It’s Good to be Disliked, A Manifesto.

I probably don’t like you. You’re welcome.* (*: Not sarcastic.)

My fourth-grade classroom restricted its students to bringing identical Valentine’s Day cards for everyone or no cards at all. I found this a problem, as most of my classmates were bland blobs, while a vocal minority were… [people I didn’t like].

Only this year—at age 25—did I finally realize I can choose my friends. Four of my friendships ended this year, and I’m glad they did.

An ex ended our friendship—my first official ending—in July, followed by an old poker buddy in August. I ended one in October—my first initiation—and a different ex ended our friendship on Monday. Every one of these has been a wonderful change, with benefits extending far beyond free time.

It’s common knowledge—and I find it experientially true—that you “can’t please all the people all the time.” Apply that to relationships: Some people won’t like you. Turn that around: You won’t like some people. 

Ending a friendship is therefore an act of integrity. It forwards your values. It makes manifest your soul.

You prioritize your family. You care about your friends. Most people choose a partner to prefer over all others. Having preferences is Good. It’s the foundation of consciousness. 

All my friends have former, now-dead friendships. Most drift apart instead of going out with a bang, but both seem to happen surprisingly often. People grow and change. Friendships die. We can still love what was.

You can hate some people and everything they stand for. You can love with abandon those you prefer. You can express your soul. If someone doesn’t like you, good for them.

We used to make plans.

As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?

I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:

  • We’ve lost certainty and confidence.
  • We’ve gained flexibility and opportunism.
  • We’ve lost reliability and comfort.
  • We’ve gained the more frequent upgrades.
  • We’ve lost security in friendships.
  • We’ve gained the freedom to follow our whims.

If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.

No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:

  • “What did I do that made him cancel?”

or, worse,

  • “What’s wrong with me that made him cancel?”

I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you? 

Sometimes I write in pictures.

You!
Yes, you!
Look at this guy:
A short, squat gnome
With a big paunched belly
And an erect penis
And neck
This text is here purely for formatting reasons
Born a dewdrop
That jiggled on a leaf,
Slurped up by a ladybug
That hums above the field.
Clouds billow, foretold shocks:
“Don’t hum begrudging agreement.
It’s not what you’ll want tomorrow-
Just what they demand today.”
This text is here purely for formatting reasons
He writes from a place southwest of my sternum
Aflame from rotting friends.
He wants to show you.
Take a look?
Or run.
“Please don’t run.”

Quotent Quotables, Volume 2

I’ve curated a list of recent quotes from my life, along with a challenge: Who said each quote? Me or Not-Me? (Answers at the end; track your responses to see how well you fare!)

  1. “You know that Carly Simon song? It’s about me.”
  2. “Sometimes I feel like I’m always rushing. Then I get some free time and it’s just the worst.”
  3. “When you eliminate the extraneous, all that’s left is you. When you eliminate the you, all that’s left is the Tao.”
  4. “Pickling is so great. They take cucumbers and make them edible!”
  5. “Nexterday. I mean tomorrow.”
  6. “I like spending time with people with low self-esteem—whenever we arrive at a problem, they’re too busy blaming themselves to blame me.”
  7. “I’m a coffee drinker, so cups of tea aren’t my cup of tea.”
  8. “You’re nervous. That’s okay. Just don’t be nervous about being nervous.”
  9. “My computer just told me it has an upgrade it wants to run. Let me guess: it’s going to make the computer run more slowly and not affect how I use it at all.”
  10. “The more I learn about how things work, the more I learn they’re stupid and poorly done.”
  11. “Avocado would be a great Halloween costume for a pregnant woman.”
  12. “With T-Mobile, you get free tacos on Tuesdays, but with Verizon you can make phone calls.”

To protect you from accidentally seeing the answers, please enjoy this anecdote: (Real! Real true! Real true funny!)

Context: A highschool couple eats dinner at Chick-Fil-A. The Girl has painted her face with such vigor that it lacks pores. The guy sports spiky hair, diamond hoop earrings, and flip-flops.

Girl: I don’t find comedy funny.

Guy: You don’t find comedy funny?

Girl: I find it cringe-y. It’s not natural funny. It’s like forced funny. I don’t like comedy movies because they’re not funny. I feel like the only comedy that I actually find funny is, like, White Chicks. Oh my god! We should watch White Chicks together!

 

(Scroll down for the answers)

 

(Keep scrolling)

 

(Who’s a good scroller? You are! Yes, you are!)

 

Those answers you’ve been waiting for:

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 12 are by Yours Truly

Your Score:

0: You know me incredibly well, but prefer self-sabotage.

1-3: Next time, try flipping a coin.

4-6: You did flip a coin.

7-9: Let’s be friends.

10-11: So close and yet so far. Was it the pickling? I bet it was the pickling.

12: Self… is that you? I mean me? Are you… me?

An Ex texts, “Marry me?”

An Ex texts, “Marry me?”

I say “You must be reading my blog.” She says no. She says she’s serious. Phrases include, “Clearly soul mates”, “White picket fence”, and “Multiracial adopted kids”.

How the hell does someone respond to that? After sufficient bewilderment, I settle on: “No thanks. Not really interested”. Later, I add, “But I suppose I appreciate the sentiment”.

After an hour of confusion, including texting a mutual friend to ask if Ex is okay, Ex tells me it was a joke. She has, in fact, been reading my blog. A joke, you say? Ha…

Ha…

I guess.

I suppose I deserve this. And I did ask for more pranks. It’s also eye-opening: this must be what friendship with me is like.

I intentionally don’t have a best friend. 

I intentionally don’t have a best friend. I don’t like the categorization. Or perhaps I have a best friend and just don’t know it:

  • If all my friends were in a burning building and I could only save one, who would I choose? Is that my best friend?
  • Is my best friend the person with whom I spend the most time?
  • Is it the friend I enjoy spending time with the most?
  • Is it the friend I think has the greatest impact on me? On the world?
  • Or is it just a gut feeling when I think the phrase “best friend”?

When I think the phrase “best friend”, I feel repulsed. Not from my friends, but from the concept.

So I don’t have a best friend. Not since fifth or sixth grade, when I had a best friend with whom I fought constantly. Or maybe seventh or eighth grade, when I had a best friend with whom I fought constantly. I vividly recall making my seventh grade “best friend” cry.

Since then, my life has been more of an ensemble cast. I have friends who I love. I don’t make them cry. That’s enough.