Can I Trust My Friend and Mentor When She Hangs Out With Toxic Jerks?


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 [email protected].

I have a friend, a Reiki Master, who I’ve regarded as a mentor the past couple years. I’ve benefited from her healings and advice, but however…I FUCKING HATE HER FRIENDS!!!! They’re awful, toxic, and beyond irritating. I’ve avoided going to her birthday parties in the past because I just really can’t stand them. It kind of makes me question whether or not she’s truly on a higher wavelength because of how beyond subpar her choice in companionships are. Sometimes I can brush it off and tell myself to grow up, other times my intuition tells me something is inherently off. I feel petty. Help!

Here is a fun thing that is true: no one is on a “higher wavelength” than anyone else. Everyone shits, pisses, eats, sleeps, fucks, and fights right here on this same planet. We are all dirty animals mucking about in our own filth, and a $200 weekend training and Reiki III “attunement” in the basement of the local Unitarian church does not give you Jesus powers.

Your friend is not magic. She is not your Professor Dumbledore. She is a human being. She is allowed to have all kinds of friends. You are allowed to not like them.

Hey, I don’t doubt these people are douchebags. No way would I ever tell you to make nicey-nice with them for the sake of appearances. If you care about her, you will spend time with her one-on-one when you can. If she asks why you haven’t shown up at her birthday party or placental encapsulation ceremony, feel free to tell her whatever you want. “Sorry, I was busy, but I’d love to take you out for a nice winter squash puree and a farty fermented beverage” would be fine.

Look, if you want to tell her you don’t necessarily feel you mix with her other buds, that’s fine. But things might get awkward. So I leave it to you to ponder while you read a book on your zafu. Suggestion: “Orientalism” by Edward Said.

This advice has been brought to you by “The Frown Song” by Ben Folds.

Feminism is making me resent my BFF! She’s been in unhealthy relationship after unhealthy relationship, since high school. She leaves less than a month in between, and dates unattractive, nerdy men because she thinks they won’t leave her. Her boyfriend has been slowly breaking up with her over the past month. He’s moved his stuff out, said it was done, etc. She still talks about him like they’re just fighting and won’t accept that it’s over. I’m very patient with her, but inside I’m seething. My mother dragged me through all of her relationships during my childhood, and I’ve been reading a lot of feminist literature lately. It’s making me more and more disappointed in her for not understanding that men aren’t the answer to her incomplete self. She is as without identity as pre-housewives in The Feminine Mystique, and she really does just aspire to be a mother and wife. Even though she graduated from MIT! The question is: What do you do when your feminism gets in the way of your friendships with not-so-feminist women?

Whoa whoa whoa, since when are gals who went to MIT not allowed to work inside the home and raise excellent human beings and run a tight household ship? Lady, my BFF double-majored in religion and psych in college with an A average and “just” aspired to be a mother and wife. It was pretty good training. She runs her household with a level of energy and commitment that impresses the hell out of me. She’s raising two great little dudes. She knows how to cook and clean and fix things and build stuff and do tasks that are considered girly and tasks that are not considered girly. She picks up part-time work when she can in order to help out with finances, but she’s not career-minded in the way that you or I might be. She and her husband seem to me to be pretty equal partners when it comes to division of labor in the household. And as far as I can tell, she’s quite happy and healthy.

In short, you need to stop looking down on your friend for wanting a different lifestyle than you want. She wants good things. Let her want them. I hope she gets them.

Now as for the unhealthy relationships thing, that is certainly a problem. And it obviously triggers some issues you have with your own mother, which probably explains the amount of indignation you’re directing at your best friend. But you know as well as I do that you can’t make someone else’s romantic choices for her. If you’re genuinely concerned about a current relationship in which she’s involved, have a kind chat with her. Share your worries. Let her know how much you care about her and how great you think she is – if you do indeed think she’s great. If you simply don’t like her and the choices she’s made, it may be time for you to step away from this friendship. She doesn’t need your fake love.

I suggest you use your extra time to read “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” by Tucker Max.

This advice brought to you by “The Thong Song” by Sisqo.

I live in a student dorm, and for the first time in my introverted life, I have a very close group of girl friends I see nearly every day. One of these girls is a few years younger than I am. She’s funny, smart, and outgoing, but she’s also a bit rambunctious and immature, and likes to pull pranks on the rest of us. Two nights ago, coming back from a party at 4AM, she ran down my hallway screaming, kicked and banged at my door, and ran away again. The noise woke me up and, thinking it was a burglar or something (I haven’t always lived in the best of places…) I had a full-fledged, shaking, hyperventilating panic attack. I found out who it was the next day. Tonight, I ran into her and the rest of our friends, and I brought that up. I wasn’t upset, but I wanted her to know I was serious, so I told her in a firm tone that I didn’t want her to do that again. She just looked at me and said “I don’t give a shit if you’re upset, and I’ll never apologize, because I didn’t do anything wrong.” I was stunned, so I just said the conversation was over and walked away. None of my friends followed me, and I haven’t heard from them since. I’m hurt and, honestly, furious. Am I really the one who was over-reacting, and should I reach out to apologize? Or should I stop putting up with her for the sake of having friends?

This girl sounds like an immature jerk, and I think you can live quite happily without her as a friend. (BTW it was a bad move to call her out in front of all your friends – you probably embarrassed her, which explains in part her hostile reaction – but whatever, she sounds like she sucks anyway, so it’s no big deal.) The pack mentality in which people often participate dictates that many of the other friends will “side” with her, and that sucks. Some of my most embarrassing memories (and I have plenty) stem from my own youthful belief that I somehow gained or lost power based on which side I chose during a social clique war. Now that I am an ancient, wizened, wrinkly crone, I realize how dumb I was. And maybe these folks will grow up and realize the same thing. But you don’t have time to wait for them to figure their shit out.

Approach the young ladies who seem most reasonable and open to chatting, and talk to them individually about your concerns. Focus on building relationships with individuals rather than the group. And consider joining new clubs at school in order to meet new people and make potentially kinder friends. Maybe you could start a book club and read “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman.

This advice has been brought to you by “Girls’ Room” by Liz Phair.

Image via Getty.

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