I make grand statements, like: “Hotdogs are so gross – I never eat them.” But, later, when you see me eating a hotdog, feel free to call me on it and we’ll laugh. I will likely tell you that sometimes I say things that I want to be true. I don’t want to want hotdogs. I don’t want to want to eat them, but they are weird and salty and good, so I eat them occasionally, but it makes for a lousy declaration: “Hotdogs are so gross – I eat them occasionally.”
Friends don’t make friends stand by dramatic statements about hotdogs.
Tip 9: Don’t make me feel guilty.
I don’t like to talk on the phone, and more than that, I don’t like people trying to make me feel guilty that I don’t call them. I talk to my parents on the phone, and a very small selection of friends that do not live near me. That’s it. If you want to talk on the phone, that’s fine, but don’t call me. I might love you with every fibre of my being, but I don’t want to talk to you on the phone. Please don’t try to make me. I have caller ID.
Friends accept friends’ quirks about not wanting to talk on the phone.
Tip 8: Don’t fix my weird.
Speaking of quirks, I have a lot of them. Do you? Let’s love them. Our quirks are what make us interesting. Don’t hate the weird – don’t try to fix it. If you notice that I never know where my keys are, feel free to offer totally logical solutions like placing a bowl by the door or a hook somewhere and advising me to always keep my keys there. But don’t assume I will take the advice. It’s not that I can’t figure out how to organize a key section for my home, it’s that I don’t want to have every last little bit of my life organized and boxed and easily understood. I like a little chaos, and that means I lose my keys a lot. I’m okay with it.
Friends love friends the way they are and don’t try to change them.
Tip 7: Don’t try to make me eat mushrooms.
I don’t care if you love them. I don’t care if they are considered a delicacy. I don’t care if you think for sure I’d like them the way you cook them, because the way you cook them is spectacular. I don’t care if someone else you know who used to hate them and who now loves them also won the lottery and this win had something to do with mushrooms. I won’t try to make you eat food, read books or watch programs you don’t like. I don’t like mushrooms. They are gross. Leave it alone.
Friends don’t force friends to eat mushrooms.
Tip 6: Don’t lie.
I usually trust people right away. I think people are innocent until proven guilty, but once you are proven guilty, I will likely never trust you again. I know. A bold statement, but sadly leaning towards more true than false. It’s shitty and hurtful and pathetic and small to lie. Just don’t do it. But if you are going to lie, please come up with something remarkable so I can at least walk away with a good story to share. (Like my best worst date ever story that is based on a terrible, terrible date that turned into one of the best dinner party stories I get to tell for the rest of my life, and which will be shared in some future blog article, likely entitled: Best Worst Date Ever And Other Crap Events That Turned Into Great Dinner Party Stories.)
Friends don’t lie to friends.
Tip 5: Don’t remember something lame I did and tell the story for the rest of my life (unless it’s funny).
I had a friend who used to do this all the time. I’d introduce her to new people, and she’d regale them with Shannon’s Best Loser Moments for the rest of the night. Mostly funny stories, but a few that didn’t need to be shared. This is shitty friend styles. I have a plethora of loser moments that are a-okay to share. So sure, poke some fun, in fact, poke a lot of fun. But make sure it’s actually fun. And while you are at it, check that your intentions are on the up-and-up: are you trying to make me look silly and have a few laughs? Okay – I’m in! Are you trying to embarrass me and make yourself look good? Not okay – I’m out.
Friends don’t try to embarrass friends in front of friends.
Tip 4: Don’t think opinions are scary.
I had a visit from an awesome friend recently, and we were talking about what it’s like to hang out with me, and one of the things she said was: “You have aaaaaaa loooooot to say about things.” And then we laughed really hard because it’s true – I have something to say about everything. That’s likely super irritating for some people. To enjoy my company, you have to be a strong, thoughtful person who also has opinions on things, and who knows that an opinion is just that – one person’s perspective on a subject. I’m sharing mine because I want to hear yours, especially if we differ.
Friends have healthy debates with friends.
Tip 3: Don’t innocuously suggest I do something and then get pissy if I don’t.
So, two things about that. One: If you want me to do something, straight up ask me. Don’t be all coy and subtle and try to make me think it was my idea to begin with. I took psychology 101 in university, too, Freud – I’m on to you. Two: Just because you want me to do something doesn’t mean I have to do it. It’s just a suggestion. If you need a favour, that’s a different story. I will help if I can. If you think that red pair of kitten heels with the sparkles is the best choice for me, well fine, that’s your opinion, but no way am I wearing those shoes.
Friends ask; friends don’t tell.
Tip 2: Don’t be a try-hard.
Don’t be a different person from one party to the next. Don’t change personalities with your outfit. That’s lame. If we go to a party filled with folks that are one step ahead of pop-culture and make references you don’t get, who cares. Be you. If we go to a party and everyone seems to have travelled the world both by backpack and by luxury yacht, and you haven’t, who cares. Be you. If we go to a party and everyone is uptight, let’s leave and go somewhere cool. Just be you wherever we go. I dig you. Other people dig you. There’s stuff about you that is awesome. That’s why we’re hanging out.
Friends don’t pretend to be something they are not.
Tip 1: Don’t write a list of ten helpful tips to achieving successful friendship.
I know this isn't a tip about friendship, but I've run out of tips. It seemed like a good idea at first, but after number six, I struggled to come up with things that didn’t make me sound like a finicky bitch. Maybe you are nicer than I am? If so, ignore this tip and please try to come up with a more reasonable list than I have. And share!
Friends. They are the best. Unless they’re not.