Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.
Last week, I was at a party, had a little too much to drink, and started flirting with my best friend’s boyfriend. Nothing happened — we were just sitting close on the couch, joking around and I think my hand was on his arm, but when my friend saw us, she got super angry and hasn’t spoken to me since. Neither has her boyfriend. I think she’s being super irrational, and have told her so — it’s not like I want him, they’ve been together for months, and she always has guys fawning all over her, but no dice. She won’t return my texts or calls. What should I do?
First of all, your friend was not being irrational. You crossed a line, and no matter what did or didn’t happen, she deserves a sincere apology. She sees this as a betrayal and you need to acknowledge her feelings. Call her up and say, “Patsy, I’ve been a cad.” Grovel a little, or maybe even a lot.
Second, you need to address the resentment that lives at the core of this friendship. BFFs don’t go around muttering, “You always have guys fawning all over you, Patsy.” They don’t say, “You’re being super irrational.” They don’t flirt with the other person’s significant other even when deep down they probably know they’re pissing the other person off. That’s not a friendship; that’s a competition, and an ugly one.
You need to figure out whether the drinking gave you the courage to act on this resentment or — and think about this one carefully — the courage to act on some itsy bitsy attraction to this guy that you’re not admitting. If it’s the former, you need to come clean with Patsy and renew your friendship vows. If it’s the latter, you need to back away from her bae until the only touching you’re doing is a friendly handshake.
I feel like my life is nowhere where I want it to be… How do I get my life together?
Simple: you make your life what you want it to be.
Okay, it’s not that easy, but it almost is. One of the most important lessons to learn while you’re still young is that you’re responsible for your own happiness (that is, the 75% that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t responsible for). Stop blaming your circumstances, make a list of goals, and see what you can personally do to make them happen.
You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel once you’re proactive. Even when you have to leave little things up to fate — and you will, because we live in a cosmic cluster — you’ll rest easy knowing you’ve done your best. That’s all anybody (you) can ask for.
Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.