There is a brilliant episode of How I Met Your Mother, entitled “Spoiler Alert”, where the gang (I apologize for using this term, I’ve been watching a lot of ‘Community’) tells each other about annoying habits/traits they all have. For example, the character of Lily chews incredibly loudly which is news to her husband Marshall who thought Ted called her Chewbacca because of her love of shiny belts, loyalty, and his own resemblance to a young Harrison Ford. Once it is pointed out, a lovely glass shattering sound effect is played and every one else can hear nothing but her chewing. The episode circles around the line “CHARACTER NAME is wonderful BUT…”
I bring this up because I wonder what my “but” is. Every single person has one. You know they do. Think about when you hang out with your friends and one of them leaves. How many times do you say “God, Lisa is great but she constantly interrupts people’s stories with her own” and everyone shouts “OH MY GOD! SHE DOES! YES!” in unison. Or “I really love hanging out with Josh but he talks way too much about weight lifting” (I use this example because I dated a guy who did this and it was the worst. His name was not Josh).
Unfortunately, the episode rings true when the trait/habit is revealed. You may not have realized that Hilda corrects everyone’s grammar (*cough*Bethany*cough*). Now you can’t help but notice she does it on every single Facebook post, every sentence you utter, every blog post you write (Bethany is not a Nazi about this…ok, maybe like a baby Nazi), etc. Now you find it hard to look past this habit/trait. It’s staring you in the face every time you see Hilda. You want to scream at her, shake her. You are in utter shock you never noticed it before. But wait. If you never noticed it before, than it really can’t be that bad, can it? No, it’s not. You enter this cycle and exit it in the same fashion: loving Hilda and her deep appreciation for correct grammar because she is your friend and quirks are what make people unique.
My curiosity has taken me however. Ever since viewing this episode, I have been wondering what mine would be. I’ve asked Lincoln and he’s given good answers except he lives with me so the fact I hardly ever do dishes is not a universal issue with all the people in my life. Though my parents will probably attest it is a national issue and the main cause of world hunger or something dramatic. No one likes to do the dishes, how am I Voldemort for not wanting to? I digress.
Don’t you want to know what yours is? What people say when you leave the room and behind your back? Obviously, it is always out of love and friendship and from the people who know you best. When I’ve brought up my friends’ traits or quirks or other friends have, it’s never cruel. It’s mostly a acknowledgment that we all see, or maybe we didn’t, and it’s just another thing that makes our friend who they are. Occasionally, I suppose, there have been times when a trait is an actual issue. Someone is going through a rough breakup and can’t stop drunk texting their ex. Maybe a dear friend’s condescending nature is getting out of control and has gone from sarcastic and witty to cruel and calculating. Obviously when these are brought up, they should be addressed and I would hope that any of my friends who have noticed these factors about me have come to me. I remember when I was going through my Dark Time, Bethany didn’t know what to do. She called my parents after some scary things were said and expressed her concern and worry. It had gone from annoying to serious. I don’t know what I would have done without her stepping forward and addressing the issue at hand. It was the first moment of clarity when I realized I had done something so off the deep end, my best friend had to call my parents on me. The glass shattered in that moment and was not followed by a laugh track.
I still want to know!!!! I’m just so curious what happens when I leave a party and “I love seeing Rachel BUT…” begins! Do I chew with my mouth open? Do I crack my knuckles loudly? Do I call people the wrong name too often? Do I act like I know everything and never admit I am wrong? What do I do!!!? Sigh. Perhaps it’s best we never know our habits that our friends talk fondly of (hopefully fondly). Then it would be a glass shattering moment and we might struggle to act normal. Like if someone told me I walked funny, I don’t know how I could keep walking normally. I actually thought about once when I was younger. I took notice of how I walked and probably looked like an idiot attempting to swing my arms properly and in a cool fashion. Now that I think about, I don’t think there is a “cool” way to walk.
I love my friends and all their traits. I just wanted to write on it because I found it so fascinating that we all see these things in each other and when we bring them up, it’s almost a universal fact and we get excited and shout “YES” when we realize we have all noticed it. It’s boggling to me how you can maintain an entire conversation about a mutual friend, discussing their quirks and habits, and never once speak of them in a malicious way. I always find that after I’ve discussed someone’s habit/trait, the next time I see them and they do it, I smile and feel the urge to giggle because I realize how thankful I am that they have that piece of them. The glass may shatter and be a little crunchy under your feet as you want to scream “Stop trying to one up me with your problems! Mine are still problems too! NOBODY IS WINNING THE LIFE SUCKS GAME! WE ALL LOSE!” I think we all are guilty of that one. But in the end, it’s just glass. It sweeps up just as easily as the dirt people leave when they don’t take off their shoes when they enter your home (This is not any one specific…or is it?)
I used a lot of parenthesis in this post. (I’m sorry)
BTW the episode of How I Met Your Mother, “Spoiler Alert”, is season 3, episode 8, for your viewing pleasure.