What Taylor and Olivia's Rumored Feud Has Taught Me About Friendship
And You'll Never Guess Who's The Vampire...
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As many of you know, I’m a big Taylor Swift fan. What you might not know is I also love Olivia Rodrigo.
I don’t know what exactly happened between the two of them and I probably never will and that’s fine. Some things should stay private.
I just got back from a long run, which is where I always do my best thinking, and Olivia Rodrigo‘s new song Vampire was playing in my earbuds. Rumor has it this song is about Taylor Swift and how she two-faced her.
Again it’s just a rumor I have no idea if it’s the truth and I don’t much care — that’s not my point.
But her song got me to thinking about false friendship. Or one-sided friendship. Or yes, vampire friends who only come out when they need you. Or two-faced people who say one thing to your face and then another behind your back.
I’ve had a few vampire friends in my life. I’ve been a vampire friend to others (more on this soon). I’ve written about energy vampires in the past, so I’m going to steer clear of that topic and talk about something else I find myself doing that drives me crazy.
As a recovering people pleaser, I think something that I still struggle with is my need for people to like me. Sometimes I will meet somebody and I will determine in my head that they are a future best friend, so I pursue them. God that sounds creepy but I promise you it’s not. It’s a soft launch of friendly flirtation. I reach out, empathize… I try to passive aggressively show them all the ways we are alike. I try to subconsciously make them feel like they need me in their lives.
It might be well intentioned, but let’s be completely honest, it’s completely layered in self-serving desire to be part of their life, their beautiful story I have fantasized in my head is only missing me. And it truly is a form of manipulation in the same way I have learned people pleasing is a form of manipulation.
Let’s just be honest. When I do this, I’m like a vampire. I try to control people by showing them who I think they need me to be. I sick my teeth into them and try to use them to fill a void in me. And I cover it like a cake with “I’m what you need” frosting.
I think sometimes I get confused because I hear friendship takes work. So I fool myself into believing all these efforts are simply me doing “the work.” The problem is it often is one-sided. My affinity towards someone may not be mutual.
So what do I do then? I lean in harder. I’m angry now. Why don’t they need me? Don’t they realize we would be perfect for each other? I start becoming more desperate. Pushing boundaries. Giving gifts. Fawning.
I see myself doing this. In fact, I see it right now in front of me like one of those magnetized mirrors we use to tweeze a chin hair or pop blackheads.
And it infuriates me. I hate that I do this. I hate that I question my own wholeness as a person to think I need people in my life who genuinely don’t want me in theirs. I hate that I see someone else’s picture grid and think to myself “do you know what’s missing? Me.”
It’s so eye-buggingly vain and gross. Fawning at its finest. And I can’t believe I’m even admitting this out loud because it might just be one of the ugliest parts of my soul laid bare for your eyes to feast on.
But here’s what Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo have taught me about friendship. It’s complex and situational. It’s 1,000 shades of gray and three sides to every story. It can feel like shifting power dynamics, push and pull, ebb and flow. Sour and gorgeous.
Do you know the funny part of all this? I have some really great friends. If I put as much energy into the friendships I do have over the pretend friends I try to sink my teeth into like a vampire? They would grow even deeper and feel even more rich. I might even achieve the relationship goals I’ve storyboarded in my head with the wrong people this whole time.
All this to say, I see it all so clearly now. And I want to get better. I want to be better. I want to show up for the people who want me in their lives and stop wasting energy trying to convince others I’m worthy of being in theirs. I want friendship in the same way I liked my wine once — full-bodied with flowery notes. Layered and complex, but goes down smooth.
Friendship is complicated. It’s really hard. I thought it would get easier as I got older but it doesn’t. But aging has gifted me with the wisdom of self-reflection, like a body scan of my true intentions. And a knack for holding up a flashlight over my darker parts, acknowledging them and giving them grace, but learning how to let them go.
It’s me, Taylor and Olivia. I’m not only the problem, I’m sometimes the vampire too. And I’m ready to leave my vampire era for something entirely new. And I don’t know what it looks like yet; we rarely do when we take that leap. But I’ll know by the time I land. And I’m stronger, wiser, and experienced enough to know I’m going to land on my feet.
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