Welcome to Friendzone, Jezebel's 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.
Until recently, I lived with three close friends and my partner. I found out that the roommates had thrown a party while my partner and I were on vacation. I was upset, and I didn't really handle the problem well. Everything got tense. Things came to a head when one of my roommates hit and threatened my cat. I never told any of my other roommates about her actions, and they have pretty much cut me out of their lives. I moved out a few months ago. I'm not interested in resuming contact with the roommate who was violent, but is it worth it for me to try and save my friendship with any of the others?
What in the fucking fuck? She hit your cat? Are you motherfucking kidding me? I hope she dies in Costco by being crushed by a 250-lb sack of kitty litter. Also I hope fire is involved, somehow, just for aesthetic effect. I mean, okay, I don't actually want anything bad to happen to her. But I do want her to stop punching cats. Also: let's hope she is not a secret serial killer of humans.
I don't know if you were a complete asshole about the party. I don't really care. What I care about is that this person abused the greatest of all animals, TEH KITTEH. I suggest you read up on animal abuse laws in your state (here's New York to get ya started).
I don't think you should contact these other friends. It may only serve to arouse the wrath of their chosen buddy, the Feline Fighter. Rather, I encourage you to nurture your platonic relationships with folks who have absolutely nothing to do with the trifecta with whom you once dwelt. You might even try to grow a friendship that has until recently just been a casual connection.
Also, I hate your ex-roommate. And based on her Twitter response to this question, I'm pretty sure FX's "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell" writer and thinker-median Janine Brito ("seriously WHAT THE FUCK & who's ready to form a vigilante mob?") would agree. Also, Janine commented about her own cat: "Professor Papo Meowington knows I'm a ride or die bitch."
My best friend is also my younger sister. She's 23 and I'm 25. She just found out that she's pregnant and it seems like she really wants to keep the baby. She is definitely not ready for this kind of responsibility. She's not even paying her own bills right now. She's still paying off fines for a DUI she got last year, and she borrows money from time to time. I've seen her make some improvements in her lifestyle such as kicking her smoking habit completely, dropping out of the party scene, doing well at her job, working out more, and working on building up her self esteem and confidence, but she's still too immature to take care of another human being. My cousin says I ought to let her do what she wants, but my friends say I ought to pressure her into having an abortion.
Can we just agree that nobody is allowed to pressure anybody into having or not having a baby? Is that a thing we could all get consensus on, like, right now?
Okay, didn't think so.
She's 23 years old. She wants this baby. She quit smoking. She stopped partying. She's doing well at work. She exercises. She's doing important personal spiritual/emotional work. To me, she sounds like she might make an ideal parent. But you know what? It doesn't matter what anybody else thinks about this! If she wants to be a mom, she's allowed to be a mom.
I know you're probably worried that her decision will negatively affect you in some way. And I don't think you're selfish for considering this, particularly if you've had to (perhaps literally) bail your BFF/sister out in the past. But you've got to approach this situation very carefully, from a place of love and compassion.
I think you ought to sit her down and talk to her about what, if any, role you will take in this pregnancy and in the child's life. For example, you didn't mention whether you lived together. If you do share a home, you all need to figure out where the baby's room will be. Also, will sister-friend want you in the delivery room? Does she want you to attend birthing classes with her? Are you even interested in doing either of those things? These are good questions to handle sooner rather than later.
Remember to be kind but firm and direct when addressing the financial issue. Do some thinking ahead of time and figure out if you want to offer to take care of any baby-related expenses. Understand that you are under NO OBLIGATION to pay for a dang thing – but I have a suggestion for you. It sounds like the best pre-baby gift you could get your sister would be a session with a certified financial planner who can help her sort out her bills and develop a short-term budget for the pregnancy and a longer-term budget for her child's first few years.
Good luck. Be the best auntie you can be. But make sure to lay down some clear boundaries in advance. Her choice is her choice – and that means you don't automatically become a mama when she does.
My BFF (we're 20) just found out she has herpes and is devastated. She's just crushed. I reassured her she's wonderful and will help however I can but how can I help her feel like this isn't a life sentence? That she's not going to suffer from shame for life? That she'll go on to find love? Please help me help her.
According to our smart friends at the Centers for Disease Control, genital herpes (HSV-2) appears in "approximately one out of five women aged 14 to 49 years" in the United States. That's a hell of a lot of ladies. And not one of them deserves to be shamed for it.
Now, repeat after me: this is not a punishment – not from God, not from nature, not from Mother Gaia, not from Fate, not from anything. Your best friend may need to hear this, even if she knows it logically. Also – and this is very important – every sexually transmitted infection (STI, as the modern kids do say) is manageable. What she's got to do is educate herself and follow a proper course of treatment. And you can help.
Encourage her to speak with a gynecologist, nurse practitioner, or other person with lots of experience treating patients with STIs. Your local Planned Parenthood health center would be a great place to start. The folks there may even have referrals to support groups she can join or websites she can visit (she can check out Diagnosis Glitter to start.)
I'm also going to encourage the commentariat to weigh in with positive, upbeat, and helpful stories about people who live with HSV-2. Letter-writing gal, I suggest you scan through the responses, pick a few good ones, and share 'em with your friend.
And remember to tell her that you love her.