As twenty-somethings onward, we’ve got different friends. Friends that we actually like. Not to say all of our friends are biffles to the max power. No, we’ve grown out of frenemies and into murkier friendship waters. It’s no longer about outright contempt for a friend. Now we’ve got friends that we’re kind of ambivalent about. Friends who are so mediocre that you can’t even be bothered to come up with a snappy term to describe them.
Picture this scene: you’re assembling a group of your friends to go to Dave & Buster’s or Scores or Chuck E Cheese’s or whatever the kids are doing these days, and as you’re thinking about who to put on the email chain, you hesitate twice as long as to whether or not you want to invite X friend because you know they’ll just complain about their vertigo every chance they get.
This friend of yours, every single word that comes out of their mouth is like verbal porridge. Bland, colorless, and reminds you of your grandmother. Even events that would be exciting coming from the mouth of literally anyone else, are enough to put even Ben Stein to sleep. Say, for example, this friend of yours just got into a relationship. The only response you can muster for them when they tell you the news is “Oh. ::long, uncomfortable pause as they wait for your excitement:: Good,” because you know that for the duration of this relationship, they will find some completely irritating way to work this relationship into any conversation you two will ever have. Example:
“Can you believe this weather?”
“I can. John and I were just saying we like the cold weather because we like to wear our long johns in front of the fire for a little extra warmth. Isn’t he the bee’s knees?”
Fact: This friend will also use phrases like “the bee’s knees” unironically.
It’s like deep down, they just know they are the Thomas or Theresa Gilbert of your friends. So they overcompensate by acting incredibly impressed with the minute details of their own lives, hoping their enthusiasm will be infectious.
Lord knows every word that comes out of my mouth isn’t solid gold. Who am I to pass judgment on the lame friend, when I could very easily be that friend (Thomas Filbert?) to someone else? I, and most likely many of you, have one important characteristic that separates us from being the lame friend, and that is self-awareness. Many a time, I’ve shared information that was light years from exciting, but have then followed up with an acknowledgment of my lameness. The lame friend will never do this, because the lame friend genuinely believes that them having fixed the copier machine at work merits at least 10 minutes’ worth of discussion on Gchat.
Why keep this friend around? Unlike frenemies, this lame friend is actually a good person and a better friend. They’re perfectly harmless and they mean well. Like Milhouse van Houten. Or Kenneth the Page. They can be very nice, when taken in the appropriate dose but much like Tylenol PM, too much of them could potentially kill you, but just enough of them will lull you to sleep peacefully. Just use caution when engaging them in conversation, unless you have hours to spend listening to their traumatic experience with post nasal drip or their great-uncle’s tried and true method for removing sauce stains from clothes.