I’ve been told to start. 

Complimenting Liz is very difficult because many of the things that I have come to adore about Liz are things that I generally dislike in other people. Quite frankly, I don’t really understand why I don’t dislike those things about Liz, so it is very frustrating to try and articulate. I don’t know how to talk about it without divulging some sort of personal history about meeting Liz and becoming her friend, so I feel like that’s how I should do it. 

The first thing that I noticed about Liz when I met her, which was at work, was the way she walked. She walks with her shoulders rolled back really well and her head held high, and she walks with a purpose. Again, this is something that on face value I tend to distrust in people. I myself walk with a slump, and I am instinctively drawn towards people who walk similarly to me. I found it provocative– the way that Liz walked– in the sense that it was guided by something particular that I didn’t understand. I think that’s what made me start to observe her from afar for a while. That’s also when I noticed how she converses with others, in which she demonstrated yet another personality trait that I am normally not drawn to in any way. She talks with a lot of emoting, and very romantic language and affect. I was surprised to find this was something that made me very drawn to her, insofar as it was something that I desired to partake in. Which is very confusing, again, because it’s not normally something I’m drawn to. This is probably true for everything that I’m going to be able to come up with off the top of my head. My refrigerator just turned on. I hope that noise is not too loud for the camera.

Maybe it would be easier to start first with the things that I like about Liz that are easy to say. I trust Liz very much. I am somebody who, especially at this point in my life, is very wary and has little patience for non-acute and non-direct communication and mediation of conflict. I trust Liz, perhaps even more than I trust myself, to be abrupt and confrontational about things involving our relationship… which can be tiring sometimes, but the tradeoff is that I always feel incredibly comfortable and cared for around her because I don’t feel as though I have to second-guess or analyze the way she acts around me. I’m someone who’s very prone to do that. That’s probably the thing that keeps me hanging out with Liz– not that there aren’t other things. When I find people like her, I tend to latch on pretty hard because I feel like I’m able to develop myself and my relationships in a much more meaningful and complex way when I feel that level of comfort with someone. 

What else is easy? Well she’s very pretty, attractive, hot. She’s a very good kisser, and a very annoying flirt. I think annoying flirtation is my favorite kind of flirtation… annoying in the sense that she’s not subtle in any way about the way that she flirts, and I find that incredibly irritating in an attractive way. Okay, so that was the easy stuff.

This video is a good example of something that I would normally find dubious in others, but yet, for some reason, trust in Liz. It’s part of the reason why I’m actually sitting in front of the camera. I think if someone, or anyone else really, had come to me with the same video prompt, I would have found a way to weasel my way out of it. Gracefully (hopefully), but lying. With Liz, on the other hand, I have this strange combination of accepting the invitation but also being very open about the fact that I was not going to like it. Again, I don’t have a particular word for it, but it must be one of Liz’s most powerful traits. It compelled me to the point that I’m doing this right now. So I don’t really know how she does that. 

It’s very strange how people, like Liz, who are in some ways the most transparent can simultaneously also be the most mysterious. I’m very often wanting to understand more. I think that is a very hard to find, or maybe just rare, trait in people. I often find people who I don’t trust and who I think are generally playing games in the way they interact with people, and almost plan or hyper-perform their sociality, are for that reason incredibly transparent and predictable and boring. The opposite tends to be true for people who, at least in practice, are incredibly up-front. I think that’s how Liz is. She’s somebody who is very open and aggressive about the way she feels. Sometimes even to a fault. For that reason, I am never bored. 

I never feel alone in our interactions. I think that’s something very difficult to find in friendships, and that I am constantly looking for and absolutely find in Liz. In a lot of my friendships, I feel like I am having to constantly shift the way that I’m interacting with them in order to stay abreast with their confusing and/or passive dynamic. I often feel that I’m in a space where I have to make space for other people to be my friend, but I don’t feel that way with Liz at all. I feel very dissolved when I’m with her. 

At least for me, that’s one of, if not the most, likeable trait another person can have, especially a friend. I almost feel confident enough to generalize that that should be the case simply for everybody. You can insert a little soundbite at the end of that sentence that would have been very clever if I said something like, “so I guess what I mean is that everybody needs a friend like Liz.” I imagine when Liz watches this video she will laugh at that particular remark and roll her eyes at the same time. That reaction is something that I feel very tenderly towards her about. I need people who will laugh at me as a person and not at my jokes. My jokes are very bad, but I tend to make jokes because I want my friends to laugh at me as a whole person and Liz does that, which is another reason I feel very comfortable around her.

It’s hard to do this without just making it about me and Liz. Maybe that was the expectation, but I have an impulse to want to try and say something abstract that has to do with Liz absent me, but I’m not really sure I can do that. 

Liz lets me tease her, and I love that about her. I need to tease people to feel warmth from them. I think when you’re at a point with somebody where you’re able to make fun of them more than you are complimenting them, it is a sign of a very important relationship. I’m sure Liz wishes that I complimented her more often. I’m not particularly known for consistency in affirming verbal remarks. Maybe that’s one of the reasons she asked me to do this. I don’t know. For me, that’s what teasing does. Again, Liz is one of those people who I trust that when she is teasing me, she is literally teasing me or even making fun of me. Sometimes when people make fun of me or tease me, I distrust that the purpose was actually to say something intuitive about me. That’s what I think teasing really is– saying something very intuitive about the person that they don’t notice on a regular basis. Most of the time when people tease me, I assume it’s because they wanted to be mean to me or are upset and wanted to mask that aggression in the guise of a tease. Even when Liz is legitimately annoyed with me and making fun of me, it’s still very affirmative.

Returning to the earlier theme of things that Liz does that I normally don’t like in other people but for some strange, confusing reason I like them about her…. I’m trying to start with a tangible example. Liz got me into doing karaoke. Liz is incredibly performative and she really puts on a show when she does karaoke, and perhaps I do too, but we’re not talking about me. I was very surprised to find myself not incredibly annoyed while watching Liz do karaoke. The larger point I was going to make from that is escaping me… I feel like a lot of these compliments have just tended towards the fact that Liz is an incredibly earnest person or, at the very least, Liz has a particular manner of interaction that is incredibly convincing in its earnesty. Earnesty? Honesty? Earnestness? Either she’s done a really good job convincing me, or she is supremely earnest which is something I find very disarming. 

I think normally I am disarmed by people who are incredibly sarcastic and not earnest because maybe that’s how I am. I think when people are actually able to be incredibly earnest it is even more disarming because i’m like, “wow… how did they do that?” That’s a good way to describe how I react to Liz a lot. Thinking like, “wow. How did she do that?” The confusion normally coming from how could she do that in a way that I’m not annoyed with her for doing it like so. That’s a good sentence.