One time, back when Free Refills as you see it now was just a glimmer in my eye, I shared a short story I’d written with a let’s call her “new friend.” This was years before there was a pile of writing that I could share with an Agnes. I didn’t even yet really understood about the very existence of Agneses. But the flavor of an Agnes was there. She was like, “Oh, you’re a writer? Can I read something you’ve written?”
I had finished the short story in question not long before. It was at the time the most ambitious thing I’d ever written, and I was quite proud of it.
Not only did this proto-Agnes not tell me what she thought of the story, she stopped communicating with me altogether. I ran into her at a party a couple of months later, and she told me she hated the story so much, she chose to stop talking with me over it.
A few days later, I shared what she said in an email to my friend Shane. He gave the equivalent of a shrug and said, “I liked that story.” That right there? That’s a true friend. Not because he agreed with my assessment that it was a piece of writing that I could be proud of, but because of the shrug. Like: That’s her shit, not yours.