DAME’s Friendkeeper gives the go ahead to comment on annoying speech habits (nicely!), and what to do when a friend is still friends with a backstabber.
I have a friend who I adore. She’s compassionate, even-tempered, thoughtful, well-read, and has the coolest collection of shoes I’ve ever seen. Here’s the problem: She says, “like” after every other word. “I was like, ‘No way.’ He was like, ‘Oh my God.’” It seems to be getting worse. She’s decades past being a teenager and I can’t understand why or how she doesn’t know she’s doing this. I’m so worried about offending her but I feel as though I need to say something. I’m, like, losing my shit. Thank you!
My Ears Are Bleeding
Back in my 20s when I used to go out with my gal friends to meet young gentlemen, we’d do this thing right before we talked to a guy. We’d lean our head back in our friend’s face and ask, “Do I have a booger?” This was important, the one thing in the world we knew that would stand in the way of ourselves and a lasting relationship was something errant hanging out of our noses. To this day, I always ask my peeps to let me know if there’s anything jizzy going on with me. My aunt makes me promise to tell her if something in her apartment ever seems cootie-fied, because she knows we don’t always see our own stuff. It may sound crazy, but I think it’s loving to protect the people we are close to from looking bad in front of others. Your friend’s speech pattern is a tiny bit different. A lot of people have a thing they always say—I think I say “The truth is” way too much, and a guy I just interviewed said “The point being” in almost every sentence.
But the “like” thing is different. It makes one sound less than eloquent (maybe even dumb). My guess is she has no idea she does it. The challenge for you would be how to tell her without offending her. This is what I would do: Next time you are with her and she does this, ask her if she realizes she’s said “like” a lot. Say it without judgment and maybe even act like this is the first time you noticed it. Gauge her reaction. If she seems to recognize this and act embarrassed move on, also if she doesn’t recognize this and is embarrassed or angry move on—say, “Maybe it’s me.” She may, though, be glad you told her. The point being (wink), you don’t want her to be at a job interview or meeting the person of her dreams and not realize she has a booger. But feelings being what they are, tread lightly and back off if the suggestion is not welcome. It’s possible she’ll “hear” it later. And you know, like, good luck.
About three months ago I found out of friend of mine, Tara, told another friend, Amy, a total lie about me. She said that I said I slept with my boss. I didn’t sleep with him and if I had I wouldn’t have told her. When I confronted her, she sort of backpedalled saying that Amy misunderstood, but Amy was very clear that’s what she said. Now I have unfriended Tara in real life. I don’t want anything to do with her; I don’t trust her. But Amy continues to see her and hang out with her. I am really upset. I think Tara has the integrity of a snake, but Amy says I’m just a “grudge holder.” I feel like Amy shouldn’t see Tara anymore or at least back off a bit, but she’s not doing anything of the sort. In fact, she seems to see her more. And when I suggest this she acts like I’m crazy. What do you think? Am I?
Not only am I a grudge holder, I come from a long line of grudge holders. Ask my mother about the time our neighbor accused my brother Brian of “stealing” a chocolate chip cookie from her house. It happened in 1972, but the outrage is as fresh as today’s garden tomatoes. I seem to have gotten that from her; not only do I hold my own grudges, but my friend’s grudges, too. Often my friend Jancee will call and ask me why she doesn’t like someone and I’ll have to remind her of of the unforgivable sin. And I know this about myself and recognize it in others. I remember one ex-friend told me, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Maybe so, but it’s up to the forgiver to judge the err. I am very forgiving about mistakes. I don’t care if you forget my birthday or break something of mine (I even forgave someone for accidentally killing one of my pets). But some things aren’t mistakes … like my friend’s husband who kept accidentally putting his dick in other women (she left him). What Tara did (and I’m trusting you when you say you’re sure she said this) is pathological. It’s not just telling something she wasn’t supposed to (which I generally do forgive), it’s making something up and telling it. As far as Amy goes, I’m not so crazy about how she behaved either. She told you. Okay. But then she wants you to move on. Maybe she feels guilty for telling you, but what it feels like to me, is that she hasn’t validated the yuck of this. If she wants to remain friends with Tara, she can, but she should be very clear not to treat you like you are overreacting. And this is what I would ask. What was her point in telling you? Did she want to check the story? Or let you know Tara was spreading rumors? Whatever it is, telling you is like dumping a bag of shit in your lap, and now she’s expecting you to leave it there. There’s something a little sadistic in that. At this point you need to speak up: “This is what happened and this is how I feel and now I feel like you’re not behind me.” Start the dialogue and see how it goes. I don’t think you are doing yourself any favors by remaining friends with her if she doesn’t respect your feelings.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
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