Many are the indicators I use to determine whether or not I will like someone. Manner of dress, tone of voice and taste in films all play a part, but I will give you my secret tip right now: the eyes are not the window to the soul; eyebrows and eyeliner-heaviness are.
The clearest sign that I will absolutely despise another person? Someone else telling me that I will love them.
Let me paint you a word picture. You have plans to meet up with an old friend. You pick a locale, perhaps a bar or restaurant, at which you will meet and reminisce about old times. Then, approximately 45 to 60 minutes beforehand, you receive a text from the aforementioned old friend: “Hey, do you mind if my friend Tallulah tags along? She’s having boyfriend trouble and I told her she could come with us.”
With an eyeroll and a sigh, you respond, “No problem!”
Then you get the text of death: “Great! You’ll love her! She’s the best!”
No. No, she is not the best.
When you arrive at the bar, you hug your friend and it’s all love and joy, until you eyes scan a bit and you see the sourpuss with the vodka cran just staring at you. “Oh crapstick,” you think, “that’s her.” Old Friend cheerily introduces you, and she smiles with pursed lips. She does not speak for the rest of the night. She stares off to the side and texts. And that’s when you begin rethinking your friendship with Old Friend.
It’s just a fact. If someone tells me “oh she is great, you’ll love her!” then the she in question will be a boring bitch.
Is it me? Is this some indictment on my personality? “She is the dullest person I know, completely devoid of personality or thought, just a blank expressionless mass of cells and lip gloss; you will love her!”
In fairness, the key here is assuming I’d love anyone. This is my friends’ first mistake. It is through sheer acts of God that I love them. And I do love my friends. I love my friends, my family, ballet, cab sauv, mid-90s alt-rock, lilacs and the number five from Jimmy John’s with extra sauce. I love many things. But it is a very optimistic idea that I’d love just any random person off the street.
I think herein lies the problem: as much as I love my friends, it’s not necessarily a given that I’ll love theirs. Sometimes my friends are better people than I, and they see the goodness inside a person that others cannot find (hence why they are friends with me). Although, upon great thought and memory-bank searching, I’ve discovered that I enjoy the company of most friends of friends, with the exception of the ones who were presented with those fateful words: “You’ll love her/him!”
Now, and this is an important now, as in now-see-here-em-effers, these dreaded sorts are not always boring. Dull and boring I can make do with, as (and I’m sure this will shock the shit out of you) I tend to monopolize most conversations. No, that would be too simple. There is another brand of person who comes with the foretelling of love and awesome. This person is the crazy person.
The Crazy FoF is always described as crazy, but bless your friend, s/he means it in a good way. But it’s never in a good way. “Omigod, you’ll LOVE her! She’s crazy!” Your friend is obviously intending this as a compliment. “Omigod, you’ll LOVE her! She’s so fun!” But what she’s really saying is, “Omigod, you’ll LOVE her! She’s a problem drinker who publicly urinates!”
The Crazy FoF will always actually be kind of cool until his or her second or third shot. Talkative and quite open. She’ll tell you in detail about the time her ex busted one in her eye. Or he’ll tell you about the time he busted one in his ex’s eye. You can see why your friend enjoys this person. Then after the third SoCo and Lime, he gets louder. She gets feely and you’re pretty sure she will at some point try to make out with you for some guy’s attention. He will probably punch someone and make racist (or rapist) jokes. She will call her ex screaming or loudly call some girl a bitch. He will call his ex crying and call some girl a bitch. They will both become Fratty Magoos in mere moments.
Do these friends have questionable taste in other people? Am I too hard on others? Does everyone just suck and we’re all horrible and nasty and life is just a bunch of years filled with tolerating other people? (In order: probably not, it’s no fun if you answer that one accurately and probably so.)
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.