What to Do If You Want to Thank U, Next a Friend

Nothing in this world is perfect (except for ABBA), and friendships are no exception. Sometimes people mess up, or they drift apart, or things just don’t feel the same. When this stuff happens in romantic relationships, people are expected to talk it out, but for some reason when it happens in friendships, we have to be ready to “cancel” the “fake” people without a second thought.

Last August I listened to an episode of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast on Spotify called “Friendship Dilemmas” which called out this very issue. For some reason, having what may be considered meta conversations about your platonic relationships is seen as overreacting or creating drama. I would dare say that it’s actually the opposite. While sometimes necessary, cutting off or “canceling” people because you’re upset and don’t want to tell them is lazy at best, but mostly just petulant. It takes a lot more maturity to actually have an honest conversation and be vulnerable about your feelings.

This is obviously easier said than done, as most things in life are. I recently found myself quite frustrated in a friendship, and of course, my first modern instinct was to complain to my other friends and claim that I was going to cut off one of my best friends in the whole, wide world because I was upset and not saying anything. It took a few days for me to realize how ridiculous that was and eventually come to my senses that that’s my homie. Unless someone does some seriously shady or toxic stuff, your feelings ─ while valid ─ probably warrant some type of explanation. While the idea of minimizing your problems by getting rid of people like useless tabs of online shopping sounds appealing and widely accepted in today’s cancel culture, it generally isn’t a realistic way to go about life. So with that in mind, I decided that I had to act in a way I could actually be proud of and verbally express how I felt.

This might be the most mature thing I’ve done as a sort-of grown up navigating life and feelings. I realized that I’m not exactly proficient in expressing deeper emotions that can’t arbitrarily be summarized in a string of curse words, so I wrote out what I had to say in my journal, and I read from it like a fifth grader reading off of notecards for the entire duration of a class presentation. I was nervous enough that I was perpetually nauseous for several days before having the conversation, but if I’ve learned anything from running, it’s that anything worth a damn lies on the other side of a sea of discomfort.

I’m glad I called my friend out. As uncomfortable as it was (and it was ─ I got to “I really admire the smoothness of this fake leather exterior of my journal” level stalling), he agreed with my grievances and since then has really been making an effort to be a better friend. I actually feel closer to him than before now that I’ve released all of my resentment. 11/10 would recommend a Frienassance!

The smartest thing I’ve ever been told is “Nobody can do something 365 days a year”, and I would classify being a good friend into one of those somethings. So give people a chance and maybe show some forgiveness before thank u, next-ing your homies.