Don’t Let Your Friends Decide Who Your Friends Are

by on October 21, 2021 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Edwin Decker

Dear Ed,

One of my acquaintances is a devoted Trump supporter. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that but some of my other friends are appalled by our relationship. They say that my friendship with him is a problem for them and that I should terminate if I want to continue being friends with them. I honestly don’t want to do that, but I am much closer to them and I frankly value their friendship more. Any suggestions?


Sashona of Point Loma

Dear Sashona, when I was in 9th grade I befriended a kid who I will call Georgy Von Doofydork, so named because he brought nerdiness to levels previously unseen in the natural world. I’ve always been a bit of a dork myself, but Georgy was on another level.

For example, he was in high school band. And no, not as a trumpeter or flautist or even the big bass drum mallet guy. Nope, Georgy played the clarinet – an instrument that would suck the coolness from the soul of Lou Reed were his lips to even consider blowing into one. He carried it everywhere.

He was also just weird. He said weird things, had a weird walk, soft lisp, effeminate voice and an unnerving devotion to the group Air Supply, all of which made me (a nerd-adjacent kind-of fellow) love the crap out of him.

Georgy used to come up with all these wonderfully bizarre and dweeby things for us to do together. It was his idea that we go out onto the baseball field and catch butterflies. It’s true, while the cool kids were smoking cigarettes in the smoking lounge (yes, back then, we had an outdoor smoking lounge for students) Georgy and I would run onto the pitch and chase these majestic, winged monarchs like idiots. The few times we did catch a butterfly, we held ceremonies in their honor, with us kneeling and praying and saying goofy things like, “All hail the lepidoptera-God,” in plain view of the cool kids in the smoking lounge.

To us, this was a wildly good time. It didn’t occur to me that people would talk. And talk they did. I know this because being nerd-adjacent, I had friends who were cool-adjacent. One of these friends was a kid I’ll call Davey Wakeybake, due to our shared fondness of getting high whenever possible.

Being nerd-adjacent to his cool-adjacent, we were permitted to be friends. What was NOT permitted, however, was a cool-adjacent person being friends with a nerd-adjacent person who was friends with a full-blown dweeb. One day – a day that lives in my brain like a tumor of shame – Dave addressed the issue.

It was during gym class. Georgy and I were on the bleachers waiting our turn to climb the dreaded rope. I’m not sure if they even still have that anymore but it was basically a thick, marine-grade rope secured to the rafters on which you had to pull yourself up to the top. For goobers like Georgy and me, it was a nightmarish endeavor as our inability to even get off the ground was hilariously observed by the entire gym class.

When it was Georgy’s turn, he stood up slowly, mortified, and began walking toward the rope like it was a noose. It was then that Dave, who had been sitting behind us, got up and sat next to me.  We were watching as George tried to pull himself up with his feeble, scrawny arms when Dave said, “You can’t hang out with him anymore. Not if you still want us to be friends.”

He went on to say that hanging out with Georgy was social suicide for both of us and, being a slave to acceptance, I made the decision to end the friendship. The next day, after the closing bell rang and everyone headed for the buses, I told Georgy we couldn’t be pals anymore.

“But why?” he asked.

Coward that I was, I didn’t have the balls to talk truth. I just mumbled some gobbledy-gook about how we had drifted apart and— ridden with guilt – stepped onto my bus, found a seat, and looked out the window as he stood dumbfounded.

A few months later, after realizing that I missed the Hell out of him, I tried to rekindle. But, it was too late. Dorkish as he was, he maintained his self-respect and told me to pound ground. It was my turn to be devastated and I swore then that I would never let another person tell me who I am allowed to be friends with.

The point being, Sashona, to Hell with anybody that would hold your friendship ransom like that. If a friend won’t be your friend because of another friend you happen to be friendly with, then it is probably their friendship you need to unfriend.

Edwin Decker (of Ocean Beach) is not a licensed therapist or psychologist. In fact, his only qualification is the 25-plus years as a bartender listening to the liver-aching of desperados and dipsomaniacs. Heed his advice at your peril.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris October 21, 2021 at 1:43 pm

I’m no fan of friends telling friends who their other friends should be, but this is an interesting dilemma. Maintaining a friendship with an Air Supply Loving clarinet playing nerd and the lack of cool that goes with it is one thing, but I can understand how supporting a truly repulsive and horrible human being is can be an issue for this women’s other friends. We’re not talking about someone who prefers the Dodgers over the Padres or likes Nickelback over Sonic Youth. I have a couple friends who support Trump but it’s becoming harder and harder to keep that friendship going and we’ve drifting apart. I’ve always had friends with different political views but Trump and the aftermath of his presidency is something entirely different.


edwin decker October 27, 2021 at 9:52 am

Yah, but Chris, there’s an important distinction here. In her letter, Sashona stated that she had no problem with the Trump friend. It was her friends that had the problem.

That is not true in your case. The reason you are drifting from your Trump fans is because YOU have a problem with them, not somebody else.


Frank Gormlie October 21, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Ed has a great story here and has a lesson learned kind of charm. Yet, imagine if you were in a Munich beerhall, say around 1928, and you’re drinking with a Bavarian buddy who is a good skier and just loves that guy Adolf. Your Jewish friends question your friendship with your drinking buddy, and you respond, “Don’t let your friends decide your friends.” Years later, you somehow survive the depression and the war and you’re back in the same beerhall – but then you learn the entire nearby Jewish neighborhood has been wiped out and your Jewish friends were among the 6 million starved and burnt to death.

There’s just something different these days. Trump is more like Mussolini and Adolph than your typical loud-mouthed Republican friend.


Chris October 21, 2021 at 5:21 pm

Interestingly enough, I know quite a few conservative leaning Jews who are quite the Trump fans.


marc johnson October 21, 2021 at 8:27 pm

Just tell everyone that you’re a Biden fan at

the kool-aid party.


Kathleen Blavatt October 22, 2021 at 7:19 am

I feel like I am in a time warp from 2005 when the city was cutting down some of the same palm trees. Sneakily, they did it on a holiday weekend. The press came as Cynthia Conger, Chair of the Peninsula Planning Board and Richard Agee came out and gave a press conference as I took photos. Council District 2 Zuccchet called off the tree cutting.
Another incident took place at Mrs. Fenton house near PLHS. A man said he was from the FAA, and told her she would have to cut down her eucalyptus trees. We found out the man who approached her was really from the Port District! The neighbors showed up and stopped it, but later Mrs. Fenton was forced to cut down her trees. She was very stressed by the ordeal.
All the tall star pines at the top of the hill were also taken out.
PLHS, also had to lower their flagpole 15 ft.
Wouldn’t you think if the planes fly that low, they should NOT be flying there!
Now, Point Loma High School’s new buildings are higher than the flagpole, and the trees that were taken out! How safe are those schoolkids?
For a city that wants to build high and dense, why are they worried about the trees?


Frank Gormlie October 22, 2021 at 8:25 am

Kathy B meant this as a comment to one of the posts on the palm trees.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman October 22, 2021 at 11:41 am

Ed Decker was a jerk to cut his school friend — not everybody succumbs to social hideousness when they are teenagers. But we believe in redemption, so atonement is possible by being a good role model as a patient and tolerant barkeep and funny-columnist now.
As for the imperious, lying, tree-cutting City and airport employees, how dare they? We need to hear from the Resister Sisters on this one. Trees in the flight path? High school kids in the flight path? Maybe they need to change the flight path asap.


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