Hello, yes, I’m talking to you. You know who you are. I know you know, because as you read this your cheeks are getting hot, just like they did the last time I was in your car and we said goodbye. We need to talk.
Listen, I’m your friend. I’m here for you. When you need to vent about a grueling week of work, or about your mom’s sickness, or how your brother is in trouble again and you just don’t know what to do, I’m here. Whenever you need me, you know I am available, as a sounding board to fire back encouragement or as a vessel to gently drop some of the wreckage that’s become heavy since being soaked in your grief. We’ll meet up at one of our usual spots (you know exactly where I’m talking about). You’ll get a beer (I know which one; you are a master of habit) and you’ll order us some fries to share (thanks for always specifying that they plate it without the included parmesan – you my dude).
As a friend, I love you, and I will always be here for you. I will not, however, be relegated to this recurring role as the other woman when it comes to matters of your heart – specifically, matters of your girlfriend. It would be one thing, my friend, if you came to me about her rarely, and asked me, from the point of view of another woman you cared for and respected, what you could do to make it work. It would be one thing if you said, “Tiana. I’m hurting a lot, and often. Do I stay or do I leave?” and were genuinely interested in what I had to say. Instead, you want to complain about her and her tendency to react with jealousy (we’ll get to that in a minute). You want me to stroke your ego and say, “Sexy friend of mine – women love you! Any of us would love you! She doesn’t deserve you, let me make you happy!” I have listened to you and tried to offer, to the best of my limited abilities (as I am getting only one side of this dilemma) advice that would suit you both, and hoped that you would be happy. I listened, I consoled, and honestly, I coddled you and made myself part of the issue.
When we were side by side, your knee brushing against mine, both of us lamenting about love, and you asked me to ditch the restaurant bar we were quietly hidden in to go meet up with some of our friends, I was thrilled. What fun I had with you – how much better it would be when we added a few more of our tribe to the evening! But then, you leaned over and said, “You just can’t say you were here with me right now. My girlfriend is coming later, and I don’t want her to know I was here with you. She has her radar up about you.”
Do you wonder why she gets jealous? Are there others you meet up with in secret, cloaked in dark corners and hushed tones? Is any part of our friendship – one of the few I’ve had with a man that hasn’t been clouded with motive – even real? Am I nothing more than a convenient, comfortable old haunt you visit when you need to be made to feel like a man again? Have I always been that to you?
If your relationship is genuinely, continually, as bad as you say it is – leave. You may be a big part of the problem and why it is so hard. But please, stop using me as your other woman. Don’t ask me to lie for you. Don’t look to me to fulfill an emotional need that should be met by your girlfriend, or better yet, by yourself.
You were one of the first people who made me feel welcome when I came to this new city. I can’t tell you how often you’ve made me laugh, even after the moment has passed, just when I remember something you said or some ridiculous scenario we lambasted. We’re buds, we’ve got each other’s backs. My friend, I will do anything for you – but not this. Not anymore.