Having a best friend is the best. Sure, you may have some family, but those people can be insufferable dicks sometimes. Best friends are great for basically anything: to get drunk with on weeknights, or to generally keep the cold and the darkness at bay.
Unlike your family, you've chosen your best friend—or you've found each other—but that doesn't mean this one person you know better than anyone in the world can't drive you absolutely insane sometimes. Being confronted with your best friend's worst side can fill you with a very specific kind of rage, a feeling that usually comes with unconditional love. We asked some people close to us what they secretly hate about their best friends. But these stories are not about us. We think.
'HIS SALIVA MAKES ME FEEL SICK TO MY STOMACH.'
"I cannot deal with little behavioral flaws and tics. I can't stand people cracking the joints in their fingers or breathing heavily when not undertaking any physically demanding tasks. My everyday neurosis can drive me insane and turn me into an irrationally harsh person, but there's one person for who I step outside myself in this regard: my best friend.
When I was thirteen, and we had known each other for a couple of weeks, I noticed that while explaining how to build an invincible Magic deck, a drop of thick saliva was sliding down from the corner of his mouth. Even now, while I'm writing this, I feel sick to my stomach when I think about it.
That drop of saliva was there when he realized he wanted to leave his girlfriend one year after they had moved in together, it was there when his parents decided not to divorce, and when he told me it was fine not to know what to do with my life. I always notice it's there, and it always gives me the willies, but I never mention it. I'll always be there for my best friend, much like his dreaded drop of saliva."
'I HAD BEEN GIVEN MEL C. I HATED MEL C.'
"When I was about ten or eleven, I discovered that I couldn't trust my best friend. We were five girls in our class, and one week, we decided that we'd impersonate the Spice Girls. My best friend and I pledged to each other that we'd back each other on who we'd be: Geri for her, Mel B. for me. 'All or nothing' was our motto. But the day that the girls decided who would be who, I fell ill. When I went back to school, I discovered that I had been given Mel C. My friend hadn't objected to me being Mel C. Me. Mel C. I hated Mel C.
Many Mel C moments followed. When the two of us are together, everything is perfect. We can talk for days. We share everything. But when we're not together, things start to get annoying. She is the kind of person who, in 2016, can be out of phone credit. She keeps missing appointments, and she plays dead when I try to get in touch. She'll say she'll come over when you're scared or lonely or miserable, but forgets that promise shortly afterward.
I've pointed it out to her on many occasions, but she doesn't think it's that bad, and that we'll always make up. She's the most serene and calm person I know, which might be partly why she drives me insane sometimes. But that might be saying more about my anxiety than about our relationship. I've learned to spot the moments when I can't trust her early on and lower my expectations. For example, with this article: I told her about it a week ago and suggested she might want to contribute something too. She was very excited about the idea. The deadline was four days ago, and I didn't get anything. Fortunately, I had my own experience to share."
'HE'S YOUR AVERAGE SNOBBISH DICKHEAD.'
"My best friend is egocentric. He's your average snobbish dickhead no one wants to deal with—Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting but with less muscle. But we've been friends for so long, and he's painfully honest with me. He's cool with telling me my last article was pure shit, and my outfit is 'the most ridiculous thing since the post-punk era.' I'm pretty straightforward myself, but there's something I can't tell him: I hate that he's so self-centered and that he forces me to be the one listening and nodding all the time. I love talking with him, I just think it would be healthy if we change the topic every now and then.
We live two blocks apart. When I'm not at his place, or he's not at mine, we meet in a pub. We drink and we talk—about his problems, about the girls who let him down, about his therapist, the book he is reading, and his job. Sometimes I try to introduce a new topic of discussion, and he'll follow for a bit, but always finds a way to make the topic about him again, to lead the conversation back to his life. It's an incredible skill.
I guess I can't tell him what I think about him for two reasons: one, I don't want to hurt him. And two: I love talking to him."
'HE DECONSTRUCTS MY EVERY MOVE.'
"Ever since I was a kid, I've had an intimate friend who turned into a mean competitor—launching a million bro challenges I never asked to take part in. My relationship with competitions is pretty complicated: It makes me tired, obnoxious, and sad. It's safe to say I'm not a competitive individual, but with this friend, I keep finding myself in situations where every event is apparently worth the competition. And if he can't make an outright challenge out of something, he tries to deconstruct my every move. A girl fancies me? She sucks or is a bitch. I fancy a girl? He asks her out.
He once spent three hours trying to convince me that my new, longer haircut looked gross because my hair wasn't wavy enough—not as wavy as his. I cut my hair the day after. Sometimes it's just better to stop fighting and retreat."
'MY BEST FRIEND IS ALWAYS TRYING TO GET ME STONED.'
"I'm not a very active person—I love doing stuff, but I'm always tired. That's why my relationship with weed is kind of complicated: I like being stoned but only when I'm home, with cookies ready to eat and a warm bed waiting for me. My best friend knows it all too well, and he's always trying to get me stoned when I don't want to be.
He's not your classic stoner friend—he's very lively and extrovert and just happens to really love cannabis. That in itself is fine, but he thinks of weed as a status symbol, better than booze. He's just not the same without weed. Our nights out very often turn into infinite searches for cannabis, and afterward, we're just not on the same page any more: I'm drunk, he's high, and while he's trying to get me to smoke, the question is who's going to crash first.
Last time, we were in those exact states in a club on the other side of town. He kept trying to get me to have a hit, and I got too exhausted with him to keep refusing his offer. Bad, bad idea: After about ten seconds, I was completely stoned, and I just wanted to go to bed. But right at that moment, the weed got too much for him too. He fainted and fell on the floor. I found myself stumbling toward him, sitting next to him on the dance floor, and waiting for him to recover. I tried to take care of him, but, stoned idiot like I was, when he woke up and felt better, I had nodded off."
This article originally appeared on VICE Italy.
Thumbnail illustration by Mai Ly Degnan