October 17, 2018

I'm Losing Respect for My Friend

Hey, Bonita…

Hey Bonita,

I caught my friend's boyfriend cheating on her downtown, making out with some random person in a bar. I let her know, and she seemed extremely upset—it seems like this isn't the first time he's done this. Fast forward three weeks, and she’s still with him! I'm so pissed at her, and I'm losing a lot of respect for her. It just doesn't make sense to me why someone as smart, witty and talented as her—a real catch, as they say—would keep messing around with this guy.

I barely even want to respond to her texts, and it's so hard not to type out shady shit on social media when she posts photos of them together. Am I an asshole? Should I just drop this person?

What does your friend’s awful boyfriend have to do with your relationship to her? I would only be annoyed at this development if she were taking up tons of my time and attention while complaining about him, demanding support or other one-sided friend stuff that could easily be avoided by moving on. If her relationship doesn’t encroach on your life in any way, then how does it actually impact you? I’ve hated plenty of my friends’ partners, believe you me.

You despise this guy so much that you’re losing respect for your friend for being with him. Still, I hate to say it, but you are being a bit of an asshole. Your friend doesn’t need your judgment, and I’m sure she’s kicked herself plenty over being so attached to a garbage human. She needs you to remain her friend and say all of those awesome things you wrote up there directly to her. Tell her how great she is, tell her she’s worth more, and be there for her.

This is pure drama. There is no need for you to get so up in arms over someone you’re not even sleeping with. Isn’t it midterms or something? I’m sure there are much more meaningful things in your life for you to focus on.

Hey Bonita,

I have to disagree with your advice about the stinky friend(s) [“My Friend (Literally) Stinks,” Oct. 3]. If the person washes his or her clothes, takes regular baths, towels off properly and uses a good deodorant, there could be something else going on. Saying "I know I smell right now" suggests this person knows about the problem and is probably embarrassed.

The friend should gently try to discuss the subject. This is the South, and we sweat a lot. Garlic, onion, hot spices and peppers are carried through sweat. Maybe change food choices for a week. Use an antibacterial soap. Try a different deodorant. If small things aren't helping, there could be an underlying medical condition the person is unaware of. I once worked with a person who smelled like fish. (I had to look it up online; it's called Trimethylaminuria.) It's a genetic disorder, and he didn't know what was wrong until he went to the doctor.

Thank you for sharing your experience and suggestions. My own suggestion came from life experience, too, and I’ve spent my life in the punk scene, where shucking off bodily norms is a point of pride. I once met an awesome kid named Sweet Tooth who forever smelled of dumpsters, and I’ve heard of punks who have lost toes, fingertips and other extremities to infections caused by dirt and the choice to forego regular showers.

The memory I shared was of a person who was making the choice to run me out of my own vehicle with their stinky morning breath—something they’ve admitted to since then (they thought it was funny, but that’s not funny). The writer was describing someone who sounded familiar—someone who’s probably punk and cute and fun as hell, and who also gives not a single shit about beauty standards. And for some, hygiene is a beauty standard.

I came to that conclusion based on my experience, just like you did. Personally, I think it’s more offensive to assume that someone has an illness before offering them soap or whatever.

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