I always thought it was so very important to have friends. That the value of having a friend, that their value as a person outweighed their faults, those little things that made you cringe.
Then I spent five days on a trip with my “friend” and realized that there are some things that absolutely negate whatever value a person might have as a friend. I realized that I don’t need someone in my life where I’m holding my tongue more often than not, where every other sentence out of their mouth goes completely against my most deeply held beliefs. I don’t need a friend who makes me feel like I’m worth less than I am.
(In reference to my grandma saying that she’d refinanced for a 30 year mortgage and my cousin bringing up that she wasn’t expecting to live another 30 years to which my grandma replied “of course”)
He says: I thought it was weird how your cousin said your grandma wouldn’t live another 30 years. It’s bizarre how your family idolizes death.
I don’t say: It’s unreal to expect my 80 year old grandmother to live to be 120. We all know this and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. The fact that my family recognizes death as a part of every person’s life isn’t idolization. Between my aunt’s 20-year-long battle with cancer, my grandfathers prolonged and painful death from Parkinson’s and terrible dementia, and my parents’ and my work in healthcare, we have all seen just how terrible and painful death can be. Just because we value quality of life over quantity, because we have no desire to inflict greater pain upon ourselves or our family, does not mean we seek death. Knowledge of how rarely CPR works makes a DNR sensible, not foolhardy. You’ve never had to stand by and watch as someone dies, slowly and terribly, and the only thing you can do is hold their hand. You’ve never had to do this twenty times over. You only show your ignorance by your words.
I say: nothing
He says: That’s so gay. That’s the gayest ______ I’ve ever seen. I’d rather give myself AIDS than ______.
I don’t say: You’re sustaining the culture that makes kids feel like they’re wrong, unnatural. Your casual use of those words creates an atmosphere so poisonous that kids feel like suicide is better than living in it. You’re trivializing the experience of countless people suffering from a terrible illness. You make me feel like less of a person with your words.
I say: Don’t use those words. I know you think it’s funny but, really, it’s not.
He says: What? It’s a treatable chronic disease. I’d rather give myself AIDS than _____. I mean it (I know he doesn’t). It’s cute how hard you try to be liberal and progressive.
I don’t say: You have no idea just how wrong you are. I try to be liberal and progressive because I don’t appreciate people taking away my social and reproductive rights. I oppose republicans because the fact that I can be fired from my job because of who I love is more important than fiscal conservatism. You think it’s cute because you’ve never had to debate putting an equality sticker on your car for fear of vandalism.
I say: nothing
He says: You’re too young, you don’t understand that some policies are meant to be broken.
I don’t say: When you’ve stood there, trying to keep a patient from bleeding out because a doctor didn’t follow protocol, tell me that some are made to be broken.
I say: nothing
I used to think that it was okay to excuse his behavior because he was my friend. Now I realize that there is no excuse. I don’t deserve to be ignored and put down like that. I am a smart, independent, multi-faceted woman and I deserve recognition of that by the people I choose to have in my life. So I choose not to have him in mine any longer.
Sometimes the value of the end is greater than the friendship.