The Bad ROI-Friend

Sometimes in more reflective moments, I wonder what it must be like to be my friend. I’ve often figured that I would probably not like me so much since I’m probably a pretty crappy friend. I’d certainly admire me and love me but not so much like me as a friend. I’d probably never let me in far enough to really get to know me. Think about that: if you met yourself, how that would go.

Friendship success is largely a mater of one’s return on one’s investments, or ROI. Nourish your friends (generally) and they will nourish you in return (generally). These are the very same general principles of friendship your grandmother would have tried to explain to you if you weren’t so busy snarkily "Tweeting" about how quaint it was to visit grandma in small town America. Most social psychology is grandma logic so don’t let the Ph.D.s try to tell you anything more.

Invest in your friends wisely—birthday cards, chicken soup, airport runs, percoset—and it will all come back to you in droves (they say). That is the fundamental purpose of friendship anyway, giving as vehicle to receiving. Like Christmas, you only give in order to receive. And, thus, I present my newest term: ROI-friend. It rhymes with “boyfriend.”

I am probably a terrible ROI-friend. I spend the majority of my ROI-friend time devising ways to avoid or limit actual interactions. Changing emailing addresses, feigning illness, and wearing dark glasses or fake mustaches is common (as is pretending to be on the phone).

I figure that if I invest in me what I could have invested in you, then I’m already ahead of the game. No wasted steps and no flaws to that logic. Why give to receive when I can just go buy what I want and be done with it. Fact and metaphor.

I’m the guy who drove myself to the ER with the infected appendix. Now I don’t have to give anyone a ride at 3:00 a.m. Reciprocation doesn’t apply, dial 9-1-1, I'm sleeping!

Maybe it’s my greatest personality flaw that I have a huge superiority complex. Maybe the fatal flaw is my disdain of most everyone else. I do believe I old-man-muttered the following phrase this weekend with regard to my fellow neighbors and community members, “I fuckin’ hate these mopes!” I mean, I’m no jewel but at least I recognize that I’m no jewel. And I don’t present myself as some big fake ass jewel. I may be all-warts but I have keen context awareness and I am a high self-monitor. I’m always analyzing and contextualizing. I know the deal and if you stepped away from your image for a moment and listened to me for one moment, you’d know my deal too.

The beauty is that I expect nothing from you. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. That’s because I’m not going to give anything to you. Never have, never will. So we’re already even, Stephen. Do not try to force yourself upon me because I will bristle and reject. Don’t send cards, email or gifts. I already bought that. I don’t answer the phone. I invented the "Kaczynski Was Right™" AND the "Stop Having Babies™" t-shirts.

Heck, in quickly re-evaluating the situation, I actually may be the best kind of friend you could have. Don’t ask, don’t tell! The truth will set you free. Et cetera. I’m unimpeachable, like Bloomberg. You can’t guilt me because I never let you do anything for me in the first place. Call Super Shuttle if you need a ride to the airport at 6:00 a.m. I’m sleeping.

See? I’m a terrible ROI-friend. I really wouldn't like me very much. I'd love me though.