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 email@example.com.
My friend tries to score dates with really hot guys. Sadly, EVERYONE considers my friend a below-average-looking or odd-looking woman. I've tried to tell her (in a polite way) that she needs to really lower her dating standards to be happy but it fell on deaf ears. She goes to therapy but claims that it doesn't help her with her problems. She IS a nice, intelligent person. She just didn't luck out when it came to good looks. She says it's been this way for a long time and that she's tired of living "the ugly life." I don't want to feed her some bullshit lines – how can I actually help her?
How can you actually help her? By being a good friend, even if that means feeding her "some bullshit lines." She already knows that she's unattractive by societal standards. She doesn't need you patronizing her by telling her that she ought to go for guys who don't appeal to her naturally. Be a good fucking girlfriend. Encourage her happiness. Does she like opera? Go see "Carmen" together. Does she like hiking? Get your ass up a mountain and enjoy the fall foliage. Buy her a book about positive self-affirmations. (NOT by Louise Hay, who claims she cured her own cancer through happy thinking. And you are not allowed to buy anyone "The Secret," ever, unless you feel like learning how oppressed peoples have somehow brought genocide upon themselves via bad vibes.) Suggest that if therapy isn't working, it's time to pick a new therapist. You say she's nice and intelligent? Praise her for those qualities.
If you insist on focusing on her appearance, get your makeup did by a drag queen at the MAC counter (Sharon Needles did my makeup once 85,000 years ago when she worked for MAC in Pittsburgh and lived in a punk rock house with my friends, and it was fucking life-changing). Shop for clothes and help her pick out figure-flattering stuff.
She's got to work out her own relationship with her physical appearance. That's not your job. Your job is to be a good, fun, encouraging and supportive friend. Do your fucking job.
I have been living and working as an expat for the past six months. My closest friend here is a local woman. However, now that I’m due to return to my home country, she has gone from laid-back and happy, to uncomfortably clingy and needy. When I told her the exact date I am leaving she reacted with obvious distress and said she felt like throwing a tantrum, and that she didn’t want to leave my apartment. When we went for drinks the next night, she kept saying things like, “You don’t really care” and “You just take what you want and now you’re leaving” and “I’m used to people leaving me” (the fucked thing about that last one is that she was also referring to deceased family members, like they somehow chose death over her). She would then laugh off these statements as a joke, but I was unsettled. Her behavior is escalating, and she's invited herself along on a family trip in the country where I currently live. Should I allow her to tag along to meet the family? She scares me a little right now.
Are you fucking kidding me? Of course you shouldn't let this batshit harpie tag along for the ride. She wants to turn your skin into a fetching wrap dress she can wear while she sashays around your apartment, smoking the ashes of your bones in a glass pipe. You've known her for six months, and this is how she treats the idea of you leaving? Tell her that her behavior has really freaked you out, and that you'd like some distance from the friendship, starting with her not coming on the family trip. If that seems too scary to you and if you're worried it'll trigger some kind of insane freakout, just say you don't think it's appropriate to bring an uninvited guest along on this vacation. Then leave the country and cut off contact with this wackjob. I could go into some sort of namby-pamby butterflies and unicorns crap about love and understanding and how it's your job to help her help herself, but it fucking isn't. She's not a healthy addition to your existence. Get thee away, pronto.
I live in a predominantly Hispanic city, and things are a little old-fashioned. After high school it's common for people get knocked up then shack up, sometimes get married. That's the route I traveled. I had planned to follow my best friend to whatever university she went to and attend community college in the area but instead I became a statistic. She went off to school and we stayed close for six years despite the distance and I still planned to move close to her, but when she came back for a visit this year she was very different. She kept saying things like "I need to clean my mom's house. I don't want my boyfriend's family thinking we're just like all the other tacky Mexicans here." (Uh, she's Guatemalan and I'm Mexican, by the way.) She made fun of me for going to community college part-time in our hometown. She yelled at me for doubting her estimation of the height of a pine tree because she went to architecture school and I don't know shit. She asked me to bring tortilla chips to a BBQ she was throwing and I totally forgot and she yelled at me for like thirty minutes about what a shitty friend I am for not keeping my word. She said she only asked me to bring it because she knew I get food stamps (I was pretty broke that month). I feel like I'm just a tacky Mexican on welfare and she's an educated woman doing things the right way, enjoying her comfortable life with her rich boyfriend. It's like we're in friend limbo. Sometimes I want to reach out to her like I used to but I don't know if I should.
I can tell you have loved this girl for a long time, especially since you planned to move near her. Unfortunately, she's not a good friend. I suspect she's also not a very good person. She sounds like an awful, verbally abusive snob who is intentionally cruel and insulting. As a young mother and student struggling to make ends meet, do you really need someone talking in your ear and shaming you every time you do anything? Please. You deserve better than this. I wish I could magically make you love yourself enough to leave this chick behind. She is not morally superior to you in any way, shape, or form. Take the energy you've pumped into this shitty friendship and follow your own dreams, take good care of yourself and your kid, work on your degree, and get your finances to a healthy place (I am trying to do the latter myself, and I know it is hard – I can't imagine the kind of effort you expend in a single day juggling all those tasks!) Life is too short and too precious to waste time with garbage people. (Also, I hope all the buildings she designs are rated structurally unsound and immediately demolished.)
And one more thing – community college is fucking awesome. It's how my brother got his nursing degree, and he's happier and more successful than most people I know (even though he has to wipe butts and change pads sometimes. He's a psych nurse in a residential home for women and he's great at it.) Meanwhile, I have a pricey master's degree in teaching that I don't use because I decided to become a professional clown and word-monster instead. Like my brother, you are getting a useful real-world education. You should be proud of yourself.