Fiction · 07/03/2019

The Friendship PIP

TO: Lesley
FROM: Ada
DATE: May 8, 2019
RE: Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

The purpose of this PIP is to identify gaps in your performance as my best friend and provide you an opportunity to demonstrate improvement and commitment.

Concerns:

  • I’ve forgiven you for not telling me that you’re dating my father. Since your engagement last month, I’ve learned to accept that you two are serious. But I am concerned that your relationship with him is more important to you than our friendship. Even on the day you confessed that you were seeing him, you two kept making sweet-eyes at each other instead of paying attention to me. I know I whined like a three-year-old who missed her nap most of that weekend, but you could’ve at least pretended to care. I want our friendship to be like it used to be. I’m trying to be patient, but when will things go back to normal?
  • You talk about Dad all the time, and it’s weird that you expect me to listen. I really don’t want to hear the details of your relationship.
  • It seems like you don’t have time for me anymore. You used to answer right away whenever I called or texted. Last week you sent me to voicemail and didn’t call me back until the next day—even though I sent you fourteen texts in a row. What if it had been an emergency—like if I had a date and needed advice about what to wear? When we finally talked, you were evasive about where you’d been and what you were doing. I called my father as soon as we hung up, and he mentioned that he’d taken you out for your anniversary. Dad and I are close. Did you really think he wouldn’t tell me you were together?

Observations:

  • I’ve tried talking with you about our issues, but you always say I’m being demanding and trying to be the center of attention. That’s not my personality at all! Maybe bringing it up during wedding dress shopping wasn’t the best idea. I probably could’ve waited until after you finished trying on that wedding dress you’ve been drooling over. But I only had one day left in my visit, and we were running out of time to talk. You know how hard it is to get you on the phone.
  • I understand it’s stressful planning a wedding, but you shouldn’t be so sensitive. I planned to apologize about the shopping fiasco during our annual girls’ trip, but you said you couldn’t go. I bet you could afford our trip if you cut the wedding guest list or had a staycation instead of a beach honeymoon. You don’t have to have everything you want. We’ve been talking about a beach trip for years. It’s not fair that I have to wait now. You’d have more fun at the beach with me than with my father anyway.
  • Dad says that he can tell you and I still love each other a lot because we both talk to him about how bad things are between us. Things would be better if you stopped talking to him about it. You don’t need to tell him everything.

Improvement Goals:

  • Be available when I call and text, or respond within thirty minutes.
  • Limit how much you talk to me about my father.
  • Let’s compromise about the wedding. What do you think about eloping? You and Dad could have that special time all to yourselves. It’s okay to be selfish.

Activities: Since you think I’m so demanding, I won’t list any activities here. But I saw an article last week about why a best friend is more important than a boyfriend. Should I text you the link? Also, June 8 is National Best Friends Day. Please plan accordingly (see “Resources”).

Resources: The supports below may improve our relationship. Others may be added at your discretion.

  • Couples counseling (For me and you, NOT you and Dad.)
  • Gifts (especially designer jewelry, clothing, handbags, and shoes)
  • Beach vacation (Again, for me and you. Dad is NOT invited.)

Expectations: The performance standards below will reflect progress.

  • Recognize how your behavior affects me.
  • Anticipate my needs.
  • Actively seek my opinion.
  • Provide feedback without yelling or hanging up on me.

I’ll provide weekly verbal feedback and a monthly update memo on your progress. In ninety days, I’ll determine whether you’ll be served with a Petition for Dissolution of Friendship (aka “divorce papers”).

Please sign, date, and return within twenty-four hours.

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Rosey Lee is a New Orleans native who lives in Atlanta. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Barren Magazine, Bending Genres, Turnpike Magazine, and elsewhere. Her flash fiction chapbook, Beautiful, Complicated Family, will be released in late 2019. Follow her at roseyleebooks.com and @roseyleebooks on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.