For months, Boris Johnson has loudly warned you about your best friends.
Boris has told you that your best friends of over 40 years (and neighbours) were too intrusive in your personal life, telling you what you can do and what you cannot do -- "Unacceptable!" Boris said. They were too costly, making you pay your share of the bill when you would go out -- "Outrageous!" There were also too many of them paying you a visit at a time -- "How disrespectful!" Your best friends were too friendly to some other bunches of friends they had -- "Disloyal!" They were too easily generous, giving some spare change to homeless people in the street from time to time -- "Disgusting! They will invite them home next!" Finally, Boris made it clear that they were too many of them and that, anyway, they were too different from you -- "Really! They are not as 'great' as you are, believe me!" And "Anyway, there are plenty of other friends you can make out there!"
You ended up believing a very convincing Boris, because what he said did sound like an awful lot of things you may actually not be too happy about after all.
So, on Boris' advice, you finally found the strength to tell everyone that you were going to change the way your relationship with them work. Let's be honest: They were quite shocked at first. They knew that you had issues with a few things, like when you started to pay your restaurant bills in cash whilst most of them started using a debit card, or when you insisted on visits to your flat to being limited to 4 hours only... But they all thought it was nothing but a bit of extravagance from you and did not make a fuss of the way you insisted on being a bit different from them all.
The way you announced that you wanted to reconsider your relationship with the group of friends, however, made some of them angry, others sad and disappointed. But they all respected your choice. It was your choice. You made it clear that it was what you wanted after all.
Five years on, you now absolutely regret your choice.
Since that long discussion with your friends on how you would deal with things differently from now on, you have been going to the same Italian restaurant for lunch with them every day for the past five years.
It is the same story every day: As you arrive at the restaurant, they ask you to wait outside. In the meantime, they take their time to look at the menu. They choose your food for you: You have absolutely no say on whether you will eat pasta or pizza, what the toppings are, if any. When they eventually ask you to come in, they show you where to sit in the restaurant, which is not far from their table of course, but still isolated. Your friends then tell you what your meal will be, whether you get cutlery, glasses or even a chair.
Because you made it clear, five years ago, that you weren't going to follow their group's rules anymore, you have lost every right you had to do or say anything about the meal and you still get to pay the bill they want at the end of your meal. Well, not everything is lost: You still get to pay your meal with your favourite method of payment! (sic)
One could argue that you could try to make new friends. You could also go to another restaurant. However, putting a 40-year old friendship behind isn't easy. It would involve a lot more than just sitting at an isolated table. As for going to another restaurant, it could take long for you to find a really good one with good food and good prices, when this one is rated 'Outstanding'!
What about Boris? What happened to him? He decided five years ago that he was not good enough to be your friend and just ran away. We never heard of him since, although some say they spotted him somewhere in America where he was apparently trying to convince someone they should not eat with their Canadian and Mexican friends.
To be continued... (NOT!)