Your unrequited bromantic love and respect for your buddy is evermore apparent. The more you think about it, the more you realize: Your friend kind of sucks, and that sucks.
You hate listening to him incessantly complain about his way cooler job with no regard for your painful 9 to 5. You’re nervous to invite him around women you’re interested in because you don’t trust him. And when you’re walking around with poppy seeds in your teeth, he can’t find it in himself to tell you. But it often takes a lot of red flags whipping you across the face to realize that, sometimes, you just have to cut your losses. It’s easier said than done, sure. But bad friends have the potential to become toxic. The more you surround yourself with people who don’t treat you well, the more you find yourself expecting and thus accepting that treatment. And that’s not cool.
He’s not the same laid-back dude you met freshman year in college when you both skipped orientation to play COD in your dorm. People change and, likewise, can change. People have bad days, crappy weeks and stressful months—and they take it out on the people who are supposed to be able to handle it. You. So have the talk with him. But if too many of the following persist, it may be time to stop making excuses for him.
The guy’s got the easiest job in the world, but that’s beside the point. He meets you for happy hour every Thursday, dumps his sorrows on the table and rarely, if ever, asks about your day.
But worse, he drank all those beers and he’s not even going to pay for them. On the other hand, he’ll even count every penny you owe him from that one time he lent you a quarter for a parking meter at a concert for which you spotted him.
As much as he complains, he’s also a total one-upper. You just got your vacation days approved at work and you’re off to Jamaica. Sweet. He just got a raise (and no, he will not spend it on your happy hour), so instead of asking questions about your trip, he’ll boast about his travel plans to save malnourished children in some obscure area of the developing world.
Maybe he makes plans with you, but he breaks ’em just as often.
Whenever you actually do spend time together, he’s wrapped up in his phone, Tindering away or making other plans because just kicking it with you for a bit is not enough. He’s there but not really there.
You want to quit your job and purchase a one-way ticket to New Zealand where you’ll work in tourism for a few months before you find a bar that’ll hire you with no serving experience. Okay, he doesn’t totally get it, but unless what you’re doing is detrimental to your health or overall wellbeing, he should support you. But he doesn’t. And when you return broke, instead of offering up his couch, he’ll just say, “I told ya so.”
He insults you in front of other people just to boost his own confidence. Fortunately, the people around can recognize it and you all suffer secondhand embarrassment for him.
He’s off the market and has been married for two years, but instead of fulfilling his wingmanly duties, he swoops in on prospects. Sure, he can’t have her, but he’ll make sure you can’t either.
So you did move to New Zealand and came back broke as a joke. This sets you into a depression when you can’t find another job your parents respect and you end up serving cappuccinos to old high school acquaintances on weekday mornings. Your hair line is receding from stress and your diet consists solely of cheap beer and microwavable chicken sausage. You’ve gone off the rails. And your friend? He doesn’t kick you in the ass. He doesn’t take the wheel and say, “Dude, you’ve gone off the rails.”