When you get to be my age, it’s hard to make new friends.
I used to blame myself.
Maybe it was my personality. Either that or my general dislike of other people. I know it’s hard to believe, but some are really turned off by that. I don’t get it either. Assholes.
But I now have proof that my difficulty in friendship formation is totally not my fault.
I will explain everything and you will agree with me.
A few months ago, I met a new woman in my mah jongg group.
“Hello,” I said. “It is very nice to meet you!”
She returned my friendly and appropriate greeting and we had some small talk. Some mah jongg banter- how she hoped one day to have my prowess as a player and how she felt lucky to be sitting at the same table as me. Words to that effect, I don’t have the exact transcript.
I’d see her occasionally and it was always nice and pleasant and I started to think of her as a Friend of the Future, someone I could maybe have a cup of coffee with or borrow money from.
This is how friendship formation works, right? You get together around a common interest, exchange pleasantries and then change your relationship status to Friends on Facebook.
Well, apparently this Friend of the Future did not study the Friendship Rulebook.
Because Chapter One of the Friendship Rulebook is Tell Your Friend of the Future Important Information.
I knew that her husband was a writer, but it wasn’t until she mentioned that he’d written a memoir that my ears perked up. As you may remember, I’ve been writing a memoir for the past couple of years, and I figured if he’d already written one, maybe I can just change a few things around in his manuscript and save myself a lot of time and headaches. I’d recently started playing Candy Crush on my iPhone and it’s crazy what a commitment that is.
I went home and looked up his book.
And then I knew instantly why this Friendship of the Future was doomed.
Because friends don’t marry their potential future friend’s high school pretend husbands.
I explained all this to my husband.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. He may have also asked why I was talking while he was trying to sleep, but I’m trying to stay on point.
“She’s married to Blane McDonnagh,” I lamented.
“I don’t know who that is,” he yawned.
If there’s one thing that gets on my nerves, it’s people who take their time waking up in the middle of the night.
“That’s a character from Pretty in Pink,” I explained. Why does everything have to be spelled out? I’m like Annie Sullivan.
“Is that one of those ridiculous Real Housewives shows?” Poor thing. He was trying.
“It’s a John Hughes movie from the 80s.” I was close to giving up.
“And your friend married a character from the movie?”
“Have you not heard one word I screeched?” I asked him. “First of all, she’s a pre-friend, and no, she didn’t marry a movie character, she married the actor who portrayed him, in case you forgot how movies work, and by the way, I wanted to marry him when I was in high school.”
“I certainly hope you can forgive her this transgression,” he said.
And I tried.
I thought about it for hours and finally decided to air it out.
“I got the book,” I emailed her in what I hoped was a terse tone, “and you are now on friendship probation.”
She responded with some confusion about why she was on friendship probation. And then when I went out of my way I explained it to her, she still refused to take responsibility for ruining my life.
I honestly don’t understand how I’m supposed to make new friends under these hostile circumstances.
Or how I can remain married to someone who’d never heard of Pretty in Pink.