Analysing The Ethics Of Dumping A Friend Who Gets Boring Overnight

You can tell your best mate she’s got spinach in her teeth, her dress looks weird or she laughs like a dying cat, but you can’t tell her she’s become boring... Can you?


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

In uni, me and Kate became friends when she invited me onto the lawn for a menthol cigarette and some vodka. I’d never smoked before, but I took one, necked the vodka and 24 hours (and a few clubs) later, we’d become what I’d call BFFs – if I was the sort of person who used acronyms like BFF.

Throughout uni, highlights included: Me climbing outside her window onto the roof, her forgetting I was out there and locking the window, me waking up at 6am still on the roof; her being sick in my sink; me bringing a guy back to her room accidentally because I’d spent so much time there I’d drunkenly forgotten it wasn’t mine; and just laughing helplessly at nothing for hours.

After uni, even though she was training to be a teacher in Surrey and I was rattling around London failing to be a journalist, we made it work. Like any good long-term relationship. Once every few weeks, she’d have me round to her flat and we’d drink vodka, smoke menthols and watch shit films involving Chris Evans. Yeah, we had a thing for Chris, but only because he’s SO BLAND. Anyway, it wasn’t just about drinking and smoking, it was about laughing so hard one of us invariably snorted, and talking shit and discussing the ins and outs of our lives.

It wasn’t just about drinking and smoking, it was about laughing so hard one of us invariably snorted, and talking shit and discussing the ins and outs of our lives

Now, the year is 2014. Last month she asked me out for a drink. (Since 2011, going for a drink with Kate also means going for a drink with her investment-banker boyfriend, who is really nice and discusses which bus route he took for a few minutes after he arrives anywhere.) We drank loads of red wine, and… they talked about their mortgage. And she told me about what the kids in her class are doing, and how one of them isn’t doing very well with their SATs. ‘I’ve been working for [insert celeb gossip mag/site I work for] and you won’t believe the shit you find out behind the scenes,’ I said. Nobody enquired any further, so I didn’t elaborate on the gossip. She talked about her cousin’s baby who apparently said ‘poo’ the other day and laughed. I said I finally managed to wangle a way into The Groucho the previous week. She didn’t ask what it was like, what happened, or who I was with. I gave up trying to spark any interest in my life from her and instead asked questions about children and what she bought at the shop the other day for her colleague’s babyshower until I finally got out of there. I left with both a comprehensive knowledge of her Year 3’s literacy progress and a real sense of loss.

What happened? I don’t expect her to be fallingout of cabs with her pants around her ankles – God knows I can’t do that more – but would it kill her to take an interest in my life? If I can feign interest in some kids in Surrey that didn’t get the right SAT score, then she can feign interest about what the interiors of The Groucho look like. And I saw a really famous actor in there who I won’t mention for legal reasons, so it was actually really interesting, if she’d taken the time to enquire.

Thing is, we’re in different stages of our lives now. I’m in an on/off relationship with a man who is essentially still a child but makes me laugh a lot. I rent and my room is a mess. I work in various aspects of the arts, so I work four jobs. I quite often fall into, and out of, kebab shops. She’s a teacher who’s working really hard to buy a house. She gets the groceries every night and cooks with her boyfriend. They only ever go out together. Buses interest her. I’ve lost my best mate and I don’t know what to do.

Well, that’s not strictly true. A wise friend once said – not with regards to this, but with regards to people in general: ‘Your free time is precious, so why spend it with people that bore the shit out of you, when you could be laughing?’ So after years of increased conversation about drinks coasters and decreased fun – considering we’re 26 rather than 50 and have our whole lives to discuss home furnishings – I finally sort of dumped her.

Your free time is precious, so why spend it with people that bore the shit out of you, when you could be laughing?

Not in an explicit ‘oh, this isn’t working anymore’ way via letter/email, but in a consciously implied way. When I have house parties, I don’t tend to invite her and she never finds out because she doesn’t hang out with our mates anymore. If I have a free evening and feel like pizza-ing, she isn’t the person I call. If I’m having a terrible time and just want to get away from the London smog, I no longer go out to her flat in Surrey, I call one of my mates who is more on my wavelength.

At the same time, if she gets in touch and wants to hang out, and I happen to be free, then I’m more than happy to spend a nice evening with her. And if she ever needed my help, then I’d definitely be there. I’ve just stopped going out of my way to spend time with someone I barely know or have anything in common with anymore. It’s sad that something as simple as getting a house and a boyfriend has altered the fabric of who she was and turned her into a 50-year-old woman.

But I guess people change, and friendships dissolve and form all the time – as she was growing prematurely old, I found new people who were the same mental age as me to hang out with. It’s swings and friendship roundabouts. But it certainly doesn’t stop me from wishing things were like they used to be.

Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski

Follow Stevie on Twitter @5tevieM

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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