Unfortunately, Dane Cook might have said it best: “there is one person in every group of friends, that nobody fucking likes. You basically keep them there to hate their guts. When that person is not around the rest of your little base camp, your hobby is cutting that person down.” Dane called these leeches the “Karens.” It’s Always Sunny has called them “snails.” And thanks to the great mind of Rob McElhenney and the mediocre-blah mind of Dane Cook, we too call them Karens and Snails, and other names not fit to print. We talk about them a lot, and we bet you do too.Welcome to shit-talkers anonymous. We’ve been told that the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem, so here goes: Our names are R and R, and we are massive shit talkers. As soon as a snail leaves the room, we’ll probably talk shit about it. And if it won’t leave the room, we’ll just text shit about it, probably shit about how it won’t fucking leave the room — so we can talk more shit. R: We’re in a bad way. Like online shopping, blow, booze, sushi, froyo, poop jokes, diet coke and lollipops (things we have no knowledge of), shit talking is an addiction.R: A free one though …We swear it all started innocently. You never think the occasional spoken grievance will become such a downward spiral of hate, but then you emerge from a six-hour shit binge … [R: You really couldn’t have added “-talking?”] … With no idea where you are or where you’ve been or what you should’ve been doing, and it’s frightening. Your hands might even shake a little. Then it starts to happen all the time and you feel like a douche — all the time. And we like to try to be good (ish) people, and follow the golden rule and all.R: What’s that?So you try to stop, you try to think of other topics of conversation, and nothing satisfies the craving. Then when you least suspect it, when you’re two hours sober, Karen, FUCKING Karen, bursts onto the scene and says something so snail-y and ridiculous that all your hard work goes to hell, and you begin to think that if she doesn’t leave the room that very moment the shit you’ve been keeping inside will explode EVERYWHERE. And shit smells and is really hard to get out (of the couch). R: When in doubt, resort to poop. If this sounds like you, don’t fret, because we can say with almost certain accuracy that you’re not alone! In fact, in a cross-sectional study of four people, four out of four had experienced the same phenomenon. And we can’t all be going to hell! Right?Truth be told, it really is better to shit talk than to be openly mean to someone’s face, especially when that person considers you to be a close friend (and even more especially if they’re a generally harmless person). If you’ve gotta snail you can’t shake off, shit talking, like therapy, is an appropriate outlet for your frustrations. Because, by definition, a snail is someone who makes you feel perpetually uncomfortable, and more importantly, you won’t be able to talk to them about it. This is the fundamental quality of a snail: They either won’t understand, or will take it with such offense that even the best meaning advice will fall on deaf ears.And at the end of the day, you have to wonder how this snail-y individual came into your life. In all likelihood you bear some of the responsibility. At some point you let this person in, and at many points after you chose to let things slide. You ignored it the first time she/he forced conversation on you when your headphones were in. You bit your tongue while she/he went on and on about her/his relationship-drama-of-the-week even though you had a huge prelim the next day. And worst of all, you turned a blind eye when she/he got shitfaced and told everyone you’ve ever met that you guys are the three best friends that anybody could have. Because at that point you knew how they felt, and rather than be mean or cause a scene, you let it happen.R: Nice rhyme!In all likelihood, it spiraled out of control from there until one day you walked into their room and saw baby pictures of yourself hanging on their wall. And still, in fear of hurting feelings, you said nothing. But you started to shit talk. And now you can’t stop.For a lot of us, the friendship train has left the station. R: The good ship snail!R: Absolutely not!And those of us have to accept the fact that we’ve assumed the responsibility of being friends to the Karens. We’re not life ruiners (although we are super-awesome!). But for those of you whose friendships have just begun, try to be honest with yourselves and with each other. The person who might be a lot of fun to go out with every night might not seem so awesome in the light of day, so beware of moving too fast. Don’t sanctify a friendship too soon because it takes time to really know someone, and keep in mind that people are not going to be up front about being nut jobs.To the second-semester freshman: This is a great time to weed out friendships that aren’t working for you! Trust us, it’s better to walk away now and suffer a little awkwardness than suffer at the hand of the snail FOREVER. You’re doing yourself and them a disservice. So walk softly, but carry a big saltshaker. Nobody wants to salt the snail. It won’t make you feel great. But all the shit-talking will make you feel worse.
Original Author: Rachel Gevirtz