Friends. They pick you up from the airport, hold your hair back when you're puking, and offer their fries in times of need. Friends are so highly valued that there's even an entire religion for them. Without them, we'd have no one to group chat with but co-workers and (shudder) family.
But not all friends are created equal. Some are besties, some are fair-weather, and some are just toxic—although not in the fun Britney Spears kind of way. It often takes a moment of extreme selfishness, cruelty, or disregard from a so-called friend to finally break the spell that had prevented us from seeing their true character all along. We asked people to tell us about those illuminating moments that made them finally realize they had a shitty friend.
When I suggested going out to a fancy rooftop bar to celebrate finishing finals with my roommate he said no, because if someone saw the two of us together they might think that he was gay.
- Nick, Portland
I came home and my roommate had placed a steak knife (blade up) in between the couch cushion in the exact place I always sat. It was covered by a throw blanket. Luckily, I didn't sit on it. I happened to be with another friend and she went to sit first and moved the blanket. It was a “what the fuck” moment for both of us, to say the least. I started locking my door every night after that.
- Brooke, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
When I called in a panic to tell them I had called the suicide prevention line and was on hold for 25 minutes and their response was just “Maybe someone had more of an emergency than you.”
- Steven, New York
I'd just moved back home, and my best friend of ten years was blackout drunk and called to ask if she could crash at mine so her mom wouldn't catch her drunk. I gave her a time to meet at my house by to minimize disturbing my sleeping family.
About four hours later I hear my home alarm going off. She stumbles inside, goes in my room, and just crashes. She’d woken everyone up, got the dogs barking, etc. A few hours later, I hear a noise and wake up to find she’s puking all over my bed. I tried to get her to bathroom but she insisted she was fine, all while continuing to puke on the bed and carpet.
The next morning her mom comes to pick her up and she walks out of my house (wearing MY clothes) without saying a thing to anyone in the house. I immediately call and text her, furious, but not once does she apologize. I tell her to Venmo me to get the carpets cleaned and then her mom calls me to say how dare I ask her to clean up or pay for anything because she clearly had food poisoning, and threatening me not to tell anyone what happened lest I ruin her daughter’s “image.”
I never heard from her again but I did hear later that she did the same thing to another girl in LA that also resulted in someone needing a new couch and carpet.
- Jena, Miami
I paid a friend to help me with security consulting on a hacked website of mine just to find out he was the one who hacked me. I paid him $200 per hour to give him deeper access and “resolve my situation." Two months later I find out he injected a script to rotate out 20 percent of my web traffic to his own Google Adsense and direct ad server, stealing over $40,000 from me.
- Dennis, Los Angeles
I had a friend who house sat for me and threw a party. House was a mess, dogs he was supposed to be watching were neglected, ate all our food and drank all our booze, remnants of drugs were littered throughout the house, and he just walked out without saying a word once my wife got home.
- Gary, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Invited two friends to a party to meet a guy I was newly dating. Half way through the party, we couldn't find friend #2. After searching for her for a while, we found her upstairs fucking the guy.
- Diana, Seattle
When my house almost burned down in the largest fire in California recorded history and not a single friend in my life came to help me clean or sort through my damaged items.
- Alexandra, Santa Monica, California
When my friend of 15 years stole $2,000 from me, slowly over a year's span from my bank account. Worse still, they were the one I kept complaining to about how money kept vanishing from my account. But they kept telling me that maybe It was my other friend, or maybe I was spending the money without realizing.
- Brittany, Marquette, Michigan
I’m an artist so this one really gets me. This one friend, a fellow artist, drew a character in my likeness for her ongoing comic series and then had the audacity to deny it. It was so clearly me. She had my nose ring, and bun, and bandana I used to wear, and circular glasses, and two cartilage earrings. But then she goes and names this character Tran—my last name. And because I am a snoopy ho I definitely checked her Facebook friend list for any other Vietnamese Trans since there are a lot of us but, alas, it was just me in there so… This bitch has some nerve.
- Anh, Los Angeles
We coincidentally ran into each other in the middle of a crowded event in a foreign country on the other side of the world. While I was having a “holy shit! What are the odds? Let’s grab a beer!” moment, he was giving me this sort of perfunctory “How’s it going” like we were coworkers who’d run into each other at Costco over the weekend before disappearing after saying he’d be right back. He wasn’t being outwardly shitty, but it was a crystalizing moment. Not just because it brought into focus the disparity in our perceptions of the years-long friendship, but because it showed that he thought so little of me that he couldn’t even fake a little bit of enthusiasm for the insane coincidence.
- Tyson, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Quotes have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
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