Whether they’re attending a quilting bee or organizing a girl trip, ‘sweet friends’ have always been part of the fabric of female society. Too bad I’m not one of them.
I see her everywhere on Facebook, lounging with a group of marrieds in a Land’s End bikini on the deck of a pontoon boat, her bright smile flashing from beneath the shadow of a college ball cap, or laughing, cheek-to-cheek with another woman at a neighborhood barbecue, or linked arm-in-arm between two suntanned besties at the beach.
She is known simply as the Sweet Friend, and she is adored and admired and celebrated by women on Facebook in much the same way the Kardashians worship and venerate their plastic surgeon.
‘I’m #soblessed to have my sweet friend Julie in my life,’ the captions read.
Or, ‘Soooo excited my sweet friend Millie made it to our Theta Beta Zeta Potatuh reunion!’
Or, ‘I couldn’t have finished the Colorful Glowstick Miracle Princess 5K without my sweet friend Allie’s encouragement!’
In the face of so very, very many sweet friends, I find myself looking more closely at their photos, examining the pixels for the barest hint of an ironic smirk on the so-called sweet friend’s face, or perhaps a middle finger slightly lifted in salute where her hand peeks out from the small of the other woman’s back. Nope. These friends are, indeed sugary sweet, every single smiling one of them.
I, too, admire sweet friends, and often add to their praises in the comments if I know them personally. I feel lucky to have a few sweet friends of my own. But seeing the sunny images of so many sweet friends on my Facebook feed always makes me feel a bit wistful, too, because no one would ever call me a sweet friend, and anyone who would clearly doesn’t know me very well.
I guess you could say I’m more of a salty friend. Sarcastic friend wouldn’t be far off the mark. Socially awkward friend? NAILED IT. Unfortunately, my qualities don’t make for good status updates for the women who have the dubious pleasure of knowing me.
So lovely feeling the heat from my bitchy friend Lindsay’s death stare today after I accidentally cut her off in the Kroger parking lot! You should have seen her face when she realized it was me!
Always an experience seeing my quirky friend Lindsay at Book Club, even though she’s generally 30 minutes late and never actually reads the book!
Tried to pretend I didn’t know my doofus friend Lindsay at the antique fair this morning after she accidentally knocked over a case of priceless china while doing her Barbra Streisand impression! We were escorted out by security! #NeverAgain
Not surprisingly, when I get together with friends, they generally don’t mention it on Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m confident that I’m a good friend in my way. I never share secrets, I will shield your body with my own in a bar brawl, and I can recommend books like nobody’s business. But I think my life would be so much easier if I could just be a sweet friend — the type of woman who owns a set of monogrammed koozies and has a hug and a squeal for every woman she runs across at Target. The one who shows up with a bottle of wine when you need it most, and who always knows the exact right thing to say in a situation (as opposed to the exact wrong thing, which is my own personal specialty). The kind of person whose picture you can add to your Facebook feed with confidence, instead of dread. It’s clear to me now that the divine nature of the sweet friend will always elude me. I try and I try to be sweet, but the best I can manage tastes more like Splenda — and why settle for that when the real thing is so widely available and scientifically proven to be better for you?
Alas. I will never be a sweet friend. And this leaves me feeling a little bit… sour.
Header image via Flickr Creative Commons.