Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Case of an Unfriendable Friend

I unfriended a friend of 25 years on facebook recently, and this led to him behaving like a 40-year-old drama-queen/man-child. The event caused me to reconsider why I thought so little about unfriending him, and why he took it as a personal attack on himself.

After much thought, I realized that he was never really a good friend. He's been this guy whom I, and other people tolerated, and tried to accommodate, because he has similar interests. As a friend, he is trully a terrible person.

Thinking back over the years, I've had roughly half-a-dozen girlfriends, and a wife, who all said virtually identical things about him: "Why are you friends with that creep?" Most of them used the word "creep" to describe him, but all asked me the same question in their own words. Just spending a few hours around him made my girlfriends feel uneasy, creeped out, or sick. My ex-wife would often ask me not to let him stay in our apartment, or would deliberately stay away when he came over. It's hard to tell friends these kinds of things, because you don't want alienate them, so for years, I kept these things from him, so as not to upset him. Of course, in recent years, with common friends of ours venting steam about bad experiences they've had with him, I could only join in their indignation, and share my own stories in fellowship with them. So I guess that recently, say, in the last year or so, I've seen a lot less of him, and heard a lot more about him from our common friends, and it's been so negative, and so repetitive, that I guess I desensitized myself, and stopped caring about protecting him from ill comments made by others. For once, I began to realize that I really didn't like him all that much, and didn't care, so I let him know it on Facebook.

One of the things that is trully annoying about him is the fact that he is in his 40's, and yet, acts like he was still in high school. His interests in cartoons is not what I am referring to. It is how he interacts with people. If you ever saw the Comic Store owner from the Simpsons, that is him, essentially -- Large, pimply, soft-and-mushy, and with an obnoxious attitude like he's a small God, and everyone around him needs to listen to him. He is truly one of the most selfish and arrogant people I've known, and most of our common friends comment that he can really be a pompous ass. This alone probably explains why he is a 40-year-old virgin (and I'm not kidding).

See, he never has used soap or deodorant, and when I brought this up years ago, his reaction was that he didn't like the smell. Well, nobody likes to smell his armpits, so what's the lesser issue here? When you go to his house, it literally smells like his armpit. You walk into the door, and it's like placing your face into his man-tits. This is why few of his friends, including myself, enjoyed hanging out at his place very much. We'd try to avoid it as much as possibe. It was like being in a locker room. This is likely the real reason reason that he's a 40-year-old virgin.

Once, when he was a room mate of mine, he ran up a phone bill of several hundred dollars, and when I asked him to pay it, he'd say "Can you let it slide till the end of the month? I don't get paid till the end of the month" This is how it went for a few months, and it was getting difficult for me to pay the phone bill on time without penalties, so I told him that he needed to plan ahead for his long distance business calls, and that he should think about setting money aside, based on his average monthly use, so that he could pay his bills. "I'm not your private bank account. I can't just give you a loan and let it slide whenever it's convenient for you," I said. His response was to give me a speech about what friends should do for one another, and that he deserved a little help, even though we both knew that he was far from going broke. So I decided to cancel the phone, and told him that I was not going to pay for the phone anymore, and that I'd just have my own cell phone, and only I would have to pay for that. He would need to get the phone set up in his own name if he wanted the phone at all. He later apologized to me for being selfish, but I decided to go ahead and cancel the phone anyway, just to avoid having this happen again.

His desire to have his friends come and hang out at his place is often so great that he occasionally has been known to kidnap friends and make them endure hanging out with him. Once, he offered to give a ride to car-less friends of ours, to go see a battleship or some historic local site, and he deliberately got lost, with the help of his GPS. It wasn't like he didn't know how to get there, either. He used the excuse of testing which route the GPS would recommend. By the time they were "unlost", he basically said "Well, it's too late to go there now, why don't we go to my place and hang out!" Fortunately, my friends told him to take them back to their own home, instead.

Those same friends, according to my Ex-wife and a couple of girlfriends, are actually treated rather poorly by him. He looks down on them like they are lower class dregs, almost the way many upper class people view the illegal aliens they hire to do their gardening and cleaning. A lot of the shaming that he does is aimed at them, and they've put up with it for years, grudgingly, for whatever reasons they have; I've never asked them. They have complained about it on occasion, but the question that remains is why. I once actually heard him question the career choice of one of these friends, which amounted to the type of "Why don't you get yourself a REAL JOB," conversation you often hear from a dad, scolding his lazy son for having a low-income job. Always, he puts on this superiority act, as though his lifestyle is one to be admired. Another common friend of ours, who has mental illness, is also badgered quite a bit by him. When having difficulty making a decision, like where to eat or what movie to see on his birthday, my unfriendable friend would often badger him into making a decision, usually one that he agreed with, and all the while complaining at his inability to decide; all of this casually ignoring the fact the our friend is on psychiatric medication, and has a stress-related condition. Thinking back on this, I realize how cruel he really can be, without knowing it.

Related to this is the way he'd ask people for gas money when he gave them rides. Most friends I know never ask for gas money. It's something we did when we were in high school, and still had low-paying first jobs at McDonalds or a supermarket. But he still asks that his friends pitch in for gas if he happens to be driving, even if the trip is one that he was planning on making himself, anyway! I recall one time I actually told him to drop me off back at my car, and I'd drive myself, rather than chip in for gas money. This is such a habit with him that our common friends offer to give me gas money if I'm driving them somewhere, without me even asking for it. It's like he's trained them, or they're just so used to it that they feel obligated -- and they shouldn't. This type of pettiness on his part shows that he really is cheap.

Then there were the times we'd go out to eat. Rather than simply agreeing that everyone pay with separate checks, he insisted on either adding everyone's meal items up, and calculating what each individual owed, or dividing the bill by the number of people. This always led to squabbling, as some people felt that they were paying more than they intended to spend. Every time we'd go out to eat, he would cause this unneccesary drama.

He also has a habit of using your computer as though it were his own. He just sits at your computer, and will download stuff and install it if he wants it, often without even asking you. Several times, friends of mine, as well as myself, caught him downloading and installing software that we didn't want. He said he wanted to show us something, and that this Video player was better to do it with, or that it required this plugin for Media player, or something. The fact that he didn't ask us before modifying things on our computers shows that he has no respect for his friends' property.

Possibly the most annoying habit of his is the way he shames his friends for not upgrading their technology according to his standards. Several friends of ours fell victim to this behavior, which I can only explain as him being a collosal consumer whore. "What," he'd say, "you don't have a flatscreen TV yet? What are you waiting for? They're under $1000 now! here, let me sell you my old one so you can at least get in on it!" He would sell friends old TVs, computer monitors, or the remains of upgrades to his computer, and not even give them a really good price. Sometimes, he'd charge them almost what he paid for it several years ago. I recall him coming over my house once, and saying "What? You haven't gotten a Blue Ray player yet?" I told him "No, I have no need for it. I'm not about to go and buy blue ray versions of movies that I already own, and besides, I can download high def movies for free from the internet already. Why would I want to get a player that I may not even need to use. I rarely use my DVD player as it is." He even offered to sell his old one to me (did anyone see that coming?). It's not that he tried to talk me into buying one that's the problem, but the fact that his reaction to my not having a Blue Ray player was disgust and indignation -- and that he tried to shame me for not having one, as though it were a contemptable thing to not have one. His attitude and reaction was just so childish and idiotic.

I remember him trying to push phone-cable-internet bundles on his friends, too. This was mainly because the cable company that his bundle came from offered bonuses or discounts if you got friends to sign up. So he made the pitch to everyone. "You really can save a lot of money by getting all of your services bundled! It's stupid to pay 3 separate bills!" This pitch was made at least several times to different people while I was present, and it was really annoying. It was like every time you were with this guy, he made some kind of pitch to you, to either buy his old crap, or buy into something that he had.

Recently, when he got into kayaking. He called me up out of the blue and asked if I'd like to go kayaking with him, a hobby I've never had an interest in. Sure, it meant renting a kayak, and taking some lessons, and spending possibly a good portion of the day with him, but he didn't seem to think that was much of a barrier. "Oh, come on! You'll like it!" I told him that the last thing I'd like to do in the summer was spend $100 or more renting a kayak and floating down the river in the heat of the day. He tried to push this on all of his friends, until he found one who wanted to go. It was like having a friend come back from an Evangelical church and try to get you to try their new church out.

Remember folks, we're talking about a 40-something guy here. If this is what friendship means to him, or at least this is how he thinks friends need to treat each other, he's certainly either not had good role models in life, or perhaps he's got Aspbergers or Autism or something. When I consider all the stuff I've put up with, and which our common friends have put up with, I wonder why we stayed friends as long as we did. Perhaps he'll grow up some day, and realize what a childish idiot he's been. Perhaps it will take a lot more friends unfriending him to realize this. Or perhaps, he'll remain a virgin all his life.