Last weekend, amidst a cloud of beer haze at a mutual friend’s backyard kegger, Sally’s friend Stan and I got to talking about our matching quarter-life crisis’s, which consist largely of Facebook envy and binge drinking. Then we kissed. Sally and I are A-list friends who work, shop, eat and gossip together. I’m not sure how Sally and Stan are friends; I think from back home, but they are boy-girl besties. Sally constantly urges me to “give Stan a chance,” and I politely decline because honestly, I’m a bit spicy for Stan. She maintains Stan is a “nice” guy. Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.
Brave Stanley asked me to be his beer pong partner even though I admittedly lack hand eye coordination, which I later discovered doesn’t matter because Stanley rocks at beer pong. In fact, Stanley just rocks. So imagine my surprise when Sally called Sunday afternoon irate over learning Stanley and I had locked lips. “But Sal, you’ve been saying Stanley and I should get together forever,” I retorted followed by a series of spins on “I’m sorry,” which all fell on deaf ears. Monday morning met cold shoulder silent treatment, and I sat at my desk debating whether a) I was reliving high school, b) I should email her even though she was sitting next to me or c) I chalk it up to immaturity and cut the strings.
Like any responsive friend would do, I informed Stanley that present circumstances prohibit us from further interaction. I then emailed my former therapist now freelance writer turned relationship guru friend seeking advice. She smartly replied and informed me of the following: Most people would say Sally is jealous of me, advise against a guy worming his way between friendship, or suggest patience until she comes around. These, she said, are surface level responses masking the deeper issue. Um, what’s that?
Jealousy and envy are emotion words that signal insecurity. She suggested Susie’s reaction demonstrates underlying insecurity, which she either fears too much to discuss or lacks skill to express. Sally may be altogether unaware of this insecurity as uncovering our underlying emotions requires a high level of self-awareness…and also sucks. Verbalizing to our friends (family, coworkers, girlfriend, etc.) fear, embarrassment and self-doubt is downright horrifying and leaves the expresser vulnerable, weak and exposed. Who would want that? It’s much easier to give someone the silent treatment until your feelings have suppressed or subsided or both.Like bubbly Sally’s silent treatment, uncharacteristic reactions speak to our depth of emotion, and in this case, insecurity. I can judge Sally’s lack of self-awareness and inability to communicate, but in the end of the day we all have our hang-ups. While I can’t be certain Sally and I have the capability to proceed with the A-list friendship we had, perhaps my discernment can keep us afloat and maybe someday, even if unconsciously, be appreciated. Because after all, we get by with a little help from our friends
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