Here Comes The Doomed
My best friend of five years was the maid of honor at my wedding, and wants me to be hers, too. The problem is, whenever she isn't with her fiancé, she's with another man. They go on dates, have sex, and send each other sappy text messages. He paid to name a star (in the sky!) after her for Christmas, and got her a $300 spa package. She says she cannot imagine her life without her fiancé, then says the same thing about Guy B. When I tell her I can't help her plan her wedding to Guy A while she's telling me about being with this other man, she says I'm judging her, and abandoning her, and I'm just a "fair-weather friend."
Like the bride-to-be, I've recently made the disappointing discovery that a number of people in my life seem to be "fair-weather friends." Just last week, I was planning to rob the liquor store, and my so-called friend Jackie, after all I've done for her, refused to drive the getaway car. And the other night, I just didn't have what it takes to drag the garbage bags of body parts into the backyard, then do all the digging. Wouldn't you know it, I called Nancy, Hillary, and Cathy, and surprise, surprise, everybody's shovel was "in the shop."
Oh, sorry, was I confusing "friend" with "accomplice"? Ideally, a friend is somebody you love, respect, and admire, whose fundamental values resonate with yours. Sound familiar? I didn't think so.
"Friend" is one of the more misused words -- a warm, fuzzy word carelessly dropped into conversation to describe arrangements that aren't the least bit warm or fuzzy. Much of the time, it should be accompanied by a qualifier; for example, "Proximity Friend," a "friend" whose main merit is being conveniently located. Sure, you eat with this person every day -- not because you find them particularly compelling, but because you find they're usually ready to hit the cafeteria when your blood sugar is. Next, there's the "Nothing Good On TV Friend": You're bored, you hate bar-hopping alone, what the hell? And don't forget the "Historical Friend." You have so much in common. Okay, well, just those Hanson concerts way back when, and that time in eighth grade when you two got caught shoplifting Hello Kitty.
So, for your "friend," it's raining men. This doesn't mean you have any obligation to stand around holding the umbrella. If she really cared about you, she wouldn't be demanding you become the accessory to a major sliming of a guy you've probably gotten to know and like. Sure, you're judging her and abandoning her, and what took you so long?
As my friend Cathy Seipp says when people accuse her of making a "value judgment," "I've got the values, so I'm making the judgment."
You might put your own values to work by encouraging this girl to do the right thing and at least tell the fiancé she's "confused." Of course, you should formally resign as her maid of honor. Inaction on your part actually speaks louder than whistle-blowing. If you tattle, she'll most likely deny it. But, when the maid of honor bows out of the wedding, the groom's gonna wonder. In the meantime, re-evaluate all your friendships and see whether they fit the bill. After all, if this girl's your "best friend," who's your second-best friend? I'm guessing the lady who hits your parked car and leaves a big dent and the note, "I'm just leaving this note because people are watching."
Don't Goal There
Following a breakup, I had a steamy one-night stand with a guy, but blew him off afterward. Recently, I ran into him at a bar. We really connected, and ended up back at his place. We've been spending almost every night together ever since, I've met his friends and co-workers, he holds my hand when I visit him at his office . . . it's feeling like a relationship even though we initially agreed it was just sex. Although I'm not sure what I want, my girlfriends have been pushing me to protect myself by having the "So, where is this going?" talk. Would I be wise to follow their advice?
How many guys do you know who give their girl-toy a tour of their office, and march up to their supervisor and say, "Hey, Boss, meet my lil' somethin on the side!"? Chances are, for this guy, it isn't just sex. But . . . maybe that's all you'll ultimately want. At the moment, you're having some really good times, vertical and horizontal, and you seem bound for more of both. So, what, exactly, is the problem? Well, aside from your failure to protect yourself by having the "Why don't you put a sock in it?" talk with your commitment-crazed, busybody girlfriends.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com.
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