Titir and Annu have been best friends for as long as I can remember. They have a lot in common. They are both bisexual polyamoric women who are humanities students and fandom nerds. But they do show competitive friend signs.
In other things they are exact opposites. Their friendship has been a rollercoaster ride with ups and downs and twist and turns: but at the end of the day they always end up together. One of the main reasons for conflict has been shared loved interests and here is Titir’s version of their fights.
Don’t get me wrong! I love Annu. But sometimes she is this whiney child. Let me tell you about this girl we met, Rita.
So there was this Harry Potter event Annu and I were supposed to go to together, but Annu was late. There I met Rita. I liked her a lot and we started flirting instantly. When Annu eventually came, I introduced her to Rita. It was evident that even Annu was smitten by Rita. As the event ended we both came back with our heads in the clouds.
A month later Annu calls me saying Rita texted her. Annu said, “You know, Titir, I think she is interested in me.” To that I said, “Maybe but I already slept with her.”
There are no brownie points for guessing how angry Annu was with me. But you see I got a chance and took it: How am I to be blamed for it? You might call it jealousy or you might call me toxic but I loved being above her in the competition.
This is usually how it goes. She is, of course, proud of me for being brave and for being a go-getter, but at the end of the day it gets to her. And these are competitive friend signs right?
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Falling for the same girl
It began with this guy
All this trouble started with a boy, as it usually does. I had a ‘friend with benefits’ understanding with this guy called Aritra. We were not hiding our relationship, but we were not particularly announcing it either. We were not exclusive, so we were dating other people too.
Without my knowledge he started dating Annu and Annu didn’t know about Aritra and me. We all used to hang out together and Annu suspected that there was something between Aritra and me.
So she asked me directly if I had a crush on Aritra. I said, “I don’t have a crush on Aritra but we are hooking up from time to time.” At first she got angry that I didn’t tell her about it, but then she realised that it was Aritra who was double timing us.
Annu confessed that she was falling for him and that they kissed. I said, “Annu, you are my friend and you are more important to me, I’ll cut all connection with Aritra, if that’s what you want.” But Annu felt betrayed.
So we mutually decided to cut all cords with Aritra. I feel she still blames me for it; at least a bit.
But that is it: Annu and I will always choose each other over any girl or boy who tries to come between us. The list has been substantial till the last guy Samrat. How do you know a friend is being competitive in a relationship? I am coming to that.
What do you do if your friend is competitive?
Samrat was this swashbuckling photojournalist who came into our life like a cool midsummer afternoon breeze. I met him at an event through common friends. A few of my friends ventured a spur-of-the-moment food stall where Samrat was the cook.
I went there to support my friends and absolutely fell in love with the food. I remember hugging Samrat at first sight when I found out that he was the one behind the amazing cooking. Annu arrived later that evening and followed the same routine. She didn’t hug Samrat, but was smitten nonetheless.
She said she’s calling dibs on Samrat. Calling dibs? Really? What are we, 12? But I didn’t care then. I didn’t care until Samrat himself sent me a friend request on Facebook.
Soon we became friends on social media and started talking through texts. I fell in love with his work as a professional photographer and we had, what I call, a ‘long distance textual relationship’.
Then he joined my university after 6 months and we had a chance to hang out together too. There he got to meet Annu and became friends with her. About a year later, Annu told me that she is in love with Samrat and Samrat keeps leading her on without actually being close to her.
Now what did I see? Competitive friend signs! She always had to fall for the person I liked? This was jealousy wasn’t it?
I did it by loving Annu. I must tell you yes I was a tad jealous when Annu revealed Samrat’s interest in her. I asked Samrat what’s going on. Samrat assured me that there is nothing like that and he and Annu are just friends.
But every time I looked at him I only saw Annu’s pain. She showed competitive friend signs but I could do nothing else but love her dearly.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke up with him and didn’t tell Annu anything about the relationship with Samrat that lasted for one and a half years. Annu moved on from him too, to my great relief.
I’ve vowed never to let another guy or girl come between us ever again. Even if they do, I’ll always choose Annu over everybody. How do you know if a friend is competitive with you? I know by my instincts that Annu competes with me that’s why she falls for all the people I like. But I love her and now I just have fun making her jealous.
At the end of the day she is there for me and I am there for her.
Stotropama Mukherjee is a PhD research scholar from Jadavpur University in the Department of Film Studies. She is also actively involved in the Queer community of Kolkata where she is situated. A prolific reader and a sporadic writer, Storopama is interested in a vast range of cultural texts.