The Best Friend
The Best Friend’s Boyfriend who you sort of don’t like but are trying to not be a bitch about
He’s going to come anyway. Invite.
That flaky friend you think is cool enough, and shows up 10% of the time
Maybe this time!
That recently-turned Republican person who aggressively fights any point someone makes about Barack Obama that you went to college with and keep on your news feed to remind yourself why you’re always right
You have way too many gay friends for that shit, plus you don’t hate yourself or your party-to-be
Your three friends from work that you regularly get lunch with
Invite them all; one of them will show.
That guy you went out with one time who is loosely connected to some of your friends
Meh, could come in handy.
Your friend who’s married now (ew, weird! Adulthood!)
Invite her & the husband.
The two people from high school that you actually still talk to
That one sad person from high school that complains all the time about how no body cares about them or treats them the way they deserve to be treated
Ha ha ha, no.
That guy you met on OKCupid that insisted on friending you before you hung out that one time and now you’re afraid to defriend him because he might randomly email you and be upset because he still ‘Likes’ your statuses and you find that somewhat endearing as you cultivate your soon-to-be-famous Internet presence
That friend that you always invite to everything (and they always invite you to everything) that you totally want to hang out with more, but you have polar opposite schedules so you only see each other once every six months
OMG totally! Maybe this time they’ll make it!
Those three people that you don’t really hang out with anymore but are friends with all of your friends and will be totally offended if you don’t invite them
*Set as admin*
That weird friend of yours that lives like 8 states away that always seems to find the invites when they aren’t invited and types out sad emoticons on the wall of the event saying “there in spirit!”
You don’t select even though you know they’ll be the first one to write on the wall of the event, somehow.
The guy you have a crush on that lives really far away and totally won’t come, but you always fantasize about them accepting—or better yet, not respond and then SURPRISE YOU—and showing up to admit that he’s always had a crush on you and after he received this particular Facebook invite, he knew he just couldn’t hold it in any longer and had to travel to this very party to confess his true feelings.
The crew from college that you see pretty regularly
*click click click*
That one super-argumentative person whose social reader updates prove they never work a minute of their life
That acquaintance most of your friends don’t like, but you sorta had fun with one of the three times you hung out
Hmm…maybe round two.
That guy that your roommate likes that she totally won’t invite on her own accord, but you’re a total wingman so you know to do her a solid
Your neighbor you sometimes see awkwardly in the hallway by the mailboxes that is way too chatty
Hmm…ahh, maybe? He’ll probably invite himself over when he hears the music, anyway. Round two.
Your neighbor you sometimes see awkwardly in the hallway by the mailboxes that you really want to be friends with
Invite with a personal message “Hey-o, Your GQ got stuck in with my bills, want me to stop by and bring it up to you?! p.s. Thought we’d invite you to our party if you’re around.”
Your current boss
Your old boss
Not if you want to have a shameful night of poor life decisions that won’t ever accidentally find their way back to your mother!
There are two things that predict a level of personal loneliness in the digital age: 1.) how many times you’ve reactivated your OKCupid account, and 2.) who you invite to an event involving friends.
The latter is definitely the more pervasive, telling occurrence—since we all know OKCupid is mostly just another way to stave off boredom and maybe find some vague form of validation from internet strangers.
It feels weirdly more intimate to hold onto selecting a friend in a Facebook invite, or cc/bcc’ing on an email invite about a party. You sit and hum, wince, think, add, delete, re-add, pause, awkwardly laugh to yourself (which holds a whole slew of emotional nuances in it), and move on to the next—most likely a person you have to invite for obligatory reasons that WILL show up when that’s the opposite of what you want. But you’re a wiener, so you do it anyway! But, getting back on track, these invites, they’ret this thread that we rationalize as a connection to an acquaintance that you never quite “got there” with, or have let slip away—either reluctantly or just out of sheer scheduling conflicts. Time is never on anyone’s side. But when you’re feeling especially lonely, it’s even harder to say no to inviting those people to things. It’s a regret spiral. It’s a way of appeasing your feelings or casually winking (metaphorically) at a person in hopes they’ll respond back with a “OMG hey! I can’t make it, but how are you?! Send me a really long diatribe with details about your life so we can reexamine this friendship that we never had/had but lost/don’t really have/will hopefully turn into romance/will get us both somewhere beneficial (maybe)”-type email/FB message/text. Or better yet, that they’ll show up and in reconnecting, open up an entire new chapter in your life (romantic—literally or figuratively—or otherwise). We all know that never happens.
So why do we do this? We all have that person or group of people—be it one or eleven—that we long to connect with better, but never can or will. So why is it that sending out a superfluous invite to a gathering/event we both know they’ll never come to, feels appropriate and sometimes necessary?
It should also be noted that these people do the same in return (if it’s one-sided, well, that’s just weird, America); it’s a constant volley of back-and-forth. Intended missed connections. Friend Seeking Friend to Friend. Wink Poke Nudge. I think your twenties are filled with those lingering outliers. But still, beyond all reason, why do we care?
I wonder if these digital dances get easier in your thirties.
1. I tell really great stories! - Seriously, I get on some Shel Silverstein meets Herman Melville type shit when it comes to story time: weird and seriously long. Exhaustingly so at times. But! Lucky for you this just means that I am going to make you laugh 60% of the time, make you feel better about your own life 30% of the time, and confuse you the other 10%. Which still sorta ties in to the aforementioned 30%.
2. I am embarrassing enough for the both of us! - Don’t worry, best friend; I’ve got you covered! Gone will be your days of embarrassing moments, because when you become friends with me, I steal all your embarrassing moment potential via osmosis. You’re officially the coolest! Now let me tell you a story about that time I almost peed myself in public.
3. I will always pig out with you! - No need to be embarrassed about wanting that extra slice of crack pie—GIRL/BOY YOU DESERVE IT!
4. I give GREAT makeovers! - Now if I could only dress myself. Best Friend YOU LOOK SO PRETTY/HANDSOME!
5. I can make a song out of anything! - Seriously, who doesn’t love hearing a really long Silverstein-meets-Melville story in melodic pentameter?! ♪ I do I do I do-oo ♫
6. I will always listen! - To every story! Even those about your other friends! Just don’t get mad when I call your other friends dumb; friendship is about honesty! Besides you get to tell me that all the time, so it’s only fair I get to do it sometimes! They don’t appreciate you like your best friend does!
7. I make really amazing coffee! - Seriously, shit is legendary.
8. I cook dinner parties like a motherfucker! - Seriously, shit is legendary.
9. I know all the words to that song, too! - OMG should we choreograph a dance to it?
10. I write really, really, ridiculously good & hilarious Facebook wall posts! - Inside jokes, funny lines from movies, and just general niceties! Yep, pretty proficient at that!
11. Winglady extraordinaire! - I am such a fantastic winglady. I can make small talk with a pine cone if need be—so you don’t need to worry about me & the dude you’ve been eye-fucking for the past twenty minutes at the bar’s awkward friend with the drooling problem. We’re going to get along great! Just bring protection! Safety first! But before you go off to that not-at-all-seedy corner, you got an extra napkin handy?
12. I non-ironically love sleepovers! - Seriously when did this stop being cool? Because nothing, to me, is more fun than a sleepover over the age of 21. You can buy delicious cheese, amazing wine, great ice cream, and stay up super late talking about other people or hilarious internet things or Ryan Gosling or our feelings. And then watch a movie and drink coffee in the morning to stave off the hangover. SO FUN! We’re adults! Doing kid things! But in an adult way!
13. I have enough nail polish to manicure a small island nation! - This is GREAT during said sleepovers. And don’t even get me STARTED on my top coat.
14. I am GREAT at being lazy with you! - Want to sit all day and watch “Say Yes to the Dress” or “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”? How about “Downton Abbey” or “Parks and Recreation” or “30 Rock”? OMG that’s totes what I wanted to do, too!
15. Scarf-swaps! - This is probably the only other thing Stevie Nicks & I have in common besides both being total goddesses.
16. Sappy compliments! - You’re so amazing! You smell so great! That color is a revelation on you! You’re the best thing of the day! You could TOTALLY make out with Ryan Gosling! You’re having a MAJOR Liza moment! You’re the best lady/dude best friend in the history of friendships! Let me write a song about you!
17. I have SO many owl things! - Because they are so cute and kitschy and hilarious! And you love that I’m a little bit weird like that! And also nothing says best friendship like being easy to shop for around holidays & birthdays.
18. Wordplay & puns at every turn! - Owl always be a hoot; whooooo else could be this clever?!
19. I am great at giving gifts! - All those things you mention casually or eye off-hand. Consider them yours! You’ll be so surprised and excited every time there’s a reason for present-receiving.
20. I will never fall off a cliff & die so that you have to remember me in memoriam and be sad! - I am way too nervous about shenanigans that hover anywhere above 15% dangerous. I’m going to live forever so you don’t have to be sad!
21. PUPPY PICTURES! - I promise you, best friend, no less than 10 adorably hilarious and precious puppy pictures a month. They will have witty captions and may sometimes be wearing costumes. PUPPIES!!!