We’re friends, right?

image: Calvin and Hobbes, two best friends, by Bill Watterson
image: Calvin and Hobbes, two best friends, by Bill Watterson

A story about a boy who couldn’t distinguish politeness from friendship and how others took advantage of him.

In high school I was even more timid than I am today. It was hard for anyone to get to know me, I never took the initiative, and I didn’t stood out. Curiously, I was always remembered when anyone had to borrow something. From the 1st to the 9th grade my class never changed, so I never really learned how to network and make friends. I had half a dozen best-friends and the other twenty were a mix of friends and acquaintances.

At my 10th grade I moved. New city, new school, new class. Everyone was a stranger to me and I was an outsider to them. Later on, my class would be classified as the worst 10th grade of the school. You can imagine my panic. I too, had to change, had to learn to start conversations. I wish I was forced to do so earlier.

This common shortage of “friends” had one indirect unpleasant consequence on me – since I had few social interactions I had the tendency to exaggerate the meaning of all interactions. Examples:

  • A guy gives me a handshake and a how-do-you-do. My understanding: he cared to say hi, hence he finds me as cool as him!
  • A girl slightly touches my shoulder while she’s talking. My understanding: omg, omg, (melts down), she touched me, hence she likes me, she probably loves me!

I’m exaggerating! but you get my point. Silly me.

This led to a series of misunderstandings, humiliations, frustrations and poems. So I thought that by being nice to a girl she would like me. And being nice meant doing everything she demanded (even if she was unthankful or mean); being around all the time (even if she ignored me or sent me away); offer gifts during birthdays (even if she didn’t know my birthday). Good Charlotte has a perfect song about it:

When you call she doesn’t answer
When you write she doesn’t answer
You go out, you see him with her
She told you she was sick at home
The ring you gave her
Thrown away with all the letters
And when you see him with her
She doesn’t even care at all

That was being too nice, too stupid! It was servility, voluntary slavery, almost like a spell. But for me the worst was seeing those girls in love with douchebags, which I couldn’t understand. Why was “jerkness” better than all my “niceness”? The rest of the song, which by the way is called “Break Apart Her Heart”, suggests a solution:

Don’t tell her she is the reason that you live
Don’t give her everything that you got to give
If you want to keep a girl for as long as you live
Just breaking apart her heart


Don’t be too nice. Don’t be a jerk. Be yourself. Be confident about yourself. Love yourself. And others will love you. Out of 6 billion persons in the world you’ll find someone. Eventually. ;)