The Selfish Griever

It always seems like we never say the things we need to say
to the people who need to hear it
before it’s too late
and we only realize this bitterly in hindsight.



  1. You looked like Hercules from the cartoon Disney movie. When I told you this, you laughed.
  2. You were 25.
  3. Your laugh was like fireworks, spontaneous and mesmerizing, a show all on its own and it drew people towards you. When we saw The Good Dinosaur in theatres, the hallucinogenic scene had you laugh louder and harder than anyone else in the theatre. I started laughing too because yours was so infectious.
  4. You were at a party.
  5. You may have denied it sometimes, but you were such a people person. Everyone wanted to know you and be your friend because you had such a reputation for being the nicest, most helpful guy they knew.
  6. You were too young.
  7. You were a fierce friend. You were quick to defend, support and help everyone you cared about.
  8. You had graduated seven months before.
  9. You were scared of birds. You especially hated the bird mural that was painted on your bedroom wall last year, but you didn’t know it was there when you rented the room. You really fucking hated birds.
  10. You had a girlfriend.
  11. You loved to dance and sing. I remember going to pub nights with you and having to physically take three steps back because you were twerking so energetically. I also remember you continuously messing up the words to “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore… even though you knew the lyrics were wrong, you sang them proudly and without fear.
  12. You had a family.
  13. You ate my ice cream when I left it at your house for a week. I wasn’t even mad because I knew you’d do it, despite promising not to.
  14. You had aspired to grow old to become, as you put it, a crazy old man.
  15. You were always asking about everyone else. It’s the little things that people remember, and I remember you asking me how I was and how my day was going from back before we were friends. It was so nice.
  16. You were my friend.
  17. You were the best goddamn newsroom leader in the world last year, and I made sure you knew it. You checked in with lower-year students hourly, you always gave amazing suggestions to broaden story pitches, you edited everything so thoroughly… you were everything that anyone could want in a boss.
  18. You were just starting to travel the world.
  19. Moments after making fun of Tyler for falling asleep in my car on the way to Ajax, you fell asleep beside him.
  20. You never gave up.
  21. You were one of the only friends I had last year, at a time when I felt caught between cities and friendships. You never minded when I came over to your house (every single day) because I was bored. You were so understanding.
  22. You were always talking about a future you’d never see.
  23. You made some of the funniest gym noises and faces in the world, but you were completely unfazed by people staring. No one else’s opinion of you mattered, and that’s just how you lived your life.
  24. I hated writing all of this in past tense.
  25. Your age.



It’s hard to think
I’m worth so much more than this
when the patterns men develop around you
weave themselves contrarily.

After the first few boys
you start blaming yourself
for choosing weak men, unworthy men.
You vow to find a partner
equal to and worthy of
your strength.

After the next several relationships
burn out in similar fashion,
you start blaming yourself for everything else.
You vow to find yourself
and spend years searching
for the ghost of a scared 14-year-old girl,
asking her what went wrong.


After you’ve been used as many times as I have
After you’ve heard every excuse
After you’ve stopped hoping for anything from anyone
After you’ve gutted memories from yourself you had forgot you even had
After tearing yourself apart on the thorns of men

you stop blaming yourself
and start building yourself.


You’re not like other girls

Translation: a compliment
masquerading as an insult
to my sisters.

I’m not looking for anything right now

You like
the feel of my legs
long and smooth
beneath yours,
but not enough
to make them
the only pair of legs you’ll
sleep beside.

You’re really beautiful

Translation: you weren’t listening
when I told you last week
that I’d rather be called
so much more
than a person with favourable genetics.

I don’t want you getting attached

Translation: you will leave
and when you do
you would like to be able to tell your conscious
that you warned me,
not for my benefit,
but to make yourself feel better about leaving.

I don’t think we can be together, but you never know

Translation: you’re already
tasting her lips in lieu of mine
but you’re like everyone’s favourite
quarterback: you have got
to keep your options open.

You’re not who I thought you were

Translation: I am so much more
than you bargained for, and you
are terrified to stand in my shadow
as I take on the world
head first.


You Might Be Friendzoned If…

Ahh, the infamous Friendzone. Many have entered, few have escaped. So if you find yourself Ron Weasley-ing away from the person you believe is your true love, my advice is to be honest with Hermione already and either accept the fact that she doesn’t feel the same way or live happily ever after.

If you’re in one of those awkward “I’m friends with a boy/ girl but I want to be more, how do I find out how he/ she feels about me?” relationship, fear not! As someone who has experienced the Friendzone from both ends (i.e. as someone living there myself and as someone forcing a friend-who-wants-more there), I have devised a series of questions you need to ask yourself before taking that final plunge.


You might be Friendzoned: if he/ she is constantly talking about other men/ women. 

It’s 2017, most people have realized by now that the jealousy game usually has terrible outcomes, thanks to ’90s sitcoms. If the object of your affection is repeatedly mentioning how hot so-and-so is or how they think so-and-so should ask them out, it’s probably their way of hinting to you that they’re not interested. Unless that so-and-so happens to be you, of course.

It’s a “technique” I’ve actually used before when I became aware of a friend developing feelings that I wasn’t reciprocating. It’s blunting letting them know you’re interested in other people. Most of the time, the friend you develop feelings for will eventually catch on to your feelings, but he or she will almost always continue to play dumb about knowing, especially if they don’t feel the same way. They instead will try and give you subliminal “hints” to let you down gently, hoping the entire time that the friendship the two of you have developed remains the same.

You might be Friendzoned if: physical contact is never or rarely initiated. 

Personally, this is always a huge one for me because I’m very uncomfortable with physical contact of any kind. If I do touch someone’s hand or something, it’s almost always because I’m attempting to flirt with them.

Noticing body language is a great way to tell if someone is into you. When they sit beside you, is there a large gap between you two? Do your legs touch? When they’re getting your attention do they tap your shoulder? People naturally move toward what they are attracted to, whether they realize it or not. But hey, if you realize they’re doing it, it probably means you have the go ahead!

You might be Friendzoned if: group hangouts are the norm.

If you’re continuously asking your friend to hang out, maybe even suggesting a date-like setting for some one-on-one time, and you find they he or she makes it a group hangout every time, sorry mate. Not a good sign. Alone time can be uncomfortable when there’s unspoken sexual tension, and the possibility of a group can automatically diffuse that tension. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it usually gets the message across.

Signs of flirting, including hinting at dates, will always be rejected no matter how subtly if you’re truly Friendzoned. The person may not say, “No, I don’t want to go out with you” in so many words, but they will find ways around answering you directly when it comes to hanging out alone.

When you should go for it:

It’s not that simple: if someone likes you, they will make it known to you (don’t be that asshole who keep their feelings to themselves permanently, please). If someone is going out of their way to make you happy, whether that means bringing you flowers or driving you to MacDonald’s at 3:00 a.m. because you feel like it, they dig you.

Most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, when in doubt, I always believe you should ask and be blunt. Pussyfooting around the situation won’t help anyone, and will only lead to misinformation and confusion. I remember being 12 years old and facing my first ever crush (a 13-year old boy I balled ball with at recess, not a word of a lie) and asking him if he liked me, yes or no. That’s actually the exact wording I used, I remember because I was absolutely mortified by my friends teasing me about it afterward for the rest of the day. His response was “sure” by the way.

My point is if I could do it at 12 with terrible social skills and awful friends and survive, so can you. The worst they can say is no, and that won’t be the end of the world. The key is to always prepare yourself for that answer and to accept it in stride if/ when it comes. It happens to everyone sometimes and there’s no need to take offence. Not everyone is going to be your soulmate and you just have to accept that.