Be a good friend or take a seat.
We all have that one person (or five) in our social circle. You know the one. The one who is sort of awful but for whatever reason, they keep being invited to things. You're not even sure anymore who is friends with them or why, but they always end up on the list. And every time they show up, they bring their best friend, Drama.
I'm assuming this happens because most decent people want to be "nice", and we were taught that excluding people isn't nice. But before we extend that invitation in order to be nice, we should stop and ask ourselves something: nice to whom?
It's sure as hell not nice to the people we actually like, and if That One Person has been hurtful to our friends, inviting them is actually pretty damn unkind. It violates the friendship that means something and what should be a safe place and an unspoken contract to have each other's backs in favor of not offending someone who has no problem being offensive.
This is not Bravo, we are not real housewives, and being awful is not OK. So why do we keep allowing it? Since when do we have to wring our hands over avoiding hurting the feelings of someone who has repeatedly demonstrated that they don't care if they hurt ours?
Since when does behaving badly over and over equal continued invitations to social events? Since when are there no social repercussions for being consistently sh*tty? I'm not suggesting being mean, I'm suggesting we stop looking the other way for the benefit of those who are.
We need to knock it the f*ck off. I'll start.
If I can't trust you to behave appropriately around other people's partners, we are not going to be friends. If I can't trust that you would respect our friendship enough to not get involved with the men I have loved, we are not going to be friends.
If you cannot build yourself up without slighting the people around you, we are not going to be friends. If you cannot participate in group activities without causing scenes or picking fights or demanding everyone acquiesce to you or otherwise being a pain in the collective ass, we are not going to be friends.
If you have a habit of making racist jokes, saying sexist sh*t, using homophobic slurs or otherwise acting like a bigot, we are not going to be friends. If you are mean, we are not going to be friends. (I can't believe I actually feel the need to write that.)
If for any reason my gut says, "Do not trust that shady ass motherf*cker," we are not going to be friends. My gut is like a radar for terrible people. It always knows, and I've learned my lesson many times over about ignoring it.
Don't be surprised when I not only circulate away from you after coolly exchanging civil pleasantries at parties but never invite you to things that I host. Don't be surprised when your questions about my life are met with opaque answers. Don't be surprised when your latest story about you being terrible is met with a serious case of side-eye from me.
I will choose not to be around someone like that because I have limited patience and two children who require all of it, so I don't have the will to socialize with people who require me to develop more. If that means being home alone on a weekend night, cool, I have a bottle of wine and some new dance moves to learn.
Some people may call that being a mean girl, but I call it having boundaries. I'm a pretty accepting person. I fully believe we are all flawed, that there are more shades of gray than E.L. James could write insufferable novels for, and that we all deserve some grace in our worst moments. The key word there, however, is moments.
Moments are fleeting and forgiven. But patterns? Patterns will convict you. It may seem like the nice thing to include someone who tests you, and if they are generally benign, it very well may be. HOWEVER, if someone leaves a trail of "she f*cking did not" in their wake? There are not enough nopes in all of Nopeville.
I'm too damn old for this frenemy nonsense. Be a good friend, or take a seat. Take a stadium full of seats. Just make sure it's nowhere near me.