Friend or Frenemy?
The Friend Commandments
Ever get the silent treatment from a friend for seemingly no reason? Are you always the last to know a secret? Do you frequently apologize for your actions? If so, perhaps you need a refresher on the rules and regulations of friendship. Sure, some are so obvious that you can probably recite them in your sleep: friends don't let friends drink and dial (or, better yet, don't sleep with your BFF's boyfriend while she's in Paris for the summer with Donna and your mom just had a baby with Mel Silver). On the other hand, some rules aren't so cut and dry. In no particular order, here are the friend commandments, the rules to live by. Commit them to memory, carve them in stone, or, at the very least, hang them on your fridge next to your cable bill.
1. Thou shalt not covet thy friend's life. We all think the grass is always greener, the thighs are thinner, the diamonds are bigger, and the French fries are crispier on the other side, but don't ever allow jealousy to get the best of you.
2. That being said, thou shalt not covet thy friend's boyfriend...even if you think he's way too hot for her or, deep down, you're convinced that he is your soul mate and the two of you are really meant to be together. Guess what: life ain't Romeo and Juliet or a Meg Ryan movie (you know, one of those you watch on TBS while you're hungover on a Sunday), so snap out of it, home wrecker, and go on Match.com or something.
3. Thou shalt give more than thou taketh away from a friendship.
4. Thou shalt never call thy friend up and say, "Jeff's going to be out of town this weekend, wanna hang out?"
5.shalt not spread malicious gossip about a friend unless thou wants to be run over by the karma bus.
6. Thou shalt say, "Those jeans make your butt look really good." That's your story and you're sticking to it.
7. Friends don't make their friends wear seafoam green taffeta. Actually, on second thought, let's cut the shit about weddings and just be happy for one another for one day. Thou probably will get a divorce anyway.
8. Thou shalt compromise. And compromise. And compromise.
9. Thou shalt not lose touch.
10. Thou shalt not let your friend leave the house wearing Crocs, unless said friend is working in a hospital or a garden.
Ms. Friendship Manners
Civilization...it's what separates human beings from the other animals on this planet (with the exception of dolphins). A big part of being civilized involves the imposition of rules, regulations, laws, and treaties, but what we really want to know is if it's impolite to date a friend's ex-boyfriend. Really? Not even if he was way too good for her anyway? While we'll talk about etiquette throughout this book, here are answers to some frequent friend dilemmas. Remember: when common sense fails you, Friend or Frenemy?'s resident guru of politeness, Ms. Friendship Manners, will come to the rescue!
Dear Ms. Friendship Manners,
I have a bit of a dilemma. After wasting my time with a string of heinous dudes, I finally found one who delights me. (I guess if you throw enough shitheads against a wall, one will eventually stick around long enough to make you breakfast in the morning.) Anyway, there's one teeny tiny problem: my new man used to date a friend of mine. I'm torn. On one han a friendship. On the other, you can't choose the person you love. In your opinion, is it ever kosher to get together with a friend's ex?Waiting on the edge of my loveseat for your response,
Lovestruck in Lansing
Before we get to the nitty gritty, Ms. Friendship Manners would appreciate it if you would refrain from using profanity. She also regrets that you were tortured by so many men of a fecal-headed variety. That being said, the answer to your question is YES and NO: YES, you should just go ahead and eat from your pal's relationship leftovers if you want to have NO friends.
In all seriousness, matters involving love can get rather complicated, so Ms. Friendship Manners has a complicated answer for you. Before you shift into drive and speed down Lover's Lane, you need to think with your head, rather than feel with your heart and your lady parts. Ask yourself a few questions: How serious was the relationship between your friend and this new man in your life? How much time has passed since they dated? Also, how close is your relationship with your friend? Is she the sister you never had or more like an acquaintance?
If your friend and the man had a long, passionate affair, you should quickly extricate yourself from this romantic entanglement. However, if they went on a couple of casual dates in the late nineties, Ms. Friendship Manners sees no reason why you can't have a love connection. Before making any moves, though, talk to your friend about your dilemma. Not only is it polite, but it's also the right thing to do. Keep in mind that many friends have a noncompete clause when it comes to dating. Depending on the ramifications, Mr. Wonderful might end up being more trouble than he is worth. Remember, there are plenty of male fish swimming in the sea of love, but a true friend is like a pearl, a really shiny piece of beach glass, or something else along those lines.
In closing, Miss Friendship Manners has one more point she would like to make. She respectfully disagrees with your assertion that we all suffer from Tourette's syndrome of the heart. She believes that while we might not always be able to choose how we feel about another person, we can control our actions. Case in point: Do you know who once said, "The heart wants what it wants"? It was Woody Allen, and we all know what happened after his heart got what it wanted: Hollywood Ending and Melinda and Melinda.Friend or Frenemy?
. Copyright © by Andrea Lavinthal. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.