By “It,” I mean friendship, and by “drop it,” I mean ditch out of a friendship the moment a new boyfriend hits the scene. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I believe friendship to be one of the most necessary support systems in life. And to see it wholly abandoned for no other reason that a new guy consuming all your friend’s attention tends to eat at me.
You can imagine why I’m constantly frustrated when my girlfriends immediately put my life and me on hold the moment they get a new boyfriend. (Umm, K.) Is it simply too big of a struggle to cultivate both the romantic and the non-romantic relationships in your life? Or am I just a way to pass time until you get a boyfriend. (I’d love for neither to be true, but if one must be, hopefully the former rings truer than the latter.)
After all, “What are men to rocks and mountains?” What, indeed! Aren’t our friends in many ways our rocks? Difficult to move and present through all types of weather? Did I not listen to every detail of Lily’s breakup with her frat boy Carl? Have I not dropped everything to bring a latte and blueberry muffin to pajama-trapped Margaret when she worried her family wouldn’t accept her boyfriend? Indulged in incredibly unhealthy amounts of junk food with friends post-breakup? (Nights that cost me extra hours on the treadmill, I might add–time I will never get back.)
What I’m getting from all of this is that before the relationship and afterits end, I’m the best friend, the always single and available go-to girl for support–a title and responsibility I don’t usually mind. I’m their DSF, Designated Single Friend.
But throughout the relationship, my texts get pushed off–possibly never responded to–my work-related stress isn’t as important as what cute thing Carl or Richard or Aaron said/did last night, my own boy drama is suddenly nothing in comparison to whatever they’re fighting about. Single people have problems too you know.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you should be familiar with my friend Lily’s story. (If not, pause, scroll, and read “I Have Not a Paper Heart.”) It becomes more important for me to reiterate how similar Lily’s personality characteristics are to those of Lydia Bennet’s.
Her willful desire to see the good in everyone (possibly more like Jane Bennet here than Lydia) forces her to fall hard for whatever guy gives her the most attention (annnnnd we’re back to Lydia). And when she inevitably falls for one guy or another (her list of Wickhams is seemingly endless), I won’t see her for months at a time.
At the beginning of our friendship, Lily and I bonded over the fact that we were both anti-partiers. Since then, we’ve both warmed to the idea of social drinking, understanding that parties are just part of the college experience. When Lily first started dating her frat boy Carl, her personality slowly conformed to his. Carl took her understanding and practice of social drinking to a whole new level.
Maybe this is something most people wouldn’t bat an eye at, but when a girl goes from rarely trolling bars to frequenting them five times a week, this seems like a problem. She purchased her first fake I.D. She started showing up hung-over to work. And I got the happy task of covering her shifts so that she could continue to go out.
I remember working an Easter brunch with Lily the morning after she’d gone out with Carl. I’ve never seen anyone look more like death. Pale. Bloodshot eyes. And just completely lethargic and achy–needless to say I picked up a lot of slack that day.
Lily is the sort of girl who can get lost in a relationship. I certainly have other friends that choose their boyfriends over me on occasion. And I’ve come to terms with that. Being left out of a double date is better than having to third wheel for a night. (I’ve actually ninth wheeled before. That’s what happens when you’re the last single girl in your friend group.)
This does not mean that single people and not-so-single people cannot or should not be friends. It just means that the not-so-single people need to be careful not to exclude their single friends for their significant other.
I officially lost Lily to her latest boyfriend. I haven’t physically seen her since July of 2015; haven’t received a text or reply from her since early December. Sometimes, friendships end for no reason, and sometimes the beginning of a new relationship is the end of another.
Perhaps our friendship just wasn’t strong enough to last. As she got more serious with a guy I grew up with (and wasn’t particularly fond of), she grew more distant, cancelling last minute, “forgetting” to respond to text messages. The distance grew finite. She ran off with a Wickham, and like the Bennet family, I’ll never completely get her back.
I’ll leave it to be settled, whether the tendency of this story be to recommend relational tyranny, or reward philial dishonesty.