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.
One of my best guy friends is very wealthy. His family recently invited me on a bike trip through Spain. They paid for absolutely everything even though I insisted it wasn't necessary. On the last night, he gave me an expensive necklace, a designer clutch, and a bouquet of roses – all in front of his entire family at dinner. Obviously I was really flattered, but I felt bad about accepting the gifts. I declined at first but he kept insisting. Now his family wants to send me a brand new bike. I don't feel anything more than friendship for him. He's never told me he has feelings for me, but I'm starting to get the idea that he does. I just want to let him save face. What should I do?
Um, why don't you have this fellow email email@example.com and I'll be his new lady bff? 'Cause I could use me some Tiffany jewelry, a Birkin, and a pretty floral arrangement. Bonus points if he is as handsome and debonair as super-foxy (and temperamental!) MasterChef judge Joe Bastianich.
As all your other friends know, this dude is totally in love with you. And his family is sold on you as their next member. Miss Lady, how did the all-expenses-paid bike trip offer not clue you in before you agreed to jet off to the land where the rain allegedly stays mainly in the plain? That is some pre-engagement shit right there. I'm surprised he didn't tuck a diamond ring into that designer bag.
You need to have a potentially uncomfortable conversation with him and tell him that while you appreciate the extravagant gifts, they make you feel a bit strange. Does he expect more from you than just friendship? See where the conversation goes from there. If he says, "No, I just like to give fancy crap to all my buds," then drop it. The likelier scenario is that he admits to having all the feels for you, in which case it's time for you to say, "Oh gosh, I just don't feel the same way. I treasure you but I can't offer you more than friendship."
My best friends, a married couple, were watching my kids last Saturday, when I get a call at 11 p.m. The wife says I have to pick up my kids because the cops are coming. I rush to get them and find out that a fight had escalated between the husband and wife, during which he threatened to kill himself. Apparently, she grabbed a knife, he kicked down a door, and they both threw things around the house and screamed at each other. All this took place in front of my terrified kids. I have not spoken to either of these friends since that night, even though they have tried to apologize. Am I wrong to consider this an unforgivable offense against my family? Am I wrong to want to sever our relationship completely?
There are times when shouting and threats of violence are necessary, as when MasterChef alpha judge Gordon Ramsay notices that a contestant has failed to show proper respect for the stunning mystery box ingredient of the week. And that's entertaining and all, especially when it involves a gorgeous Dungeness crab or perhaps a fabulous cut of beef.
But you know when screaming and scary shenanigans are not okay?
When kids are around. (You'll note they never let kids near Gordon Ramsay on MasterChef, except on the episode where they all had to cook for an elementary school. But I digress.)
Your former friends are, respectively, a stinky dickhole and a crusty twat rag. You entrusted these people with the care of your babies, and what did they do? Traumatize the hell out of them, that's what. Obviously, there are some terrible issues in this marriage, possibly including untreated mental illness (that suicide threat sets off bells and whistles) and verbal and/or physical abuse. They are broken people and hopefully they'll sort their business out. But they did the worst thing an adult can do, which is lay his or her own fucked-up bullshit on a child.
No, you should not speak to them ever again, unless it's to tell them what horrific, gaping assholes they are. They put your children in danger, and that is cruel. You're a good mama bear, and your instincts are exactly right.
I have a person in my life – let's call her Dianna – who's somewhat of a "friend stealer." She and I met and started to become good friends about five years ago. It's only in the last year that I've started to notice this pattern: I make another new girlfriend, then she and Dianna meet each other at some gathering I organize, and Dianna immediately Facebook-friends her the same day and starts to invite her to all of her parties (even when I'm not included.) Previously I didn't mind, but now it's starting to irk me. I'm a fairly introverted person, so it takes a lot for me to go out, meet new people, and lay the groundwork for new relationships; when she does this, it feels like she's swooping in and gets to skip all the difficult first steps. Am I being silly and territorial, and should I just let this go?
I don't think you have a friend-stealer; you have a friend-sharer. Dianna's outgoing and probably loads of fun, and you have similar taste in human companions. I think you feel jealous because it's harder for you to make pals. Maybe those "difficult first steps" aren't so difficult for Dianna. But I guarantee there are other aspects of life that come to you more easily than they do Dianna. Perhaps you're better at filleting a beautiful wild salmon and coating it in the perfect glaze. Just, you know, by way of an example that has nothing to do with The Greatest Program On Television.
Take the energy of your envy and convert it to fuel for your friendships with other women. Don't be afraid to have gatherings without Dianna, or to do one-on-one friend dates with different gals. I bet that if you spend time with your friends and realize how much they care about you, you'll feel a lot less threatened by Dianna. Like maybe you and some girls could fly to Chicago and go to heavily tattooed MasterChef judge Graham Elliot's restaurant, Grahamwich. I mean, they've got homemade sodas. Or you could all try to cook a recipe from the new cookbook by my personal she-ro, MasterChef Season 3 winner Christine Ha. She's blind. Can you believe it? I know.