How to Make Friends (you actually like)

Dear Michele,

I make lists. (Once I made a list of lists I had made!) My most important list currently is my “People to talk to more and become friends with” List. Unfortunately my list has two major flaws. The fist flaw: The list goes very slowly. It’s hard to just start talking to someone you don’t really know! Once you talk to them once they usually don’t just say, ” Let’s be best friends now!” Once I thought I was friends with someone, but then after winter break it was like they had forgotten we had ever talked, so I had to start over. The Second flaw: As I become closer to people who I have crossed off my list, I feel further from my original friends, so I put them on my list, and get nowhere. Do you have any advice to help my list go smoother?
- Compulsive List Writer

Dear Listy,
I love your idea of making lists. You sound very organized and I applaud that. Would you like to come organize my office? Ha ha just kidding my office is totally organized. Depending on your definition of ‘is.’

Here’s the thing: lists are good for motivation, but sometimes they minimize the distinctions between things. And the thing is, there are different levels of friendship.

Think of friendship as a PROM DRESS.

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Behold, the Prom Dress of Friendship. (Please believe me that it was much cuter before Blogger got ahold of it). On top you have the Bodice, which stands for your closest friends, the ones who are nearest to your heart. And as you move downward, you get friends who are less close, your Skirt Friends, those who are fun and amusing but less close to you, and more For Entertainment Purposes Only than Crucial To Your Healthy Survival.

Like a bodice, Bodice Friends protect your business, hold you close and support you. And like a bodice, because you rely on them they can on rare occasions feel like they are strangling and poking at you, and on other rare occasions feel like they’re a bit loose and you have to move very carefully to keep from loosing them and having your boobs fly out where everyone can see because you listened when your mom said that double sided tape would work just fine and HELLO MOTHER IS THIS FINE? IS THIS WHAT YOU MEANT? NO I DO NOT WISH I’D LISTENED TO YOU AND GOTTEN THE UGLY DRESS WITH THE—what? We aren’t talking about my fifteenth boobday, I mean, birthday? Of course we weren’t, I can’t think where that came from. I’m so OVER that. Silly silly silly. Ahem. Now where was I?

Oh, right. Okay, so your closest, oldest friends are your Bodice Friends. And your newer friends and acquaintances are your Skirt Friends. Just as skirt style and length and fullness change with different seasons and styles, so the number of skirt friends and their identity will change as you experience different things. Skirt Friends are always fluttering around you, near you but not directly connected to your person the way Bodice Friends are. For that reason they aren’t as reliable and permanent as Bodice Friends.

It’s natural that some Skirt Friends will move up and become Bodice Friends, and (less often) Bodice Friends will become Skirt Friends. This process usually happens slowly and it can be a bit painful, but its normal: everyone changes dress sizes in the course of their lives.

By remembering the distinction between Skirt Friends and Bodice Friends, you should be able to make better use of your list—moderating your expectations for your new friends, and remembering to treat your original friends with the care they deserve.
Because they have your back. And your front.

(LITTLE LIFE LESSON: Double sided tape does not work to hold a strapless dress up if you are 1. flat chested 2. sweating from dancing to Duran Duran 3. both)

That’s it, my charming charmsters.
Be good. Ish.
Airkisses,
Dr. J

Need Advice? Mail your questions for publication to advice@michelejaffe.com. The doctor can't promise to answer them all, but she'll do her best. (By sending a question you grant permission to have it appear here. Letters may be edited. Advice is for entertainment purposes only. No blaming us later okay? Okay.)

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