Q: My old best friend who is now my frenemy has become so successful and its kind of killing me. She basically dumped me over something something really petty and now she is killing it in a new job overseas and every time I look on Facebook I want to die. Could you give me advice? —Discarded Dyke
A: I love this question because I too have experienced the pain of friend-turned frenemy-turned-straight-up-enemy- turned horrifying success story. Loathing borne of love is a terrible and peculiar emotion because the betrayal, rejection, and bitterness you feel is magnified by intimacy. Right now you probably feel discarded and inferior. You’re thinking, ‘This person is now great, this person no longer likes me, therefore great people don’t like me.” Ghastly. A more conventional writer might suggest you try to repair the friendship or even (shudder) be happy for the git. I’m too pragmatic for utopian idealism.
This person is no longer your friend, she is your enemy and must be viewed as such. We all have enemies, whether or not we acknowledge them. If ex-biffle dumped her bestie over a petty dispute, she’s not a very good friend, and you’re better off without her. Do not beat yourself up about losing her, do not ruminate about what you did wrong, and do not for one second allow yourself to feel defeated. Life is war. Buckle down.
Personal story time: When I moved to L.A. after college two years ago, I immediately befriended another lesbian writer named B. B’s placid, unthreatening demeanor concealed a class-A social climber who immediately began toadying up to anyone of potential value. I’m terribly shy in big groups and reserved around new people, so I was happy to tag along, letting her shine while cheerfully enjoying the ride. After three or four months, B began to change. We both used to love writing; now all she could talk about was being in front of the camera. We used to laugh at silly, vain girls who thought of nothing but their next social appearance. Now she didn’t find anything funny at all, except herself in an onslaught of YouTube videos aimed at transforming the bookish, sardonic girl I adored into a YouTube celesbian.
And then came shunning. She never confronted me. She never got mad. She simply started ignoring me, and so did our friends. They were her friends now. I was devastated. Part of the reason I moved to L.A. from the South was community—I wanted so bad to be part of a gay and lesbian community rather than live my life as the token gay. To be rejected by that community I so desperately wanted? What sort of horrible, pathetic person was I to be shunned by my own community? Was I doomed to always be on the outside, looking in?
I watched as B acquired a modest amount of internet following, posted non-stop about all the exciting projects she was developing, got a super hot girlfriend and basked in the golden glow of popularity. It was nauseating. I was in the same place that you are now. Here’s how I turned that hideously low life point to my advantage:
1. Cut Ties. DELETE HER OFF FACEBOOK. She is not your friend. She is your enemy. Do not befriend your enemies on facebook. You might feel like it’s petty or emotional to delete someone off Facebook, but I think it’s ridiculously self-destructive to maintain a cyber friendship with someone awful. Why are you ruining Facebook for yourself? To prove some obscure point to her, a girl who clearly does not give a fuck about you? Spare yourself. Make it impossible to obsess. Just press delete. She likely won’t notice, and if she does WHO CARES? It’s the only way to nip this cyber-stalking in the bud.
2. Plot. What do you want? You didn’t mention your career, love life, social life, etc. It’s time to focus on those. Here’s a suggestion: make a list of qualities or achievement that you envy in this ex-biffle. Then, step by step, plot out how to achieve your own victories. You can’t control her, and you seeking revenge is a. impossible seeing as she is abroad and b. a waste of time.
You need to step up. You need to be the sort of girl YOU would be jealous of. I reached out to several different outlets, sold my first story, moved into a fabulous apartment, and finally found this job at AE. Two years later, I’m a paid writer who works from a lovely home. B, like most people who mistake attention for achievement, is now languishing in mediocrity. That webseries got likes, but no commercial or critical success. B’s current creative outlet is a free, monthly improv comedy show. For 10 minutes a month, everyone sits quietly and watches her. That is what her social climbing, exclusion, and self-promotion earned. A couple of glassy eyes.
Verdict: Your ex-biffle is a total beezy for abandoning your friendship. Accept that you two are not, and will never be, friends. Acknowledge your pain. Then use it. Ovid once said “Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.” Today is that day. When someone makes you feel inferior, use that feeling to propel yourself forward. Work harder. Take what you want. Be someone worth envying. Then, and only then, will you look back and thank your former biffle friend for infuriating your ass into gear. Pain can make you or break you. So what’s it going to be?