turned around.

 

“I just turned 60,” the woman said to us. So okay, maybe they were a little past middle aged—somebody let me know when the cutoff is. She continued, “And we just got married last year. You have a lot of time.”

 

“Ohmigaaaahd, that’s amazing,” we all gushed simultaneously. I’d like to say we all were instilled with a newfound optimism about dating, but this is the real world (and New York City) that we’re talking about. As soon as we got out of earshot, we all immediately rolled our eyes and started commiserating about how fucking depressing that was. So we’re supposed to go on the same shitty dates and maintain unwavering optimism in the face of fuckboy after fuckboy for the next 30 fucking years? I’d rather set myself on fire.

 

If you read the above and are now checking over your shoulder to see if I was following you and your group of friends around, it’s time you pick up a copy of Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendships by Kayleen Schaefer. On the most basic level, it’s a book about female friendships. Don’t worry, when I first read that, I rolled my eyes too, but Schaefer quickly made me a believer. Have you ever introduced two friends who you both love, but who don’t know each other? And you know how hard it can be to explain why you just know they’ll get along, other than to say, “This person is literally the best, just trust me, you’ll love her”? That’s how I feel about this book. Nothing I can really say is going to sound like anything but a line ripped from a trailer for a Lifetime movie, so you’re all just going to have to trust me—you’ll love Text Me When You Get Home.

 

Schaefer’s book is for any woman who’s ever bragged about one of her friends to a complete stranger or had a girl crush or used the hashtag #squadgoals (whether ironically or not). It’s for any woman woman who has even one friend who is also a woman—whether that be your mom, your sister, someone you met in middle school, your work wife, whoever. It’s for anyone who’s ever watched a sitcom in the past 10 years and thought, “Those characters are just like me and my friends.”

 

In Text Me When You Get Home, Schaefer covers female friendships on every level: she chronicles the history of women being friends with other women (in Medieval times, for example, men literally did not believe women were capable of forming significant friendships with each other); she examines the portrayal of female friendships in popular culture; she recounts her own personal journey from Cool Girl to  Girl’s Girl, and much more in between.

 

Text Me When You Get Home will restore your faith in your friendships, and maybe as a by-product, make you realize (again) that men ain’t shit. Kidding (not really), but odds are it will make you look around and realize you’re looking at things all wrong. It will make you grateful for whatever network of women you have around you, and if you don’t have one—if you’re one of those girls who “just gets along with guys better” because “girls are too catty”—you just might see the error of your ways. Kayleen Schaefer will (gently) school you on the myth of female cattiness and mean girls, not just through personal anecdotes, but through sociological evidence. You’ll finish the book and immediately grab your phone to text your closest friends.

 

Any woman who’s single on Valentine’s Day—or any day, or any woman regardless of relationship status, really—needs to read Text Me When You Get Home. 

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship is available here.

America Is Drunk And So Are You: Your Weekend Horoscopes August 18-20

So, first of all, we’d like to apologize. It appears we got some of our astrological signs mixed up last weekend and attempted to prepare you for what appeared to be the beginning of World War III. As it turns out, what we actually needed to prepare you for was the beginning of Civil War II. Our bad. Sometimes the stars can be tricky bitches, and much like you anytime a guy asks you where you want to go for food, they don’t just come out and tell you what they want. One thing, however, is clear: The world is getting fucked up, and so too shall you.

Aries

Big things are coming your way, Aries! And not a moment too soon. Make sure you’re looking picture perfect all weekend, because you’ll be getting some Instagram-worthy news that will undoubtedly end in celebrating. Go all out, you’ve earned a reprieve from the otherwise dismal happenings of 2017.

Taurus

Sometimes in life we have to fight for the things we want. Other times, we need to recognize when it’s time to call it quits. This weekend definitely calls for the second of those two options, Taurus. There’s no shame in bowing out gracefully when things come to a natural end. It only gets embarrassing when you refuse to recognize what’s so obvious to everyone around you. Take some time over the next two days to come to terms with the end of an era, and then get ready for the next big thing.

Gemini

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Gemini. Similarly, people who spend their free time talking a lot of shit shouldn’t go around belittling other people for talking a lot of shit. We’re all assholes, and the sooner you recognize that, the better. Stop bickering with your friends over who said what and instead come together to use your evil powers for good: talking shit about nazis. It’s what America needs.

Cancer

There are times for compromising and there are times for standing your ground with the stubborn irrationality of your conservative baby boomer father. This weekend, hell probably even this whole year, calls for the latter. 2017 is a fiery wasteland and no time for comprising your morals or ethics. You didn’t spend your entire early 20s unlearning all the problematic shit society spent your entire life grinding into you just so a Donald Trump supporter in a white polo could show up and derail all your hard work. Fuck that. Stand your ground and take no shit from racist assholes: your mantra for the rest of forever.

Leo

As your birthday window winds down, Leo, it’s time to take stock of your life. More accurately, of your bank account. A month of celebration isn’t cheap, and it’s likely you’re not in the best financial shape. This weekend is a great time to hide yourself, and your debit card, away from the limelight. Your social life will survive one weekend of solitude, but your wallet probably wouldn’t make it through one last hurrah.

Virgo

This is a weekend for trying new things, Virgo! You’re probably skeptical because you’re no fan of change, but you’ll find that the next two days will bring out a much more accepting, adventurous you. Take advantage of this new mindset by doing things that you’d usually avoid. This is fun because it could mean literally anything. Go on a two day health binge! Try putting yourself out there and meeting new people! Do fun new drugs! Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s a divergence from your typical routine.

Libra

The next few weeks are going to be busy as hell for you, Libra, which makes this weekend the calm before the storm. Take full advantage by not moving once. The mental strength required for multiple straight weekends of socializing is nothing to be underestimated. Use this time to relax, replenish and reinvigorate yourself for two weeks ahead. Namastay in bed, betch.

Scorpio

You’re at a crossroads in your life, Scorpio, and it’s time to make a decision. Tragic, I know. In this case, the only advice we can offer is to take to road that scares you a little. Life is too short (nuclear war impending) to be boring. Choose adventure and excitement over the ordinary, because odds are we’re all dying in a radiation storm next month anyway.

Sagittarius

Love is in the air, Sagittarius. Don’t believe me? Understandable, considering how dry you’ve been in that department lately. But along with the insane traffic and potential cults, this eclipse is bringing some spice to your love life. Your only job is to be open to it. Spend the next two days saying yes instead of no and see where it gets you.

Capricorn

You’re going to find yourself feeling nostalgic this weekend, Capricorn. Blame the eclipse or the ever-looming threat of nuclear war, but you may find yourself craving the comforts of childhood. Do not fight this. We all need to go back to basics from time to time. Use this weekend to revel in the things that make you feel safe and at home and shun anyone who tries to detract from it.

Aquarius

Let’s get right down to it, Aquarius. No one can fix your life but you. You can whine to your parents, bitch to your friends, drown your sorrows in cheap wine, but none of it will matter unless you get up and actually do something about your dumpster fire of a life. This weekend, either resolve to fix your problems or invest in a lifetime supply of two buck chuck. For your sake, we’re hoping it’s the former.

Pisces

You know what you don’t have time for, Pisces? Dumb people. Life is short and so is your patience for incompetence. Use these next two days to take stock of your life and the people in it, and then do not hesitate to trim any fat. We could all go up in nuclear smoke any day now, so don’t waste your time with anyone who doesn’t make your life better.

Party Like There’s No Tomorrow (Because There Literally Might Not Be): Weekend Horoscopes Aug. 11-13

In light of the very real possibility that we’re all going to die in a nuclear blast literally any day now, this weekend’s horoscopes are all #YOLO themed. You know things are bad when we’re breaking out obnoxious sayings from 2014. Hopefully the North Koreans get to us before “on fleek” makes a comeback. 

Aries

You know that guy who’s like, a friend of a friend of a friend of a coworker that you shamelessly stalk on Instagram? The one you see at a bar and then immediately sprint to the bathroom even though he has no idea who you are and risks no chance of recognizing you? You’re gonna fuck that guy this weekend. Or girl. It’s 2017. You have nothing to fear other than the fact that you might not be in the immediate blast zone and have to live with the ramifications of nuclear war. Compared to that, picking up a guy in a bar is nothing. Check every story, every location, any place you could possibly discover their location and go there. An office? That could be hot. Their home? Cuts out all the middle work. Go get em, tiger.

Taurus

You’ve been internalizing a lot of shit these past few months, Taurus. It’s understandable—expressing any kind of emotion is generally the worst and you’re not one to rock the boat. No more. This weekend, let it all loose. Your blood pressure and impending ulcer will thank you. Call your mom. Call your friends. Call your roommate from freshman year of college who blatantly lied to your face about stealing your skirt when you SAW her wearing it in the grubby basement of some frat. Let everyone know that you may have temporarily forgiven them, but you didn’t fucking forget. After that, take a long, restful nap that only comes from cleansing your soul. Will you have friends when you wake up? Who knows, and also, who cares. Just less people to check in on when that first mushroom cloud appears.

Gemini

You know that drastic change to your appearance that you’ve been contemplating since you were 21 years old but were never bold enough to follow through on? Maybe it’s a crazy hair color, or a new piercing, or a tattoo that you’ll regret in approximately two months. You always kind of consider if after a breakup or a hard week but then shrug it off and move on with your life like the rational person you are. Well this weekend, you’re going for it. No questions, no regrets, no looking back. We’re all going to look like shit when radiation melts our skin off, so take advantage of your natural beauty while you still can. Throw in a couple shameless ‘grams while you’re at it. There are no rules anymore!

Cancer

You hate your job, Cancer. You know it. Your coworkers know it. Your neighbors know it because your walls are thin because you can’t afford a nicer place to live because your shitty job won’t pay you enough. It’s a cycle. So this weekend, you’re going to quit. Live out the last of your life in luxury by spending that meager savings you’ve been trying to build. You know what the world won’t care about when the entire West Coast of the United States is on fire? Advertising. Did I just assume that you work in advertising? Yeah. You’re a Cancer and you read this website. So drop off that letter of resignation on your way out Friday and spend the weekend celebrating your newfound freedom. It’ll be short-lived, but so will the rest of us.

Leo

In case you didn’t get the memo from last weekend’s horoscopes, Leo, it’s time to cut shitty people out of your life. You’re already dealing with a shitty government, environment, and general outlook on life. Your relationships shouldn’t be adding to that mess. If there’s someone in your life who does nothing but detract from your happiness, this is the weekend to cut them out. Don’t let things like tears or pleas for forgiveness deter you. You’re a hard-ass bitch in this new Mad Max life we’re living in. Would Charlize Theron put up with it? That’s the single question that should guide your life from this point out. You deserve the most happiness you can muster before we all inevitably go up in flames, and don’t let anyone stop you from getting it.

Virgo

You’ve been waiting for a signal, Virgo. With all the authority vested in me by Betches LLC and that one book I read on astrology three years ago, this is your signal. Pack your bags, give your notices, and get the fuck out of town. Pros: you’re finally leaving your cage, you get to experience new things, and you’ll be (hopefully) moving away from the impending war zone. Cons: literally none. Tell your friends and family that you need some time to “find yourself” or whatever Eat, Pray Love bullshit you can come up with, and then hop on the first plane out of this forsaken country. You probably won’t even have to get souvenirs for anyone, because we’ll likely all be dead when you get back.

Libra

You have a choice to make this weekend, Libra. You’re at a crossroads, and no amount of advice from friends or ill-sought guidance is going to get you through it. This is a decision that you have to make yourself, unfortunately. Most people with your best interest at heart would tell you to go with your gut or the option that makes you feel safest or some other canned fortune cookie response. I am not one of those people. I am suggesting that you make the decision that causes the biggest splash, the one that overhauls your life as much as humanly possible. Change sucks but there’s no reason to avoid it anymore, because everything is going to change whether we like it or not. Missiles are flying everywhere. The president is tweeting threats like he’s a 13-year-old who just discovered the internet. Nothing is sacred. So make a move and make it big, because it’s probably one of the last ones you’ll ever get to make.

Scorpio

You’re not stranger to a tumultuous lifestyle, Scorpio. I’m having a hard time telling you the best way to fuck your life up because you have no problem doing that yourself. So in this weekend of all out, balls to the wall impulsivity, my only advice is that you follow your heart. It’s never lead you to safety before and it’s not likely to start now. Whatever your gut reaction is to any given situation, that’s how you should react. Have the sudden urge to punch someone or dismantle a display in a store or run a red light? Do it. For the next two days you are Mayhem from the Allstate commercials. Make the most of it.

Sagittarius

You lead a tight-laced life, Sagittarius. You never make rash decisions. You consider every option before pursuing something. It takes your 45 minutes to order food at a restaurant. And you know what? That used to be fine. You were raised as the product of your environment, an environment that was safe and nurturing and not on fire. Sadly, this is no longer the case. This weekend, usher in the next era of your life by being as impulsive as possibly. For the first time in your life, you will not rationalize your decisions. You will just make them with abandon. It will be terrifying and liberating and possibly destructive but it’s okay because we’re all on the brink of death. Get out there and get wild.

Capricorn

In these harrowing times, Capricorn, it’s time to start putting yourself first. You know who never makes it through apocalypse movies? The loyal sidekick. They’ll make it to the end only to sacrifice themselves in the name of friendship or some bullshit like that. You’re better than that. If you’re going down, it’s going to be in a blaze of glory. This weekend, assert yourself as the leader of your pack. This move is bound to cause tension because you’re probably the faithful best friend to a narcissist who never thought you’d have the balls to defy them. Prove them, and everyone else, wrong. Become the leader and live through the end of the movie. Or the next week. Kind of the same thing at this point.

Aquarius

Let’s not mince words here, Aquarius. You’ve always thought you were better than everyone, but were either too polite or shy to say it. There is no place in the year 2017 for social graces or meager people. This weekend, let everyone know that you’re better them by saying it to them. Preferably as close as you can get to their face without actually kissing them. Or, you know what? Tell them you’re a superior being and then kiss them. What a power move. Are you going to lose friends over this? Likely every single one. It’s okay, because there’s no room for friendships in 2017 either. It’s you vs. the world vs. Donald Trump vs. North Korea. Never forget who comes first.

Pisces

You’ve been harboring some feelings for someone that you probably shouldn’t have feelings for, right Pisces? Maybe it’s a friend’s boyfriend or a coworker or a super-hot queen of dragons who is technically your aunt but it’s not like you’re aware of that yet so everyone just shut the fuck up about it?? Whatever the messy scenario, this weekend you are tackling it. Life is too short for unrequited love. It’s time to put yourself out there, consequences be damned. If it’s meant to be, then you are the main character in this story and everyone will forgive you anyways because LOVE and DESTINY. If not, well at least you tried and honestly incest is a gray area anyway, right?