Friends and Unsolicited Opinions

Friends and dating 

I spent this past week visiting one of my lifelong best friends in California. Let’s call her Annie. Before I continue with the rest of the story, we must be on the same page about Annie. In the 13 years we have been friends, she has had over 15 boyfriends. Not hookups – boyfriends. I am no psychologist, but I’ve known Annie long enough and been to enough therapy sessions myself to know Annie has an anxious attachment style, and evidently never has success with avoidant men.  That said, I was thrilled to hear about her new, seemingly healthy and stable relationship, and I was excited to meet the new man. Supposedly, he would be ‘the one’ (lol).  

Annie and I had planned a road trip up coastal California, beginning at her apartment in LA. Annie has lived (very prematurely if we are asking my opinion) with her bf, ‘Paul’ for about a month now, and the plan was that I would be spending the last night of my trip at their apartment before leaving back to Denver the next day. Paul has no friends in LA. Hell, Paul hardly has a job, unless we count checking his father’s investments each morning and training for crossfit competitions. Major red flags, if not dealbreakers.  

As a third-party observer (and now meddler), it is safe to say that Annie and Paul have the pinnacle ‘Covid’ relationship. By that, I mean that they started seeing each other in February 2020 (no hookup), did long distance communication for about 4 months, and then they had back and forth visits for a week at a time(not emblematic of real life). In January 2021, he moved to LA to be with her and by July they were moved in together. 

While Annie seemed to be in her happiest relationship yet, I was skeptical from the get-go about Paul. Here are the top 3 reasons why:

  1. For starters, he seemed to have few friends and interests outside of Annie
  2. He’s from a wealthy family and seems that his mother calls every shot in his life. He still asks her to make restaurant reservations for him and Annie, when they are not even in the same state. Also, she made Annie come to their house early for thanksgiving in the midst of her school exams so she could quarantine there and not at her own home. She also gave Annie $1000 to plan something ‘nice’ for Paul’s birthday…
  3. He wanted to know every detail about every one of her (15) relationships. If that doesn’t scream insecure I don’t know what will. The worst part is she told him!

Back to the trip. Annie and I were having a great time frolicking in the ocean, eating delicious Greek food, and reminiscing on cringe memories from our long friendship. Considering this was the first time Paul and Annie had been away from each other since living together, they called each other every morning and every evening. This already seemed one call too many to me, but whatever. Then, by day three, he was calling her every two hours.  Clearly, this signified that he did not have anything going on himself, but also that he wanted to ensure that everything Annie did could be known to him. While I could be wrong, that is my interpretation and I choose to believe I am correct about this situation. 

I have never been known to be subtle, but I was trying my best not to not make judgmental comments. I would sneak in things such as, “does he always call you this much” and ”what could you have to say since last time,” to which she would reply “yeah i don’t know why he is calling me he must be bored.” She evidently agreed with me that he was interrupting our trip, of which I used my precious PTO for. 

Then, everything escalated when his friend got COVID and he was disappointed that Annie wouldn’t cut our vacation short to console him (for god knows what reason). Being more rational than him, she told him that was ridiculous; to that, he brought up every minute issue they had in the past year and told her she never conceded anything for him. Most of this time, he was on speakerphone and I was doing my best to have a poker face. Safe to say, I did not do a good job. 

The subsequent 24 hours were spent with her asking my opinion on her relationship, to which I had many. At the beginning of the trip, she was saying how sure she was about living with Paul and about their future together. By this point, she was already saying that this could be their trial run. I don’t know if it was my judgmental tones or the prying/inquisitive questions that brought her to the self-realization that Paul was an insecure and inconsiderate person.   

With every phonecall and every rise in vocal tone, I got more and more uncomfortable and more and more sure that this was not the guy I wanted for one of my best friends. Paul was single handedly ruining our trip together and it saddened me to see that Annie was putting up with him still referring to guys she slept with years ago. Especially considering that this had nothing to do with the already ridiculous argument he was creating. 

On the last night of the trip, I was supposed to sleep at their shared apartment. That afternoon when their fighting was at its peak, I asked Annie if it would be better if I left LA a day early. It would be in everyone’s best interests. She agreed that it would be, and apologized to me that this was how our trip was ending. 

I curtly replied, “don’t be sorry for me. I feel sorry this is your relationship.” That sure silenced her for most of the long car ride to the airport.  

After I got home and had time to process what had happened, I sent Annie a text saying that I deserved an apology from Paul for disrespecting me and our vacation, and that as someone who cares about her, it is hard for me to watch how he behaves towards her. If this persists, she will inevitably lose her relationships with those who care about her the most. I have not received an apology and doubt that that coward will ever send one. On the brightide, if and when their relationship reaches the abyss, he should have enough money to pay for her share of the lease!

One comment that stood out the most for me was when she said that their relationship is great when no other people are involved…ummmmmm what. Life is not a bubble!! That is the top trait of a toxic and borderline mentally-abusive relationship!! If anything, watching people (friends/love interests/ family) have good interactions with others that I love, makes me appreciate them that much more. 

Writing this is riling me up. Funnily enough, on the way to the café to write this, my friend (currently visiting her longterm bf’s family) facetimed me from her walk, since she needed time away.  Given where my friends fall on the spectrum of dating (from having several who are 23 and have never had any form of a relationship yet are happy as clams to Annie, basically wifed up to a possessive man that might as well be a walking red-flag), I am happy at my own positioning. 

Anyways, at least I got a good gram out of the trip and can put both a face and an underwhelming personality to Annie’s bf the next time she calls me. After the text I sent her, this won’t be for a while, and that is okay. Even if I temporarily angered Annie by essentially saying I don’t like her boyfriend, I feel like a successful and caring friend for looking out for her wellbeing and in her best interests 🙂 

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