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 the only female in a band I sing for and because we're all friends, I end up hanging out with the guys a lot. I have a pretty high tolerance for jokes made about me and I can usually join in the laughter that is directed towards me — most of the time. But then they crack jokes about how women are inferior, and I just can't handle it. They know I'm a feminist. They claim that they're only joking and that they just like getting a "feisty" reaction from me. Am I being too sensitive for second-guessing whether they truly respect me as a person?
Hi, are we soul sisters? Because as a stand-up comic who is sometimes the only female on a line-up — and occasionally the only female in the entire venue — I feel you on this one. And those guys sure do love to razz us, huh? Sometimes it's their way of flirting with us, because they think everyone is still 8 years old and the best way to get a girl's attention is to pull her pigtails. Other times, they are just being dicks.
FYI, your friends are probably all secretly in love with you, but also they are just being dicks.
I have found that with dudes, it's best to calmly and sincerely tell them when they are acting like jackoffs. Don't mince words. Just be straightforward.
Here is an example for you:
Dude Friend: Huh huh, you seem like you're in a bad mood! What are you, on your peeeeeriod?
Girl: You're not funny, Dude Friend.
Dude Friend: Bwahahaha, guess I was right about your period!
Girl: No, you're just acting like an asshole and making a fool of yourself. You sound like an idiot.
Make steady eye contact throughout this exchange. Make it awkward for him. Make it weird. You can even walk away afterwards without waiting to hear his reply! Your job is not to make him feel comfortable with the fact that he's hurt your feelings.
If these fellows fail to improve their behavior, there's also the option of quitting and finding a band that actually respects their badass lady lead singer. You're the whole reason anyone comes to see the band play, anyway. These little shits need you. They best show some respect.
I had a long-distance friendship with a gal and then I found out she was in a long relationship with a married man. It was hard to swallow because I knew him and because she had lied to me about it for over 10 years. We ended up on different life paths and now I have moved back to the city. She got in touch and gushed about how much fun we will have again. Then I find out she is on her third married man relationship! I just blew a gasket and told her how disappointed I was in her choices and frankly in her too. I have not heard from her since. It troubles me because down to my bones I believe her behavior is despicable.
Look, I'm not going to tell you to be friends with someone whose behavior actually disgusts you. And like you, I've certainly played judge, jury, and executioner with regard to other people's life choices — usually conveniently ignoring my own numerous flaws and irresponsible acts.
But she's not shtupping your boyfriend or husband. She's making her own choices on her own time, and they don't affect you. Nor is it your place to tell her how she ought to live her life. It sounds she genuinely enjoyed your company and cared about you, and then you unleashed all your pent-up, self-righteous fury about betrayal and jealousy and infidelity on her. No wonder she doesn't want to talk to you.
As Jesus said, and I may be paraphrasing here, "Before you go shitting on other people's lives, take a look at your own. Are you perfect? No. No, you're not."
My boyfriend and I live with a friend who's pretty seriously depressed. We're close, but lately she's been really hard to be around. She wants to know where I am all the time and wants to spend all her time with me. She'll get angry at the smallest things and threatens to take off and/or hurt herself. She says that if I was really there for her, I'd want to be with her 24/7 (even though I've told her that's impossible). My boyfriend and I are terrified she's going to try to kill herself, but at the same time we can't supervise her all the time because we've got jobs. I feel like I'm being a shitty friend by being pissed off with someone who's depressed. What can I do?
I can't answer this question without telling you a few things about my own life.
I have experienced crippling panic attacks and suicidal depression since I was an adolescent. At one point in my twenties, I was so genuinely terrified of leaving my own bedroom, even to use the bathroom, that I pissed in cereal bowls and hid them under my bed. I slept all day and stayed awake all night, rocking back and forth in my bed. I stopped bathing. I stopped eating. I never left my apartment. I wanted to kill myself.
My friends saved my life.
Want to know how they did it?
They stopped trying to fix me on their own.
My friends knew my problems were bigger than anything they could handle. They couldn't watch me 24 hours a day. They couldn't prevent me from hurting myself. So they took a step that might have ended our friendship. They did something that could've made me so angry I never spoke to them ever again. They knew the risk, and they did it anyway, because they cared about my health and well-being more than they cared about my approval and affection. They told me I needed to tell my parents what was going on, or else they would.
Naturally, I refused.
Then they called my parents and told them exactly what I was doing. And I'm so glad they did, because I'd probably be dead if they hadn't.
I'm not saying you need to call her parents. Depending on how awesome/shitty they are, such a move might cause more harm than good. What I'm saying is that you need to stop trying to fix her on your own. It's time to call in someone with more expertise and power in this situation.
I suggest that you and your boyfriend speak to a mental health professional about how best to address the situation with your roommate. After all, would you try to cure cancer without the help of an oncologist? No. No, you would not. It may be helpful to eventually have this mental health professional in the room to guide and facilitate a discussion with this girl. Call it an intervention, a meeting, a sit-down — call it whatever you like. But she is a sick person who needs treatment. And if she refuses that option, you're going to be faced with the unsavory choice of kicking her out or continuing to endure her manipulation as you witness her downward spiral.
Be straightforward with her. Be clear. Be articulate. Be firm. You deserve to feel safe and happy in your home environment. And while she may be acting like a child, she is an adult and should be treated as such. Hopefully, she'll thank you for your help one day. But even if she never does, you can rest assured that you did the right thing by tackling the problem head-on.