Not friends, Phoebe
Daily life poems

Parasocial BFF- Wait, Phoebe Buffay’s not my friend?

Confession Time: I have a one-sided friendship with Phoebe Buffay. Is she your friend too?

Walking home from a coffee store. I can’t help but rehash the wildest conversation.

Within 3 minutes of meeting a tall, lanky, blonde woman, I learned she was once homeless. 

Her mom killed herself by sticking her head in an oven.

Handwritten, a 180-second song of all her deep dark secrets.

Except, they weren’t dark at all. Or secrets for that matter.

Part of simple, idle, daily chat. That is Phoebe Buffay for you.

The uncanny ability to mention life traumas while making you laugh. 

No filter, Phoebe, filtering out the fake social norms and room etiquette.

We need more Phoebe’s in this world. 

So much, so that I think of her every time I try to fill an awkward silence. 

And when I see a cat. Especially, a smelly one.

In the middle of a conversation, with a living breathing human – I mention her.

Oh, that’s just Phoebe, people laugh back. 

Arguments between a group of girls picking who is the Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe of the group.

Notice, how nobody wants to be a Ross.

Don’t be a Ross.

That’s when I realized- I’m not the only one who thinks of them as my friends too.

They have transcended our hearts and reached us here, in the real world. 

Competing with other humans who will never match up. 

Because again, nobody can be so casual about their pain, like Phoebe Buffay.

Friends cup

Trying to break into the Friends cast

Like an awkward try-hard friend in the group, that is trying the most to fit in. But never quite makes it.

An elite seating arrangement on an orange couch. You can even visit the coffee store. Sit on the same orange couch.

But it is not the same. You, me, your grandma- we will always be outcasts.

There isn’t quite enough room for one more. Not even a tiny, short person, like me.

Friends couch
Not a friend.

It is not for a lack of trying.

At every coffee shop I sit in, I imagine the coffee manager, being as funny as Gunther. Having a crush on Rachel.

At every Ralph Lauren store, I go to, I remember Rachel used to work there. Maybe, wearing a polo sweater will make me feel like her.

Every time I use a big fancy word, I stop and chastise myself. Thinking, you don’t want to be Ross.

Again, every time I go to hide my food from the monstrous fry-snatchers, I giggle and think, Joey would understand.

And when I see someone cleaning profusely, and putting all the cereal in a separate container.

Sealed with a Tupperware lid- I think, I wish I was a little more like Monica.

Today, I wonder how Chandler would deal with COVID. I feel like he would have a calming effect on the people around him, especially Monica.

Parasocial interactions:

Parasocial relationships are one-sided, where one person extends emotional energy, interest, and time. Whereas, the other party, is completely unaware of the other’s existence.

These interactions are most common with celebrities, organizations (such as sports teams), or television stars.

Find a psychologist.org
One sided friend

Time to say goodbye to Fri/ends– and parasocial interactions

Truthfully, they are not my friends. It starts to get freaky when your real friends can’t compete with your TV show friends.

Parasocial interactions trick you into thinking they are real.

At the time, when you need them, I’d argue it is helpful.

Streaming a tv show on Netflix, automatically playing the next episode. Each episode makes me feel closer to knowing the characters.

But, even Joey and Rachel are not best friends in real life.

They can’t compete with the tv show, greater than life, alternative versions of them either.

Hence, I guess I have to say goodbye to talking to them like they are real. However, I will never stop watching. Because that is my escape from hate.

Netflix

My goodbye letter to a fake friend.

On an orange couch, you laughed every day. Passing by with a cup of coffee. Always ready to be goofy.

How I wished to be a fly on the wall. At times, I hear your laugh.

When I am random, I think, that is so something Phoebe would say. That is weird, I agree.

Please make me laugh before you go. I hope you know you’re my favorite Friend’s character.

Strange disbelief. How could it be? You were just here yesterday.

How are you gone today? 

It’s ok to forget bits and pieces. I’ll load season 3 again while you’re gone.

Funny of me to plan. When you are not real.

Conclusion… Why is it so hard, to hang up?

You say bye first, no you say bye. It’s so hard. When you *really really* like something.

Growing up, I watched them on TV via the NBC channel. I watched it in English and French.

During French class, the teacher would play their voice in a different, dubbed accent.

Bye Friend
Bye Friend

For some reason, it just made it funnier in French. I loved it in both languages.

Friends existed during each stage of my life. Only finishing the show when I reached the senior year in high school. So many seasons.

I miss when seasons were long and felt everlasting.

Again, in university, I found myself on the OSN comedy channel. Lost in the nostalgia.

I never could quite switch the channel, even when I watched the episode numerous times.

Continuing this watching tradition through streaming. Specifically, choosing Friends when their thumbnail image pops up on Netflix. Somehow, I just can’t resist.

Consequently, it isn’t goodbye. Since I will still watch the episodes again. And smile when I think of any of the Friends characters.

Even you, Ross. But this is the last time I will talk about you like you are real.

You are not real. Although I feel you raised me and taught me all my life lessons. Those were your lessons, not mine.

That’s ok. You still make me smile.

Who will you miss most?

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