On Bad Friends

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Each Thanksgiving, we’re supposed to think about what we’re thankful for. You might praise the based gods for the new convenient location of a juice bar, for fiber gummy vitamins, for the trendiness of brunch, or even for your tendency to only buy stretchy jeans, which has probably saved you a thousand dollars in denim purchases over a three year period of fluctuating thigh size/your on and off relationship with Soul Cycle.

In addition to these small yet important subtleties, we’re thankful for what I like to call the bigger picture: family, friends, a home, an education, and love. If you haven’t started ruminating upon what you’re going to offer thanks for when it’s your turn to speak at the Thanksgiving table, then I figured I could help you start. So, in order to make you thankful for shit you aren’t usually appreciative of, I thought it would be wonderfully cynical to talk about bad friends.

There are numerous telltale signs of a bad friend, and they aren’t always the classics: talking badly about you behind your back, ditching you for the cool kids, and ignoring your self-indulgent texts about whatever happened last night when clearly OMG IT’S AN EMERGENCY!! It’s actually similar to the small things we give thanks for on Thanksgiving. For example, you might not think you’re thankful for leggings, but you probably are. Imagine being hungover in 2003, pre-leggings trend. You’d have to wear jeans on a Sunday. How horrific.

So just like leggings, there are more covert qualities of a bad friend. And these, really, are the ways you’ll know a bad friend is a bad friend. Let’s be real — everyone talks shit once in a while. Yet it’s the girl who never tells you when there’s a giant piece of massaged kale stuck in between your two front teeth who is really stabbing you in the back.

Here’s some more food for thought to make you second guess every friendship you have. So just remember: deep breaths & we still can be thankful for leggings!!!

As aforementioned: a bad friend never tells you when there’s food in your teeth. She will tell you if you ask her. A real friend, though, would tell you as soon as she notices. The point of friendship is to have someone else keeping a check on how dumb you’re making yourself look 24/7. Kale in the teeth? Not a good move. Then everyone would think you don’t know how to eat kale properly, and a good friend would never want you giving off that impression. This one’s similar to the friend who doesn’t think your outfit is flattering but lets you leave the house in it anyway.

Another one that hits home: you know when you write something on a friend’s Facebook wall, or comment on her Instagram? Like, referring to an inside joke or trying to be funny? A bad friend will offer up the sad, sad comment in return: haha wait what?? The point of public web interaction with someone you obviously speak to privately — like a best friend — is to convey a sense of camaraderie, one of odd humor between the two of you. If she doesn’t make herself in on the joke, and publically humiliates you just to make you look unfunny, then she’s a bad friend. She’s a great friend if she has no idea WTF you’re trying to say but plays along anyway. That’s what friends are for. even if she truly has no clue what you’re trying to say. Being ignorant and rude on Facebook requires a sufficient amount of ill intentioned effort.

I, on the other hand, am guilty of Bad Friend Shopping. Bad Friend Shopping doesn’t mean I shop for friends. That would be too much. But I make friends come shopping with me just so I don’t get lonely in the dressing room. That isn’t the worst of it, though. Shopping with my mom for my mom usually turns into shopping with my mom for me. This is a pattern I’ve come to recognize and exploit, like one does with the ability to edit captions on Facebook. I’m an even worse friend to my mom when she tries something on and I tell her, “OMG Mom you have to buy it, it’s amazing!!!!!” knowing that I will probably borrow it. I admit it. I’m guilty. I’m a bad friend. (Sorry, Mom. I promise — this isn’t the case every time we shop.)

These signs of a bad friend become as rampant as a plague. They’re so embedded in normalities like Facebook interactions and shopping trips with Mom that we don’t necessarily see them as warnings but instead as quirks. Don’t let yourself be fooled, though. Letting kale linger in your teeth is never okay. And if you find that kale’s in between your teeth three hours after lunch, then you better find yourself some new friends. Real quick.

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