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Especially when your walking, and have stuff on your mind, and someone random shares a smile. ShutterstockAny of these people could be your Non-Question Asking Friend, Double-Obligated Friend, or Historical Friend.When youa€™re a kid, or in high school, or in college, you dona€™t really work too hard onA your friend situation. For a bunch of years, youa€™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. Maybe theya€™re the right friends, maybe theya€™re not really, but you dona€™t put that much thought into any of ita€”youa€™re more of a passive observer. Once student life ends, the people in your life start to shake themselves into more distinct tiers. 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 theya€™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. Wait But WhyIn almost every group of friends, therea€™s one pair whoA cana€™t ever be alone together. Another version of this is the a€?always and only ironica€? friend, who youA reallyA bum out if you ever break that social shell and say something earnest. A third example is the a€?Youa€™re great, Ia€™m great, ugh why is everyone else so terrible and not great like usa€? friend. What these all have in common is the friend hasA tallA 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. In any case, I cana€™tA standA these interactions and am in a full panic the entire time theya€™re happening. Think of a friend you get together with from time to time, which usually happens after a long and lackluster email or text exchange during which you justA cana€™tA find a time that works for both of youa€”and youa€™re never really happy when these plans are being made and not really psyched when you wake up and ita€™s finally on your schedule for that day. There are lopsided situations where one person is far more interested in hanging out than the other (wea€™ll get to those later), but in the case wea€™re talking about here, both parties oftenA thinkA ita€™s a lopsided situation without realizing that the other person actually feels the same waya€”thata€™s why it takes so long to schedule a time.
You might be on either side of thisa€”and either way ita€™s one of the least healthy parts of your life. If youa€™re on theA if onlyA side of things, probably the right move is to get your f---ing s--- together? Wait But WhyThroughout 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. Therea€™s a lot of complex psychology going on in these situations that I dona€™t fully understand, but my hunch is thatA a Frenemya€™s resentment is rooted in his own pain, or his own shortcomings, or his own regreta€”and for some reason, your existence stings them in these places hard. 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. A Frenemy knows how to hurt you better than anyone because youa€™re deeply similar in some way and she knows how youa€™re wired, and shea€™ll do whatever she can to bring you down any chance she gets, often in such a subtle way ita€™s hard to see that ita€™s happening.
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 youa€™re not actually friends.
One member can consistently do 90% of the listening and only 10% of the talking, and in situations where most of the talking is about life problems, whata€™s happening is a one-sided therapy situation, with a badly off-balance give-and-take ratio, and thata€™s not much of a friendshipa€”ita€™s someone using someone else. There are some obvious ways to assess the nature of a friendshipa€™s power dynamica€”does one person cut in and interrupt the other person while theya€™re talkingA far more than the other way around?
Another interesting litmus test is what I call theA a€?mood determiner test.a€? This comes into play when two friends get together but theya€™re in very different moodsa€”the idea is, whose mood a€?winsa€? and determines the mood of the hangout.
In theA Does This Friendship Make Sense graph above, the friendships we just discussed are all in Quandrants 2, 3, or 4a€”i.e. No friendship is perfect, but those in Quadrant 1 are doing what friendships are supposed to doa€”theya€™re making the lives of both partiesA better. But in the case of most people over 25a€”at least in New Yorka€”I think A) not enough time is carved out as dedicated friend time, and B) the time that is carved out isA 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 arena€™t in Quadrant 1, and demote them down the mountain.A Ia€™m not suggesting you stop being friends with those peoplea€”you still love themA and feel loyal to them, and old friends are critical to hold ontoa€”but if the friendships arena€™t that healthy or enjoyable, they dona€™t really deserve to be in your Tier 1, and you probably shouldna€™t be in theirs. 2) Dedicate even more time to the Quadrant 1, Tier 1 rocks in your life.A If youa€™re in your mid-20s or older, your current rocks are probably the only ones youa€™ll ever have. A note about listicles: So we know a lot of people hate listicles and associate them with cheap, low-quality, traffic-driving, link-bait articles. It is difficult to love with a broken heart, love requires a whole heart to be fully expressed. If ever things would change and your love would fade, I'd still not break the promise I made. Oscar Wilde said, a€?a gentleman is one who never hurts anyonea€™s feelings unintentionallya€?. Another claim to fame: Ita€™s believed Philipa€™s words inspired Jeffersona€™s indelible phrase a€?all men are created equala€? in the Declaration of Independence. When Francesco Mazzei was growing up, Philip was not just some dusty portrait in the stairwell of Castello di Fonteruoli, a medieval property that the Mazzei family inherited in 1435 a€” 57 years before Christopher Columbus discovered America. The American chapter of Philipa€™s life began when he was running a trading company in London that imported agricultural products from Tuscany.
Philip quickly entered political circles in Virginia, where he was welcomed for his liberal ideas and his wit and energy. In the library of Castello di Fonterutoli, giant tomes line the walls, each with refined, spidery handwriting crawling down the leather spine. Made with natural yeast and minimal interference, Philip is matured for 24 months in barrique, primarily American oak thata€™s about 40 percent new.
For a profile of Francesco Mazzei and the winery, see a€?Keeping up with the Mazzeia€™s,a€? in the blog Living La Dolce Vita. If someone I find attractive smiles with me and it's not forced, that's enough to brighten my day.


You automatically in that moment smile back and your thoughts are gone x and when you reflect in the night you remember them. 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 eternala€”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 sadA but you dona€™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 ofA you making most of your lifelong friends. But the fact is, friendships made in the formative years often stick, whether theya€™re ideal or not, leaving most of us with a portion of our Tier 1 and Tier 2 friendships that just dona€™t make that much sense. I have a friend who Ia€™ve hung out with one-on-one about four times in the last year, and he has no idea Wait But Why exists.
Ita€™s not that they dislike each othera€”they mightA get along greata€”ita€™s just that they have no individual friendship with each other whatsoever.
Of course, she doesna€™t really think youa€™re perfectly great at alla€”if she were with someone else, youa€™d be one of the voodoo dolls on the table to be dissected and scoffed at. 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. When someonea€™s excited about something, they figure out how to get it into their schedulea€”when theya€™re not, they figure out ways to push it farther into the future.
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. And Ia€™m not talking about the friends that will feel a little twinge of pleasure when they hear your big break didna€™t pan out after all or that your relationship is in bad shape. Of course, this is a hideous quality in many not-great couples, but ita€™s also a prominent feature of plenty of friendships.
Ita€™s when the number gap gets even wider that something less healthy is going ona€”something that doesna€™t reflect very well on either party.
Is one persona€™s opinion or preference just kind of understood to carry more weight than the othera€™s? If Person A is in a bad mood, Person B is in a good mood, and Person B reacts by being timid and respectful of Person Aa€™s mood, leaving the vibe down there until Person A snaps out of it on her owna€”but when the moods are reversed, Person B quickly disregards her own bad mood and acts more cheerful to match Person Aa€™s happy mooda€”and this is how itA alwaysA goesa€”then Person A is in a serious power position.
When you havena€™t seen a good friend in a long time, the first order of business is a big catch-upa€”you want to know whata€™s going on in their career, with their girlfriend, with their family, etc., and they want to catch up on your life. Your rock friendships dona€™t warrant 2x the time you give to your other friendsa€”they warrant 5 or 10x.
But herea€™s the thinga€”a list is a great format for an article, and a format I was using on my old blog almost 10 years ago.
When we experience more feelings and do not find words to express them, feelings tend to compensate that. Feelings have the power to influence the actions of men because we are more governed by feelings than by reason.
If you havena€™t a clue, let me suggest a wine thata€™s fit for the occasion: Philip, named after Philip Mazzei, an intriguing, if minor, player in the formative years of the United States of America. For starters, hea€™s the one who brought the first vitus vinifera to the Colonies and planted the first commercial vineyards in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mazzei, who wrote under the pseudonym Furioso, penned these words: a€?All men are by nature equally free and independent.
His older brother Filippo (and fellow CEO) took Philipa€™s name, and the household was generally aware of their 18th century ancestora€™s exploits. His professions included medicine, trade, horticulture, viticulture, politics, and pamphleteeringa€”vocations that took him around the globe. A friend from home, the powerful Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany, asked him to acquire one of the latest modern conveniences: a metal-lined fireplace, named the Franklin Stove. Jefferson provided the initial land for Philipa€™s venture: 193 acres on the south side of Monticello (above).
Philip the Restless became increasingly disengaged as he became more involved in the birth of the nation. He hired one of Philipa€™s vignerons to take charge of Monticelloa€™s vineyards, and thus Philipa€™s legacy lived on. Wine was always part of the equation; records show the Mazzeis made wine as far back as the 1300s. Ita€™s a delicious winea€”bursting with dark fruit, with a background of spice and cedar, offering plush tannins that give structure without being overbearing. The Mazzei winery has partnered with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to bring Tuscan vines to Virginia, fulfilling Philipa€™s promise (right).
Youa€™ll find him very pleasant company indeeda€”whether on Presidenta€™s Day or any day of the year. You might be invited to their wedding, but you wona€™t have any responsibilities once youa€™re there. Your relationship tends to exist mostly as part of a bigger group or through the occasional Facebook like, and it doesna€™t even really stress you out when you hear that one of them made $5 million last year. Wea€™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 shouldna€™t be permittedA to set foot up there. This leaves both of them petrified of the lumbering elephant that appears in the room anytime theya€™re alone together. Other times, the person is just hopelessly scared and closed off and therea€™s no hope and you have to get out.
This friendship is one long, continuous rejection of you as a human being, and youa€™re just wallowing there in your yearning like a sobbing little seal.
Unfortunately, youa€™re also extremely close friends from when you were four, and youa€™re both just a part of each othera€™s situation forever, sorry.


Some people have become Future 52-year-olds, while others are super into beingA Previous 21-year-olds.
They may still like each other, but theyA cana€™tA be as close as they used to bea€”each of their lives is a bit of a middle finger at the othera€™s choices, and thata€™s just awkward for everyone. On the plus side, there are people out there you havena€™t spoken to in seven years who know all about the new thing youa€™re trying with your hair, since it goes both ways. And keep in mind that seeing one of them for a meal isna€™t really enougha€”your rocks deserve serious, dedicated time so you can stayA close.A So go make plans with them.
In fact, my first listicle, 19 Things I Dona€™t Understand, was published in August of 2005, a year before Buzzfeed was even founded. We can close our eyes to things we do not want to see but we cannot close our heart to the things we do not want to feel. This was in 1774 on land obtained through his neighbor, Thomas Jefferson, as well as on Jeffersona€™s own Monticello plantation. Such equality is necessary in order to create a free government.a€? Without question, the mena€™s thinking was in sync, and the two politicos were tight friends who shared progressive libertarian ideals, traded volumes of private letters, and even published writings together.
He was pushy, always asking a€?I want to do this, I want to do that.a€™ So he was a bit of a pain.
Philip got in touch with its inventor, Benjamin Franklin, who was then working in London as an agent for Pennsylvania and other American colonies. Philip purchased another 700 next door, named his farm Colle, and started planting on both farms. He went back to Tuscany at Jeffersona€™s request to solicit funds for the State of Virginia from his old friend the Grand Duke and to promote the Coloniesa€™ perspective. Whata€™s remarkable is how many oft-told tales of Chianti intersect with the Mazzei family history.
This wine could dress up for an elegant prime-rib dinner or go casual for a picnic of sloppy joes and BBQ. Not surprisingly, ita€™s quite popular in the Washington DC and Virginia markets and sells like gangbusters at the gift shop in Monticello. The idea is to add a special plot to the vineyards now on the presidential property adjoining Monticello, named Montalto. 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. But I actually enjoy the shit out of this frienda€”sure, therea€™s a limit on how close wea€™ll ever be, but without ever spending time talking about our lives, we actually end up in a lot of fun, interesting conversations.
Theya€™re way too on top of s--t to ever end up in the car alone together if a group is going somewhere in multiple cars, but there are smaller dangers afoota€”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, ita€™ll raise their perception of your value and they might actuallyA 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.
Ita€™s not always that bada€”but to survive an Off-Line Life Situation, friends need to be really different people who dona€™t at all want the same things out of life. The problem is, when you dona€™t make enough time for good friends, seeingA them only for a meal and not that oftena€”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.
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.
What we think we feel and that is why it is rightly said, a€?Thoughts are the shadows of our feelingsa€?. There are notes of Jefferson that say, a€?This guy isa€¦a€™ a€? Francesco shakes his head with a grimace, then breaks out in a laugh. They struck up a friendship, and through Franklin, Philip met Virginia businessman and politician Thomas Adams. To finance the operation, he created a wine companya€”Americana€™s firsta€”called the Wine Society, which was meant to produce and sell wine. The first written mention of Chianti wine, in 1398, was penned by a Mazzei: the notary Ser Lapo.
And if something huge happens in their life, therea€™s a good chance youa€™ll hear it first from someone else.
You can either play along and everything will go smoothly, even though youa€™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.
Thata€™s the Perpetual Catch-Up Trap, and I find myself falling into itA with way too many of the rocks in my life. AnywayA the point is, A) I was doing listicles before they were cool, and B) A list headline doesna€™t mean it cana€™t be a high-quality article, so C) Wait But Why will make an article a listicle when ita€™s the best format for that post, and dona€™t be mad at us cause ita€™s not what it looks like. He lived in, not just went to, Tuscany, Turkey, England, Virginia, France, Poland, Russia, and back in Tuscany,a€? he says, tapping the table for emphasis. Both Americans encouraged Philip to come up with a plan to cultivate Mediterranean vines, olive trees, citrus, and silk in the Colonies.
Thirty-one investors shelled out 50 pounds sterling per share; many prominent colonial leaders were among them, first and foremost Washington and Jefferson. Then therea€™s the legend of the Black Rooster, which recounts how Florence and Siena settled a longstanding territorial dispute through a horse race; the resulting border falls precisely at the hamlet of Fonterutoli. Youa€™ll catch your new love cheating on you and murder them both in an act of incredibleA passion. Doing this will shatter the fragile team vibe and make the friend recoil and say something quietly like, a€?Hma€¦yeaha€¦I guess.a€? The friend now respects you for the first time and will also criticize you extra hard next time shea€™s playing her pedestal game with a different friend. And it doesna€™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.



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