We all have those friends who aren't really friends. Somehow it just becomes too awkward at a certain point to confront the friend and tell her that you don't really like her. Thanks to the wonders of texting, sometimes your phone does the job for you.
Tara was my nightmare non-friend who was way too invested in being friends with me, and I had developed a bad habit of talking about her behind her back, texting my friend John all the time just to report on what she was doing: oh now she was deluding herself that some guy from OKCupid actually liked her, oh now she said that she wanted to become a jewelry designer, oh now she was telling me that she was going to go vegan because she read that's how celebrities lost weight quickly.
As time went on, I was becoming more and more arrogant in just how often and how rudely I was sending these texts -- sometimes it was when she had just left. Other times it was when I was on the phone with her.
Now I've heard various horror stories from other people of how these situations go down. One friend told me that she viciously laid into her new boss and sent out a lengthy email about what a miserable jerk she must be to keep everyone after hours so late -- and you can probably guess what happened next. She sent it to her boss. Interestingly, she didn't get fired, but instead was given a "warning" about her "attitude."
Well, in my case, I was very cocky. I always thought my texting game was pretty good. I would often screengrab conversations I was having with guys and send them to a girlfriend to get her take on the situation. Never once had I sent it to the guy himself. I'm not a mess like that. (Although I have a good friend who did this once, and I thought she handled the whole thing pretty slickly. After sending the screengrab to the guy, she said she almost had a heart attack, quickly recovered and then texted him, "Look how cute we are!" Nice save.)
I think the lesson in all of this is never ever be cocky. Especially if you're talking trash about a friend.
In my defense, I had tried to subtly hint to her that maybe I didn't want her hanging around. I would mention how busy I was and how I felt like maybe the two of us needed to expand our horizons more because maybe we were spending too much time together.
In her worst moments she had kind of Single White Female vibe to her, suddenly shopping at stores I liked and picking up the same kinds of overpriced kombucha I love.
Everything came to a head when I was hanging out with Tara one day in my loft, and we were watching "America's Next Top Model." She was going on and on about some internship that she once had at MTV or Viacom or somewhere and I wanted to strangle her. It had just become ridiculous how much I despised her -- even as I was letting her hang out next to me as I did my work.
Like I was in the habit of doing, I figured I would suffer through her presence simply by trashing her. Except now, instead of waiting until she had even left my building, I decided to send a nasty text while she was still there.
"Srsly I am ready to strangle Tara. She looks like a meth addict and she won't shut up about interning for MTV or some stupid thing that makes no difference but she is talking about it like she used to work at the White House. HELP ME I want to cut her stringy hair off her head!!!"
I looked down at my phone. My heart stopped. I had sent it to Tara.
Chime! She glanced down at her phone, and as I looked at her I saw her register a look of such heartache I can never forget it. She was humiliated and I couldn't live with myself for having done that to her, no matter how annoying I thought she was.
I started fake laughing really hard.
"Did you get my text?" I said. "You are going to die. A friend of mine told me that he's starting this game where you send like the meanest most ridiculous text ever to someone and then see how they respond. But now you have to do it to me or to someone else. It's like a game of Telephone, but like a prank."
Tara half-believed me. She managed a laugh.
"Seriously," I said. "Do it; it's like the funnest meanest prank ever."
She looked at me and smiled. "That is pretty funny. Can I do it later?"
I felt like I could breathe again. "Of course!" I said. "You have to tell me what happens. Sorry I kind of ruined it by revealing what was happening right after but I didn't want you to think I actually meant it."
Tara now seemed to fully believe me.
"No, I know," she said and got up to change the channel to some other reality show I had zero interest in watching. "Hey, we should go out later if you feel like it."
"Sure," I said now realizing that I would have to be friends with this girl forever. "Absolutely."