(Re)Making Friends, After You Screw Up

In a few weeks, I’m going to see one of my best friends. Brother-level best friend. We shared rooms. Plural. And we hadn’t talked in years until not all that long ago. 

Why? Good question, easy answer: I said some dumb s***. 

I don’t remember saying this specific line of garbage, but he certainly remembers me saying it. And when he repeated to me what I said, my reaction was, “Wow. I am so sorry. That is some seriously dumb s***.”

I’m positive I said it too. There’s no “allegedly” here – I wasn’t drunk or high or anything faux-excusable. I was just dumb. Well, dumber than I am now. Which isn’t some humble s***,  but some real s***. I grew up at least a little. Empirically. 

A little personal history studying (re: therapy) goes a long way. The anxiety and panic of my previous “burn it all down and start everything over” phases had casualties. Imagine that. Oh, and as for untreated anxiety and panic, you may also be surprised to learn – they’re not fertile grounds for thoughtful decision-making. 

Just because you’re rising from the ashes doesn’t make you a phoenix.

You can say you are all you want, but pigeons fly up and out of bathing in city storm drains too. Don’t mistake your metaphors. You’re either finding religion or finding half-eaten pizza crusts. Rising from ashes is not rising from a communal ashtray. 

I’m reflecting on all of this lately when Tom Papa shows up on Mike Birbiglia’s podcast. They talk about how they’re old friends who had a falling out too. I know why I’m hearing this now. 

In their case, Papa had already hit a certain level in his career, and Birbiglia was the up-and-comer always asking for something. Papa drew a boundary on the incessant asks. The friendship, if it really was more than the potential for a real friendship, died then and there. 

Also, it didn’t help that Papa told Birbiglia his obvious asks were not cool… at random when they ran into each other, while Birbiglia was in the middle of a date. Ouch. On both sides. 

But then they reconnected. Birbiglia appologized. And now we get conversations like this. 

The clip is actually right at the very top of this link. I highly recommend sticking around for the full interview too, there’s some more beautiful stuff here.