Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's new column devoted to dealing with the valuable people in your life who you're not humping. Got an issue and looking for guidance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm single and childless. A close girlfriend of mine is married with one child. Since her baby arrived just over a year ago, I've seen very little of my friend. Recently, she told me that she was very hurt that I haven't called her more since the baby has arrived and that she feels like I haven't kept up with our friendship very much. The phone still works two ways: why hasn't she called me? Why should it be my responsibility to drop by your place to see you? How do I talk to my friend about this situation?
I'm single and un-childed as well. I understand and empathize with how you feel. I don't think you're a bitch and I don't think you're a bad friend. That said: you need to suck it up…for now.
Complete and utter absorption in this new assignment is absolutely what must and should happen in the first year of a child's life. In the immortal words of Angie Jolie, she's in charge of a "blob" –- a helpless, screaming, shitting, hungry, pants-pissing, fever-getting, beautiful, precious, annoying little 24-hours-a-day job of a blob. She loves this blob more than you or I have ever loved anything in the world, probably, because it grew inside her and then came out of her undercarriage or her belly, and also it probably tore open her vagina or required her tummy to be fucking stapled. Her pussy looks like a trainwreck, her tits are suddenly a saggy lactose factory, and she has probably accidentally gotten someone else's poop on her bare skin (maybe even her face!) more than once.
And sometimes, in the dark moments, when nobody is around to help, or maybe when her husband is sitting on his ass while the baby shrieks bloody murder, she may think to herself, I'm not sure this was a good idea. She might even look at that squinched-up little red face and think, I hate you right now, even though I love you and my greatest fear in life is that you will stop breathing when I am not around to make you start again. But because of you, I can't do anything cool anymore and all I am is a lady who wipes someone else's shit off her face.
Just to get an expert opinion, I talked to a friend of mine who is a mom to two little ones. She said of new motherhood, "It's not even like you're enjoying this. It's just like, Jesus, can someone please come in and save me for a bit." I remember visiting this friend when her kids were toddlers, and she was thrilled that I spent fifteen minutes watching "Yo Gabba Gabba!" with the adorable imps so that she could go to the bathroom by herself.
Here is the great news: itty bitty babies do not stay itty bitty babies. They grow and change and become self-aware, as the robots inevitably will, which is when we will all become their human slaves. However, unlike the Robotpocalypse, this gaining of self-sufficiency is a GOOD thing when it comes to babies. It means your friend will have some time, in three or four years, to pay more attention to you. Until then, it is probably going to be up to you to carry the burden of effort in this relationship. Yes, she needs to call you and text you and email you and even get a sitter once in a while, but overall, these next few years are largely on you. Eventually, this period of time will just be a foggy memory, and you'll have co-created a friendship with which you can both happily live.
All of my close friends but my BFF have moved out of town over the last year or so. Now BFF has announced she's moving a thousand miles away (but just up the street from her Crazy Friend). So, I'm pissed as hell that she's leaving me with no local support, and I'm also worried that she's making a huge mistake moving to a new city with no job where the only person she knows is Crazy Friend. CF is the type of person who stops talking to you if you get a pet because that means you no longer love CF (true story) and who was called out as reason for her mother's suicide in the note (also true). As a result, I've pulled way back from my friendship with BFF and we've had several fights about how I'm "supposed to be acting." So tell me, how am I supposed to be acting?
First of all, let's get something fucking straight: the fact that your friend's friend was "called out" as a reason for her mother's suicide has nothing to do with her own personal character. It has everything to do with the distressed mental state her mother was in when she wrote that note. It's sad and scary and probably caused your friend's friend a ton of pain and guilt. So I don't care how much you despise your friend's friend; we are not here to blame her for her mother's death, which was entirely her mother's choice.
What I can tell is that your friend's friend has had some pain in her life and has acted out in ways that you feel negatively impact your BFF. Well, your BFF is an adult, and she's allowed to move wherever she wants, and be buds with whomever she wants. You feel as if she's abandoning you, but she has her own life and her own goals and her own dreams to achieve. It is not her fault that she remains your only "local support." You need to cultivate new relationships with folks who live in your general vicinity –- or you need to move closer to friends.
At any rate, stop shitting on her other friendship and stick to topics that you can both amicably discuss. It's not your job to save her.
I have a friend who is a features reporter for a local newspaper. While I'm more than happy to brainstorm story ideas over cocktails, I'm starting to feel like she's doing more than just running with my ideas. This friend has used photos I've taken, jokes I've made, or things I've said in her stories — all without asking me if it's okay and without crediting me in any way. I understand I'm not going to share her byline, but she'll post links to her stories on Facebook and, when people like a turn of phrase or particular bit, she just soaks up the praise, instead of mentioning her friend who helped her.
She's used photos you've taken? Without giving you credit? Has she ever heard of journalistic ethics, ever, in her life? You need to straight-up tell her to quit using your stuff without giving you credit. An occasional joke or witty comment may slip past her brain's filters, and that's okay -– no malice intended (as a comedian and a freelance writer I've been there.) But repeated use of your work (including your photos, jeez) is not okay. If her employers knew what she was doing, they'd shit-can her ass and hire one of the kabillion desperate journalism majors lined up to take her place. Cite specific instances in which she has violated the most basic rule of journalism. Do it kindly and tell her you feel it's in her best interest to cite sources.