Et tu, Brute? Toxic Friendships and What We Can Learn from Caesar
By Holly Shivel
“Et tu, Brute?” With the Ides of March approaching as swiftly as my sister at a freshly turned yellow traffic light, I have to wonder – did Julius Caesar know before the slip of the knife that his friend was more enemy than bud? And if he didn’t – did he just ignore all the warning signs? If a man who inspired such wonders as a delicious salad, a pizza chain and a cool haircut failed to notice 60 of his closest colleagues sharpening their decorative daggers, then how are those of us with average IQ’s and low-to-zero persuasions of power supposed to suss out true friends versus those who just want us to spill our guts – and then watch as we trip on them?
Toxic Friendships are all over mainstream media and short of a Facebook purge which, contrary to popular belief, can happen without the obligatory “I just cleaned house – CONGRATS YOU MADE THE CUT!” post, what can we do to make sure those around us are there to lift our spirits and not just to hijack our happiness?
Unfortunately, I have fallen victim to the Toxic Shock Syndrome (the one in relationships, not the one that occurs due to misuse of feminine products) more than once in my life. In my past, a very close friend felt the need to replicate my fashion sense, my signature red lips and, upon closer inspection, even the way she perceived how I interacted with others.
A friendship of several years was quickly dissolved when she Single-White-Femaled me and attempted to insert herself into my life, all but replacing me like a Costco version of Holly – close – but obviously flawed.
Luckily for me, I wised up and so did those around her who, needless to say, were none too pleased at her attempted manipulation of the friendship situation and, long story short, everyone dropped her faster than an Introduction to Microeconomics class freshman year.
Her idea of making amends and asking me to forget her reckless abandon of Girl Code – was to send me a gift card. As if my approval could be re-won with the simple addition of imported cheese and carb-free bread. Which, in her defense, is usually the way to end a feud with me.
However, even I, the girl who has never met a stranger, knew to back away. Toxic friendships can happen at any age and I refused to let another person leech away my hard-found happiness even with the promise of free imported brie.
So, while others of the world are celebrating this month with green beer and lamenting the loss of an hour for the archaic DST rituals, the rest of us will be taking a hard look at the ones who surround us and possibly spending our dawning hours Marie Kando’ing our Friends List. Hold your close friends closer, make sure they bring you joy, cut out the rest, and buy your own dang cheese. Hail Caesar!