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Sometimes You Have To Cut The Line

, , , | Friendly | October 7, 2020

I’m not a picky eater but I really dislike fish. I can barely stand the smell of cooked fish, but if I accidentally have a bite of fish, the taste makes me gag.

I make a friend, and there is a huge age gap between us. Still, we have a lot in common and share many interests. At first, we really get along quite well, but the older she gets, the more narrow-minded she becomes, and while personality changes are to be expected if befriending someone who is still in their teens, I am quite surprised how drastically she changes.

Strangely, it is my dislike for fish that makes me realize how toxic her behaviour has become.

The first incident happens when we decide to go out on a double date with our boyfriends. We decided on an Asian place my friend favours which serves an amazing buffet.

When I start tasting several entrees, my friend hands over one small fried spring roll to me, and since I love spring rolls, I go for it.

It’s filled with fish. As always, I gag from the taste and try to get rid of it as discreetly as possible, pretty happy they were so small that I only had a tiny bite that could be disposed easily into my napkin. But the taste is so intensive it lingers in my mouth and I really don’t have much appetite after that.

Me: “Did you know this had fish in it?”

Friend: “Of course! It’s delicious!”

Me: “Don’t you remember that I really dislike fish?”

Friend: “Yes, you said that. But that’s just silly. It’s delicious.”

Me: “Well, it isn’t for me. You really should respect my preferences.”

Friend: *Snorts* “Why? You don’t prefer mine, either! I love fish.”

Me: “Well, you can eat it all you want but I don’t like it. Please don’t do something like this again.”

Friend: “It’s just silly not to like fish. Grow up! Don’t be such a picky baby.”

My Boyfriend: “You do realize she’s much older than you? Just leave her alone.”

She glares at me but keeps quiet after that. I have completely lost my appetite and am just picking on my plate. I leave out the main dishes since I’m no longer hungry, which cues her to nag at me how I’m wasting money since I have to pay full price and how I shouldn’t sulk and so on.

She keeps harping on me just because I can’t stand the taste of fish until her boyfriend finally tells her to let it go.

It is quite an unpleasant evening. But a few days later, she calls me and apologizes. It sounds sincere and we decide to go out once more to make up. She invites me to a restaurant of my choosing to make up for her behaviour.

I agree and look forward to it since we’ve had quite a long friendship going which I really enjoyed so far.

At my favourite restaurant, my friend takes a baked potato with salad and yoghurt but I go for their pasta chicken alfredo since it is my favourite and I never order anything else when I go there. All their food is pretty good, which I know since when I go out with friends we often try each other’s foods, but I’ve never ordered anything else.

Our food comes, and guess what? My dish is wrong. It is the salmon pasta, of all things. I address the waiter immediately when he sets it down.

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s the wrong dish. I ordered chicken alfredo.”

Waiter: “Oh, I am sorry about the mixup. Would you like this one, though? It’s more expensive and we would comp it for you. We would have to throw it out otherwise.”

Me: “I’m really sorry. If it was something else, I’d just eat it, but I absolutely despise fish of all kinds. Please get me what I ordered.”

Before the waiter can do or say anything, my friend chimes in.

Friend: “Oh, again? It’s just cooked salmon! It doesn’t even taste that much like fish! Just eat it already! You are so inconsiderate of others.”

Me: “Well, I don’t like it. You know that pretty well. You can have it if you like and I can eat your potato if you don’t want it to go to waste.”

Friend: “No, it has cream, and the noodles have too many carbs. I don’t want to get fat.”

The waiter and I both stare at her, speechless. Then, he looks at me before I can come to my senses.

Waiter: “Of course you don’t have to eat anything you don’t like. It was our mixup and I’ll have your correct order out right away.”

True to his word, the right pasta arrived in record time. It was as delicious as always but the mood was tainted. The sporadic conversation was spiked with side jabs from my friend about how I should not have so many whims and quirks. She also informed me that she wanted to tell me she “outgrew” our common interest which brought us together in the first place, and now she expected me to help her explore more “mature” forms of entertainment.

When we were done, her facial expression got really sour when she saw that the waiter had not just comped the wrong dish but didn’t charge anything I ate or drank. She didn’t tip, and she looked seriously pissed when I took out my wallet and gave him a generous tip myself.

After a few days, I saw her calling again. This time, my boyfriend answered the phone and pretended I was not available since he knew I didn’t want to talk to her just yet. He told me she wanted to apologize again.

I thought about the incidents and pondered how to deal with it. I remembered how we met and our several years of friendship.

But when we met, she was a friendly, open-minded person who had her own quirks and whims which were quite charming. We weren’t always on the same page, but we respected each other and met for our shared interests without commenting on each other’s likes we didn’t share.

I really am a live and let live kind of person, but now she had turned into a double-standard witch who thought she could just dictate my preferences and what I should do with my time, unwilling to back me up on any level.

Finally, I decided I was neither willing to discuss my personal food preferences nor give up my hobbies just because somebody had decided they were childish, and I decided that I would not let anyone talk down to me the way she had done twice.

While thinking back about the month prior to those incidents, I realized the change wasn’t as sudden as I’d thought at first. There were many little occasions when she hinted that she didn’t like our joined activities as much as she’d used to, and there were already little jabs and nags in my direction as well as some questionable comments about some of my habits I had just ignored so far.

Also, all the last meetings and activities we had were planned by her and she’d blocked any requests or suddenly remembered important former commitments whenever we had agreed to do something I liked to do, just to immediately suggest another time with something she’d rather do. It had been a long time since we’d done the stuff we both used to like and somehow I’d just tagged along to keep her company while we did what she preferred.

I also realized that nowadays our talks were reduced to me listening to her sorrows and being cut off when trying to talk about mine every single time, with her either trivializing my problems or claiming to be too distressed by her own problems to be able to deal with mine.

Finally, I just blocked her number. I have never again heard from her or seen her since.

I still miss the woman she once was, but I also realize how much I’d bend myself to accommodate her.

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