When I was in 8th grade, I was called into my homeroom teacher’s classroom along with my four best friends. We strutted in, knowing we were oh-so-cool, and got a lecture I’ve never forgotten.
“You girls are being mean,” Mrs. D told us. “You’re being exclusive and clicque-y and it needs to stop. You need to be nicer.”
See, my little group was that “popular” crowd of pre-teens that hung around with some high school boys (read: older siblings) and snuck out during lunch period to smoke cigarettes (newsflash: smoking’s not cool). I didn’t have any older siblings and I didn’t try a cigarette till most of the way through college, but I’d been friends with these girls for years. So I was part of them. So while my naive little self honestly thought I could be – and was – friends with everyone, that lecture during recess illustrated just how wrong I was.
Don’t get me wrong here – I wasn’t wrong about the “popular” kids being able to be friends with “everyone else”. That’s totally possible and after our budding egos were appropriately cut down, the dynamic changed noticeably.
Where I was wrong – and where I continue to stumble to this day – is the notion that I can be friends with everyone.
When I meet someone new – and we’re gonna stick to girlfriends here, since it’s most relevant to me currently – it’s pretty easy for me to jump down the Friendship Rabbit Hole.
I mean, it’s usually a lot of fun! New Friend gets to be introduced to all your other Rabbit Hole Friends. New Friend comes to girls’ nights and brunches and gym classes and sometimes even vacations.
You know what I’m talking about, right? I mean, the same thing happens when you get a new boyfriend, only then it’s called the Honeymoon Phase.
And what happens after the Honeymoon Phase? The same thing that happens once you hit the bottom of the Rabbit Hole: you’re granted a clear look at the type of person you’ve invited down there with you.
Overall, I’ve been lucky with my Friendship Rabbit Hole. Or maybe I’ve been foolish. Once I bring you down there, it’s hard for me to accept that you might not belong there after all. Hopefully you’re just as great as I initially thought and I’m thrilled to keep you! Sometimes, though, your true colors are revealed and instead of Friendship Rainbows all you have are Friendship Graveyards.
So then I have a choice. I can allow to you dwell down there with me and disappoint me over and over again. I can allow you to disrespect me and to break my trust. I can choose to make excuses for you.
Or I can kick you the fuck out of my Rabbit Hole.
It’s really disappointing when someone doesn’t meet my Rabbit Hole Standards. That’s never the desired outcome and when it happens with more frequency (as it has recently), it makes me doubt my own judgment.
So here it is, one of my 2012 Life Goals: Upholding the Standards of My Friendship Rabbit Hole. No more excusing the girl who forgets to offer support because she’s “spacey.” No more overlooking the discomfort that comes with the girl who makes every guy into a competition. No more accepting the fair-weather friends who suddenly become too busy to be there when it’s most needed. No more 5th, 6th, 7th chances to “make it up to me.”
Be a good friend, or get the hell out of my Rabbit Hole.