Thank you to everyone who weighed in on the tomatoes-in-plastic-bag awkward conversation I wrote about last week! I really appreciated reading the responses. You all rock.
Thinking about talking to Peter reminded me of another conversation I had when I was in graduate school at Emory.
My friend G. was on a campus bench looking glum.
“I broke up with the nicest girl a few days ago,” he said, hugging himself and slumping down even further. “She was too serious. I don’t want to get too involved.”
“G.,” I said. “You’re so full of shit.”
Startled, G. sat up and looked at me like I was pointing a pistol between his eyes. Handsome, articulate, charming, and very smart, G. wasn’t used to people telling him he was full of it.
Maybe I should have been sympathetic. Maybe I should have let him wallow in his sorrow. But sometimes bullshit is bullshit and you need to call your friends out on it.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, either the woman you broke up with isn’t as spectacular as you say she is or you’re screwing up the best opportunity of your entire life. Either you’re lying to yourself and you don’t really like her or you’re being really really stupid.”
“She is lovely,” G. said, looking much more energetic as he disagreed with me. “We laugh together and have a good time. She’s a good cook. She cares about people. She’s pretty. She’s definitely the nicest person I’ve ever dated. But it was getting too serious… I didn’t want to lead her on…”
“So you just want to get laid all the time and never get serious with anyone? You better go call her before she finds a man more worthy of her. You don’t come across someone like that more than once in your life.”
G. rubbed his chin. “I think you’re right,” he said slowly. “Maybe I really am making a mistake.”
He floated up from the bench and started rushing across campus. Then he sprinted back and kissed me on the cheek. “Thank you!” he cried, running off.
G. and K. got married a few years later. They live in Atlanta and have twin boys (one with blond hair and one with brown hair) and a baby daughter now. K. really is one of the nicest people in the world. And G. is lucky to have her.
Being so forthright with G. could have lost me his friendship. But I felt he was being an idiot so I took a chance and told him what I really thought. What would you have done? Do you nod and smile when friends tell you something you think is baloney or do you call them out on their shit?