Friendships Over Relationships . . . Right?

My best friends tend not to overlap with each other. They all tend to belong to their own friendship circles. In each circle I am generally a recurring character, but rarely a season's regular. That is not to say my friends don't get along; we just don't hang out all together at the same time - unless I'm hosting a New Year's Eve party.

My college best friend happens to have membership in a friendship group based in the D.C. beltway. They maintain a sporadic GroupMe where they can group text about meeting up for drinks or road tripping to visit old college friends. Somehow I got inducted into this group. I really can't remember why; the majority of the friends live within 30 miles of each other, and I live 94 miles away in Richmond.

However, I try to contribute where I can:

Here's another gem:



As you can see from the above, I do not access this GroupMe from the app. I did not adopt a Smartphone until early 2013, several years after the GroupMe trend, and had become used to receiving GroupMe's as text. This leads to some interesting reads:

The group becomes active about every three weeks with someone proposing a meet-up and then everyone giving their excuses for why they aren't available until the following weekend. But then they don't get together the next weekend; it's the next month. And I watch from afar while I stir my metaphorical martini and wait for an opportunity to troll.

Now Rick has been part of this group as long as I have been, but he's more of a regular versus my guest star appearances. About a year ago he got a girlfriend and, with time, she was added to the group. No one consulted me on this decision.

For real, I didn't know who [Rick's girlfriend] was when she first responded to something in the GroupMe. I had to text one of the regular group member privately.

Me: "Good for Rick. Glad he got a girlfriend who's serious enough to be added to our GroupMe. Hope she knows what she's in for."

I never had the chance to meet Rick's girlfriend before she was retired from the group. Simply, one cold Saturday I walked out of yoga class and saw on my phone screen:

Marsha removed rick's girlfriend from the group.

Well, that's one way to announce a breakup.

Without thinking (which is possibly my trademark), I replied to the group and indicated my amusement at this situation. And then I was promptly reminded of what an asshole I sounded like.

Oh, crap. I really hadn't thought that one out.

I typed frantically, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude or aim that you (or anyone)."

No one responded. For the next six months.

In the interim, I relayed this gaffe to Sara and tried to present it from my viewpoint where I was genuinely tickled by the broadcast. Maybe I'm a sadist?

Sara: "Yeah, only you would find that funny."

Okay, point taken.

Fast forward to the spring. Trees are in bloom. Drinks are had on rooftops. I'm finally within the D.C. Beltway, and I've run into Marsha, one of the GroupMe regulars. We discuss what are our plans for the night, am I seeing anyone else in town, why don't we text the group?!

Me: "I'll text them!" Cue me pulling out my phone and pulling up the GroupMe that hasn't been touched since winter. And my resounding faux pas the last interaction we had. "Oh...maybe I shouldn't text them. You all never said anything after I threw myself and Rick under a Mac truck."

Marsha: "We just started a new GroupMe. Without you."

Without me?

Me: "I guess that's understandable. I didn't mean to sound so rude, but I did laugh. It was such a blatant breakup announcement. I mean, look at it. 'Marsha has removed Rick's girlfriend from the group.' Wouldn't you laugh too? Then again, I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral to quote the Barenaked Ladies song."

Marsha: "It says that? Well, if you used the GroupMe app and didn't just get it as texts, it would be a small notification versus a proclamation."

Me: "You mean, you all didn't receive a proclamation like I did?"

Marsha: "No. In fact, if you hadn't said anything, no one may have noticed."

Gosh, Marsha, you know how to make me feel better about myself.

Me: "How upset was Rick? Is he over her?"

Marsha: "Yeah, it's been a few months. He has a new girlfriend now."

Me: "Well, that's good to hear! Maybe he's forgotten about my assholery."

A couple of hours later, we're at a new bar. I'm about to order drinks when Marsha grabs me: 

"Rick is here!"

Me: "You're kidding, right?"

Marsha: "No, I just ran into him outside the restroom!"

Then I turned and ducked beneath Rick's swinging fist. Just kidding.

Rick: "Man, it's been so long! How are you?"

We embraced. I thought, "You brought him back here, Marsha? He wants to castrate me." Instead, I said, "I'm great. What about you? It has been so long! (Do you hate me? I am so sorry, I did not mean to defecate on your breakup back in February.)"

Rick: "I'm good. I have a new job, love it. Everything's swell." Or something like that. I was too distracted waiting for vitriol. But it never came. And for the next half hour we caught up before I went home with my friend and ate half a pizza as penance for my friendship crimes. Even though my blunder was never brought up.

The moral here isn't, you can be an asshole and get away with it. Instead, friendships last longer than most relationships, so don't squash them. (I'm talking to myself, of course.)