Please don’t believe that I know what I’m writing about here. I’m 98.9% extrovert.
F: If you were a dog, what breed would you be?
H: Some kind of cerberus. A hound of Hades. Three heads, gnashing teeth and powerful jaws. I’d be a beast of annihilation. I’d cause my enemies to quake in fear upon seeing my very visage. None would dare cross me, lest they find themselves deep within the bowels of my master’s terrain. You?
F: That’s a bold call. Is that more wish fulfilment? Or what you see as an actual reflection of your personality? Cause I’ve known you for a while and that seems a bit off. You may look a bit grizzly when you’re hungry, but you’ve got a heart like a Beanie Baby.
H: Have you met me?
F: C’mon, do you honestly think you’re that bad?
H: Ask my exes.
F: Seriously, you always do this. You make yourself out to be this unapproachable monster when in fact you’re a sweetie that sometimes just likes their alone time. Be real with me here. Why the constant act?
H: Because making good friends is hard. If I push and people come back, usually they’re keepers. You stuck around, right?
F: So you’re conducting an ever occurring series of shit-tests? That seems equally ineffective and, well, counter-productive.
H: I repeat, you stuck around, right?
F: Did anyone else? Just because my skin has dragonscale levels of resilience, you can’t assume everyone else will be the same. You’re one of my best friends, but I can’t be your only lifeline.
H: I don’t need people around me. If people choose to stick around, that’s their choice.
F: COME ON. You’re not a teenager any more, you can do better than that.
H: Why is this your business anyway? I can live my life the way I want.
F: That’s true. Maybe I’m imprinting my values on you, but mostly it’s about wanting you to be happier. I’m not saying you’re unhappy, but think about what you get out of our friendship. You could have more of that in different ways by branching out.
H: It’s “mostly” about wanting me to be happier? What’s the other part.
F: Of course you’re gonna snipe that out. Cards on the table, it’d be nice for you to have other people to bounce off. I can’t be the answer to all of your problems.
H: Fine, I won’t come to you anymore.
F: NOOOoooo. Jesus, dummy. Of course I’m happy to be here and listen, but I can’t do it all the time. That’s not emotionally sustainable. Plus, I can’t be the only one influencing you. If you’re only listening to my voice and the voice in your head, you’ve got two opinion leaders in your life. How the hell is that gonna be balanced?
H: People are dumb. I don’t need-
F: NOPE NOPE NOPE. Stoppit. You’re not a narrow-minded idiot and we both know that. You’re being deliberately obtuse and it’s unbecoming of a fine young upstanding citizen as yourself. Just be real with me. Why are you being such a dick about this?
H: I’m not being a dick. I just don’t need a wide circle of friends. I can get by alright without a ton of people. I’ve got hobbies and interests. They’re just not social ones. I don’t have to be you, y’know.
F: I know. I know and maybe I’m being unfair. Am I entirely off base though? Why would more people be a bad thing? Why not try opening yourself up a little bit?
H: It’s hard, okay? It’s hard. What if I say dumb things and people judge me and I feel like a worthless piece of shit and just want to fly the fuck away from everything?
F: Well that’s when you snap out and bite them in half with those gnashing cerberus teeth.
H: Hardy har har. I’m serious. I mean, I know it’s not always gonna be like that, but knowing and “knowing” are two very different things and it’s hard to convince myself that the outcome isn’t gonna be bleak 90% of the time. I’m not an unhappy person, you know that.
F: You’re not.
H: But it’s a lot of effort. You talked about emotional effort dealing with my stuff? It’s emotional effort for me to deal with people in that kind of social way. I can’t just be punchy and likeable on a dime like you. It’s really fucking hard for me. It’s so much easier to not have to think about it. The less I have to deal with new people, the less stress I have in my life. I know you’re right that I can’t always rely on you, but the alternative shits me to think about. I don’t want to have to think about it, so I don’t. I just don’t.
F: That really sucks. I’m sorry you have to deal with that on the regular.
H: Thanks. I guess I’m dumping emotional weight on you again though.
F: It’s fine. Just because I don’t want to be your repository for everything, doesn’t mean I don’t care. Plus, I like that you said I was right.
H: You’re a fucking Jack Russell, you know that?
F: Yip yip!