My Esteemed Dr. Boli: I write you this message with a glimmer of hope after reading your response about the intellect of Pekinese dogs.

I have an imaginary friend who is completely antisocial. This friend refuses to say anything to me. This situation is just full of unknowns. This friend doesn’t seem to have a name; I don’t know if he’s a she or if she’s a he; or their favorite ice cream flavor. I bought a book of icebreaker activities with imaginary friends but have had no success. Do you have any suggestions? I’m so frustrated! It’s like we’re complete strangers.

Please help. —Sincerely, Slappy.

Dear Sir: You seem to have been diligent in your attempts to attract your imaginary friend’s attention, yet without the desired results; so it is time to ask yourself a serious question. Are you absolutely certain that you are not the imaginary one? It would explain much in your friend’s behavior. Imagine an ordinary citizen in the ordinary suburbs somewhere trying to live an ordinary life, desperately hoping to be accepted by his peers as a normal human being in spite of his hallucinations. Your “icebreakers” may in fact be causing the poor fellow to freeze over all the more. The last thing he wants is for his neighbors to suspect that, even while he seems to be going about his ordinary suburban business of mowing the lawn and washing the car, he sees an imaginary man whom no one else can see standing beside him saying, “Hey! What about pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey? Wanna play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey?”

If this is the case, perhaps your best course would be to ease off on your attempts to make contact and simply accept your friend’s natural reluctance to acknowledge your existence. It will take time, but you can prove to him that you can exist in his imagination without interfering in his real life. There are, after all, worse things friends can do than to sit in companionable silence on a warm summer evening, listening to the cicadas sing their summer song in the maple trees.


  1. Clay Potts says:

    Dear Mr. Slappy,

    You may consider joining Facebook – there you will find many imaginary friends all too willing to tell their entire life stories to you…

    Signed, Anonymous

  2. I will be Dr. Boli’s best imaginary friend! In reading The Crimes of Galahad some time back, I noticed a couple of typos:

    Page 112: “whereas my father, although I knew him as in ill-educated oaf” [near page bottom, should be: “an”]

    Page 117: “That week was uneventful, except that it was out most successful week” [near page top, should be: “our”]

    I didn’t notice any other typos. I attempted at the time to send this information by way of a non-imaginary friend, but I don’t know if it reached you.

    So . . . just in case . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  3. Clay Potts says:

    It is indeed, “in” imaginary friend, who goes to such great lengths to point “our” the speck in his friend’s eye….

    • Dr. Boli says:

      Dr. Boli thinks that crowd-sourced proofreading is the future of publishing. What publisher could resist getting for free a service for which he traditionally had to pay hours’ worth of minimum wage? Certainly not Dr. Boli.

  4. Free? I was expecting imaginary wages!

    Speaking of crowd-sourced proofreading, I once suggested to a writer at Christianity Today that she meant “theocracy,” not “theodicy,” and for my sensible suggestion, I earned a shallow retort.

    Until then, I had thought the wages of sense is depth . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    • Dr. Boli says:

      Elocution lessons are hard to find these days, but Dr. Boli thinks they might be valuable for people like your writer correspondent. Did not no less an authority than Lewis Carroll tell us, “Take care of the sounds, and the sense will take care of itself”?

  5. That was a rather Frost-y thing for Carroll to say!

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  6. Zombie Psychologist says:

    As for myself, I am quite confident of being a figment of my own imagination.

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