Friends are Like STDs (Except Better)

The first time I heard the platitude about friends being in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, I just about gagged. It’s like a Hallmark expression left out of the fridge overnight. So, I’d like to offer a new point of view: Friends are like Chlamydia, Syphillis, Herpes, or Hepatitis C.

Friends who are like Chlamydia are in your life for “a reason”. You can recall exactly the moment you came in contact with them, and the choices you made to make it a somewhat lasting relationship. You’re sure to learn something, go somewhere new, and perhaps most importantly, know much more clearly what you do and don’t want in an STD – er, I mean a friend. You may or may not be glad you met, but one thing’s certain: you’ve learned something. And then they depart, (perhaps) never to be seen again.

Friends who are like Syphilis, are in your life for “a season”. They commonly hang with Chlamydia friends, and are often hard to tell apart. These guys sneak up on you to begin with, and get you a little more entrenched than you might have expected. In the earliest stages, you might not even know they’re friends. You might think they’re just acquaintances, until they progress, and you reach the advanced stages when their presence in your life is immediately apparent. Then it’s clear that you’ve got a real friend. You could even have this friend until death parts you, but that doesn’t happen much anymore.

Cyclical Reneé

Then there are the cyclical friends who are like Herpes. They crop up every once in a while, for a few days or years, especially if you haven’t taken your Valtrex. Their departures may be punctuated with the drama of a bungee cord snapping, or the peace of an ebb tide. Either way you almost never hear from them in between cycles, until the next, inevitable time that comes as sure as the sunrise, when you laugh at how long it’s been and the stupid reason you fell out of touch. I’ve recently been dealing with a friend who definitely has the drip of Chlamydia, and randomly happened to visit the blog of a newly-recurred, and appropriately red-headed, Herpes friend. Even before I read her post where she states that “Life’s too short for bitchy (a.k.a. chlamydia) friends,” I was already glad she’s back in my life. I haven’t seen her for years, but just reading her blog I love her all over again already. Besides, the serendipity and parallelism of our experiences is too pronounced to ignore.

Lastly, there are the Hepatitis C friends – ‘Hep‘ for short. There’s no vaccine for Hep friends. They’re irresistible. There’s no getting rid of them, but with some management you can have a peaceful experience with them for life. Hep friends may come and go from your consciousness, and unlike Hep friends, you may even forget you even have them, but they’re never any further than your phone, and when they answer, miles and years disappear into the ether, and it’s like your very first day together. These are the friends you know will be by your side for the duration. Hang on to your Hep friends, for they are the salt of the earth.

Friends have come and gone from my life, and I think the best ones have stayed or at least returned. For better AND worse, I’m glad to have had the experiences, for it makes my life rich and colorful. Many thanks to the ones who’ve come and gone. It was an experience. Welcome back to those returned, and highest regards and deepest thanks to those to whom I am helplessly, hopelessly incurable. You know who you are.

8 Responses to “Friends are Like STDs (Except Better)”

  1. Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Fortunately or unfortunately, most of my friends have been “cancer” friends; when they are finally gone, you feel healthier and expect to live longer because of their non-return. Any friends that I have for more than 5 years, (and their are 7…tops) are Heppers. I am grateful for them. I have 4 friends of less than 5 years and I have not figured out which catagory into which they fall; that takes 5 years. Now, ex-husbands? That’s a blog for MY site and for another day.
    Sam is not a friend; he’s my son.

  2. Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 5:11 am

    I love this post… dead on… I have to say, I agree with your mom on the “cancer” friend… I have one of them (possibly more)… when they move out of your life it is like you have been cured… but then something happens that scares you, than makes you think the ‘cancer’ is back… but in reality, it is just a scare and it will not be back (and if it does come back it will be buried in the new backyard under some wonderful landscapiing)…smooches from the east coast…

  3. 3 Pants
    Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Ya know I always think of you during national holidays!

    I am grateful you are still a part of my life.

    See you in church – Pants!

  4. Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    I wanna see that on a hallmark card!

  5. Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:40 am

    …and now you’ll always be the friend who gave me Hep 🙂

    God I love you.


  6. Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Hey, I loved this post, it’s definately dead on and poetic in it’s own way.

  7. Friday, August 22, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I love your story! I believe my “friend” was a mambo combo of diseases! Read on…..stoiccupcake@wordpress.com

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