19.06.2015

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For a bunch of years, you’re in a certain life your parents chose for you, and so are other people, and none of you have that much on your plates, so friendships inevitably form. Once student life ends, the people in your life start to shake themselves into more distinct tiers. At the top of your life mountain, in the green zone, you have your Tier 1 friends—those who feel like brothers and sisters.
Towards the bottom of the mountain in the orange zone, you have your Tier 3 friends—your Not Really friends. And depending on who you are and how things shook out in those first 25 years, the way your particular mountain looks will vary. As time goes on, most of us tend to have fewer friends in Quadrants 2-4, because A) people mature, and B) people have more self-respect and higher standards for what they’ll deal with as they get older. Possibility #2 is a pretty dark situation for your friend, but it can actually be fun for you. What these all have in common is the friend has tall walls up, at least toward you, and so she builds a little skit for you two to hang out in to make sure any authentic connection can be avoided.
You might be on either side of this—and either way it’s one of the least healthy parts of your life. If you’re on the if only side of things, probably the right move is to get your fucking shit together? You’re not especially pleased with who they are, and they feel the same way about you. Throughout childhood and much of young adulthood, most people your age are in the same life stage as you are. You and the Frenemy usually go way back, have a very deep friendship, and the trouble probably started a long time ago. A little less dark but no less harmful is a bully situation where a friend sees some weakness or vulnerability in you and she enjoys prodding you there either for sadistic reasons or to prop herself up.
Whatever the reason, if you have a Frenemy in your life, kick her toxic ass off your mountain, or at least kick her down the mountain—just get her off of Tier 1. This is a rare Tier 3 friend, or even an acquaintance, who qualifies as an odd friendship, because you found a way to make it unhealthy even though you’re not actually friends. There are some obvious ways to assess the nature of a friendship’s power dynamic—does one person cut in and interrupt the other person while they’re talking far more than the other way around? In the Does This Friendship Make Sense graph above, the friendships we just discussed are all in Quandrants 2, 3, or 4—i.e. No friendship is perfect, but those in Quadrant 1 are doing what friendships are supposed to do—they’re making the lives of both parties better. But in the case of most people over 25—at least in New York—I think A) not enough time is carved out as dedicated friend time, and B) the time that is carved out is spread too thin, and too evenly, among the Tier 1 and Tier 2 friendships in all four quadrants. 1) Think about your friendships, figure out which ones aren’t in Quadrant 1, and demote them down the mountain. This is a natural selection process since spare time becomes a limiting factor and you are driven by other forces. The other reason is, life becomes very complicated when animals are running the show and producing fog. The easy answer is, of course, to find another pack, but any animal can attest to how hard that truly is.
Seems to me that these topics are typically designed to be very thought-provoking, which can appeal to anyone, but can really take off in the minds of people who are more introvert-ish. Another thing I am finding in my 40s is that age groups have changed from when I was a kid.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will only cause permanent psychological damage. Sometimes the girl who’s always been there for everyone else needs someone to be there for her. I think i’m afraid to be happy because whenever I get to happy, something bad always happens.
I wish I could go back to a time when i could smile and it didn’t take everything in me to do it. You go home, you look in the mirror, you cry, you think you are ugly, you think you are fat, you want to die and the worst thing is, the next day it happens all over again until the day you give up. I don’t think anyone could ever criticize me more severly than the way I viciously criticize myself.
Maybe this year Ill get myself off of the floor and try to pretend that things are getting better, That I’m changing but I still feel the same.


That moment when you can actually feel the pain in your chest from seeing or hearing something that breaks your heart. It feels like everyone else is moving on with their lives while I am stuck here in this hole that I can’t climb out of. But here’s the thing—a list is a great format for an article, and a format I was using on my old blog almost 10 years ago.
These are the people closest to you, those you call first when something important happens, those you love even when they suck, who make speeches at your wedding, whose best and worst sides you know through and through, and whose relationship with you is eternal—even if you go months or years without hanging out, nothing has changed when you find yourself together again. You might grab a one-on-one drink with one of them when you move to their city, but then it surprises neither of you when five years pass and drink #2 is still yet to happen.
When you hear that something bad happens to one of these people, you pretend to be sad but you don’t actually care.
As time goes on, you start to realize that the 20-year frenzy of not-especially-thought-through haphazard friend-making you just did was the critical process of you making most of your lifelong friends. Possibility #1 isn’t fun at all and this person should not be allowed space on Tier 1. I have a friend who I’ve hung out with one-on-one about four times in the last year, and he has no idea Wait But Why exists. This type of person hates earnest people because someone being earnest dares him to come out from under his ironic safety blanket and let the sun touch his face, and no fucking thanks. Sometimes that person only does this out of her own social anxiety and can become a great, authentic friend if you can just stomp through the ice. You enjoy it so much you probably even lead them on intentionally, don’t you—you make sure to keep just enough ambiguity in the situation that their bleeding heart continues to lather your ego from head to toe at your whim.
But when it comes to advancing into full adulthood, people do so at widely varying paces, which leads to certain friends suddenly having totally different existences from one another. Like when Person A starts to become a person who rejects material wealth, partially because she genuinely feels that pursuing an artistic path matters more and partially because she needs a defense mechanism against feeling envious of richer people, and Person B’s path makes her scoff at people who pursue creative paths, partially because she genuinely thinks expressing yourself is an inherently narcissistic venture and partially because she needs a defense mechanism against feeling regretful that she never pursued her creative dreams—these two will have problems. Of course, this is a hideous quality in many not-great couples, but it’s also a prominent feature of plenty of friendships. Is one person’s opinion or preference just kind of understood to carry more weight than the other’s?
And when a friendship is both in Quadrant 1 of the graph and on Tier 1 of your mountain—that friendship is a rock in your life. Your rock friendships don’t warrant 2x the time you give to your other friends—they warrant 5 or 10x. Once you have a better idea of why you might be in the situation you’re in, then taking steps of appropriate size outside your comfort zone seems like the general direction to go. For this reason one have to concentrate on the stuff which really counts and this is the deep friendship to your better half. I think the real way to go is to pinpoint those in your pack that are truly healthy Tier-1 friendships and keep them in Tier-1 while at the same time work to change the rest of them from unhealthy Tier-1’s to healthy Tier-2’s. I feel the same about my own relationships and this is by far the post I’ve related to least on WBW. Those of us who easily get lost in our thoughts and reflections tend to have more difficulty, due to inexperience from allocating less personal time to it, with initiating and maintaining social interactions.
The fact that the style of the posts are long and delve deeply into subjects when compared to something popular like Buzzfeed definitely attracts people who spend a lot of time in their heads like you said. The amount of time we spend thinking about things ends up becoming a double-edged sword, since we can have difficulty turning it off and just living in the moment. I am no longer in my 20s or 30s but back then, my life mountain was very resembleful of the example up top.
As a six year old, I had fully expected to be at the death’s door by my mid 40s, but now, being middle aged feels unexpectedly lively and I find myself doing fun things I had been too intimidated to try in my 20s and 30s.
It’s given me a hilariously insightful reality check on where I stand and how I might improve myself as a friend. In fact, my first listicle, 19 Things I Don’t Understand, was published in August of 2005, a year before Buzzfeed was even founded. Unfortunately, depending on how things went down in your youth, Tier 1 can also contain your worst enemies, the people who can ruin your day with one subtle jab that only they could word so brilliantly hurtfully, the people you feel a burning resentment for, or jealousy of, or competition with. Your relationship tends to exist mostly as part of a bigger group or through the occasional Facebook like, and it doesn’t even really stress you out when you hear that one of them made $5 million last year. We’ll get to the great, Quadrant 1 friendships later in the post, but in order to treat those relationships properly, we need to take a thorough look at the odd ones first.
The green part of the mountain is sacred territory, and super self-absorbed people shouldn’t be permitted to set foot up there.


This leaves both of them petrified of the lumbering elephant that appears in the room anytime they’re alone together. Other times, the person is just hopelessly scared and closed off and there’s no hope and you have to get out. This friendship is one long, continuous rejection of you as a human being, and you’re just wallowing there in your yearning like a sobbing little seal. Some people have become Future 52-year-olds, while others are super into being Previous 21-year-olds.
In theory, once this happens, you can go back to just hanging out, shooting the shit, and actually being in the friendship. You could try to find similarities with one or two of the people in your groups of friends so that you can more easily establish a closer relationship, or you could seek out other groups based on your personal interests to attempt to make connections. I’m wondering if it’s a common personality trait in the WBW community to find the development of a friendship contrived and requiring effort?
Sure, we’re perfectly capable of doing it, but due to being introverts, we eventually will need to escape in order to recharge, which leaves us open to extended retrospective speculation. Nowadays I am more of a Walled-off-Wallie but also, I have another type of friend – an occasional acquaintance or a complete stranger I will have an out of the blue heart to heart with. As a consequence, I’ve found myself interacting with people much younger than myself who then treat me as if I am their age. The images and messages posted on these sites are a raw look into the thoughts and struggles of many thousands of depressed individuals. Then, over the last few years, I watched in horror as one of my favorite formats decided to prostitute itself all over the internet as the default format for lazy articles. If you live in the same city, you might see them every month or two for dinner and have a great time when you do, but if one of you moves, you might not speak for the next year or two.
They’re way too on top of shit to ever end up in the car alone together if a group is going somewhere in multiple cars, but there are smaller dangers afoot—like being the first two to arrive at a restaurant or being in a group of three when the third member goes to the bathroom. The only comfortable mode for this person is bonding with you by building a little pedestal for you both to stand on while you criticize everyone else. Plus, duh, if you gather your self-respect and move on with your life, it’ll raise their perception of your value and they might actually become interested in you. At some point, things will start to meld together again, but being 30-ish is the friendship equivalent of a kid going through an awkward pubescent stage.
The problem is, when you don’t make enough time for good friends, seeing them only for a meal and not that often—you end up spending each get-together catching up, and you never actually get to just enjoy the friendship or get far past the surface. Eventually, you’ll have to go out on a limb and open up (and be genuine) to someone if you want there to be the possibility of a healthy friendship. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness and loneliness ther’re going through. You can either play along and everything will go smoothly, even though you’ll both despise yourselves and each other the whole time, or you can commit the ultimate sin and have the integrity to disagree with the friend or defend a non-present party the friend criticizes. That’s the Perpetual Catch-Up Trap, and I find myself falling into it with way too many of the rocks in my life.
Keep in mind that people are different and you just gotta keep trying until there is mutual interest while also being prepared for the possibility of it not working out, or worse, the other person trying to take advantage of you in some way.
As introverts, however, there are plenty of amazing things that we can accomplish using our talents for contemplation, that, in my opinion, can more than make up it. You’ll catch your new love cheating on you and murder them both in an act of incredible passion. Historical friends are still around but as they live far away it’s easy to avoid them.
And it doesn’t matter, because none of it will be discussed with The Non-Question-Asking Friend, who never, ever, ever asks you anything about your life. Also, not having a Facebook helps a lot in general quality of life stakes, and especially as a deterrent to making certain people my personal celebrities (shudder). Now that I no longer feel the pressure of social panic all the time, I find that there is hardly anyone out there I have anything in common with or feel genuinely interested in. Hope you like these quotes with pictures DISCLAIMER: All images are copyrighted by their respective authors.



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