Can we talk about friends for a minute?
<Cue group groan.>
Why is that? When did friendship become A VERY HARD THING? I’m not talking about your ride-or-dies—you know who they are—I’m talking about the very real problem of:
(a) Being an adult;
(b) And making friends;
(c) Who kind of suck;
(d) And aren’t supportive.
How did we get stuck with these hambonis?
Case in point: a woman emailed me the other day about “proving yourself to non-believers.” And I thought: who are these dollar store peanut trolls you’re dealing with?! WHO HAS THE GALL TO TELL YOU THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU??? And then I realized: Oh, wait—they’re the very same people she probably loves and trusts and listens to for hours, as they drone on about their cheating son-of-a-shit husband, the job that makes them miserable, and how they’ve been getting off to the garden gnome in their spare time.
Otherwise known as: friends.
(Also, why else buy a garden gnome?)
YOUR FRIENDS, turns out, will be some of your harshest critics. And, please understand that I’m using the term loosely, because real friends don’t do this—but somehow, someway, there’s always that death stick who weasels their way into your life who’s a champion vampire. And, somehow, someway, they will make it their mission to make you feel less than, stupid, silly, childish, untrustworthy, goofy, naive, incompetent and unqualified—whether you’re starting a small business, trying your hand at something new, or just wearing a goddamn new pair of shoes.
And—in the most annoying plot twist—it’s always the person who doesn’t have an iota of their life together, who has plenty to say about what you should and shouldn’t do with yours.
Am I right?
Have you had this happen to you?
I’ve had this happen to me.
I remember complimenting a friend, one time, on something they had written. Their response? “Yeah, I’m a good writer: unlike other people, I don’t need to take your workshops.” <——🤯
Another time, I had someone tell me that “when I was done playing jewelry designer,” they’d take some of my tools, the implication being that I wouldn’t be at it very long. (I have a silversmithing studio set up in my house—it’s one of my hobbies.)
And another time, I recall excitedly getting one of my first kits from We Are Knitters (I LOVE THEM). I had some folks over for a dinner party, and when someone questioned me about the blanket I was working on, this person replied: “You would be the kind of person that would get a kit.”
MY BRAIN LITERALLY EXPLODED.
A long time ago, I might have put up with those comments, but I don’t now. Now, if you come for me, I will come for you. And you will lose, because I spar verbally for a living. 🤷♀️
(Though honestly, the best way to handle this is to express disappointment, not anger. Because when you’re disappointed in someone? It suggests that they should be seeking your approval—not the other way around.)
(And then you get new friends.)
But, that’s not the point. The point is to say:
Are you going to believe that person when they cut you down? Or are you going to recognize that the reason they’re cutting you down is because the only way to make you equal is to make you small? 🤏
They cannot reach you, babe. You are beyond. And, yeah, people ARE going to be threatened by you. They’ll be absolutely tortured by your ambition, your drive, your big enthusiasm. Your very existence is gonna sting like a motherfucker. Because every spark of magic you have? Reminds them that they’re without.
People who do this are suffering, greatly.
They are not creative, wild, free. They are not full of romance, nor aspiration, nor any furious passion—they have no great howling for life. They are soured. Dejected. Forever living in the shadow of other people who can make life bend to their will; other people who are so effervescently alive.
I do not want you to fear these people or their opinions.
I WANT YOU TO FEEL PROFOUNDLY SORRY FOR THEM.
Because these people are not non-believers in you: they’re non-believers in themselves. You are merely a mirror. And every time you step into the room, you hold that mirror up to their bitter, little pinched face. And every time, they loathe what they see. Because what they see in their reflection?
Is their own inadequacy.
It does not matter if you are starting out on day one, or if you’re a respected authority in your field. It does not matter if you are successful, if you are rich, if you are good, if you are kind. It does not matter if you are smart, if you are dedicated, if you are capable, if you are wise.
They will come for you.
But their assessment of you has nothing to do with you. And therefore, their opinion of you is nothing but a faint little pathetic scream—the only sound they can make as they choke on their own painful cowardice.
They aren’t criticizing you.
We just don’t hear it that way.