For a long time, my best friend dated a dud.
She was earlier to the dating game than I was. She’d get upset about something he did, and I was bewildered… until years later, when I experienced it for myself.
Then? “I cannot believe you put up with all that!”
That, and she and I had vastly different tastes. She was always attracted to artistic guys, guys who were musicians or filmmakers or digital animators. They knew lots about some aspect of Japanese popular culture, or denim. Sometimes they used around as many hair care products as a young Johnny Depp, other times, they knew an obnoxious amount about obscure independent bands.
I was not attracted to any of these things. Instead, I was drawn to guys who looked like they’d had their noses broken several times while playing contact sports, or, like, extreme mountaineering types. (Meru actually brought me back to a time in my life when I thought – for real – I’d hike Everest.) Once, I met a guy on a train. We talked about how much we loved the MEC catalogue (this is back when it was an event to get the print version in the mail) – specifically our fantasy camping supplies (outback espresso machine, anyone?): I was smitten for a year.
Maybe because I was so uninterested in her type, I didn’t pay much attention to the boyfriends themselves. We didn’t have much in common, and besides, all that mattered was that she was happy. She’d tell me stories about things they did – movies they watched or shows they saw – and I’d glaze over. So between that and the not-knowing about relationships, I missed the signs.
He wasn’t nice to her.
Now, she’d tell it differently. She made mistakes too – they were both young and foolish together – it was a long time ago.
Looking back on it, to me, he was sort of a dilettante with no real commitments or responsibilities, nor any desire to have actual commitments or responsibilities. Ahem. (But, you know, she’s my best friend. I defend!)
After they broke up – like really broke up – about a year later, she let it slip: he’d never liked me. He actually really strongly disliked me.
When she told me, at first, I was shocked: I’d had no idea. Probably because I’d never paid enough attention to notice. “What? But we barely talked. How could he have an opinion about me?”
She: “He didn’t like the brand of backpack you had. That was enough for him.”
I laughed; I’d thought she was joking.
Friend: “No, for real. He had strong opinions about brands.”
See? A dud.
I realized 2 liberating things:
- Sometimes, when you learn someone dislikes you, instead of being hurt, you will actually not care
- Sometimes, when you learn someone dislikes you, instead of not caring, you will be actively flattered by their dislike
It felt good.