Saturday, March 24, 2012

To Boldly Escape from the Island of Misfit Toys

I am, what some might call, a compassionate person. I seem to attract tender souls in need of emotional support. I have many friends, but often I don't enjoy my time with them. There is always a crisis or a simmering malaise ready to boil over into despondency. I love my friends, but I can't shake the feeling that other people don't interact this way.

Let's take a quiz. I'm going to write a story and you choose which answer reflects your life right now and which answer reflects the life of a happy, well-adjusted person. I would say that some of your answers will overlap, but they won't.

Begin scene:

"The other day I went (to an intervention)(for coffee) with my friend, who is a (phone-sex personality named 'Ms. Swade')(dental hygienist). As we were (hitchhiking)(pulling into the parking garage), my friend looked at me and said, 'I've decided to (skip my court date)(go back to school).'

'Wow,' I exclaimed, 'that's a big decision, especially so soon after you (quit taking your medication)(got a new job).'

'(How could you say something so cruel! You've never had any faith in me. You're the reason I cut all my hair off in high school!)(I know, I'm a little nervous, but I've thought about it and this is the best thing for me right now).'

'(I'm so sorry! I don't know what I was thinking. You're right, I was being judgmental. Do you need any money?)(Well, you know I'll support you no matter what you decide).'

Just then my phone rang. It was my significant other asking me (to sleep on the sofa tonight so there is room in the bed for the new foster Irish Wolfhound)(to pick up some milk on the way home)."

End scene.

Don't bother to add up the results, because there is no scoring system. You have collected an assortment of broken friends. Although I have previously written about the importance of being interesting, there is chocolate cake and then there is snorting Hershey's Cocoa when no one is looking. Your friends sneeze ganache.  

Broken friends can only function if they have a crutch. Someone who can make them feel better, give them a place to crash and bail them out of jail. Stop being that person. I know it makes you feel good to be needed and you are worried about what will happen to your friends without you there to comfort them when it turns out that Russian businessman wasn't really a modeling scout. Don't worry. They will find another you. In their eyes, you are interchangeable, which means you are also disposable. You didn't mention this, but how supportive are your friends when you have a bad day? Do they notice? Do you notice? 

You don't have time for broken people. The next time you have an irresistible urge to witness an adult self-destruct, watch TLC (and don't send the guy who has sex with his car your home address). You have wasted enough of your life scrubbing off other people's emotional soap scum. I don't care how much you think you help them. There are plenty of agencies and professionals who are paid to put people's lives back together and who can maintain professional boundaries. Let them do their jobs. 

I don't want to hear that I'm being judgmental and mean, because I know I'm being judgmental and mean. I don't have time for broken people either. There is a limit at which point friendship is impossible because the gestalt of the behavioral is unacceptable. At that point, there are consequences and the consequences are going to be perceived as mean. They are going to say they need you. A parasite needs a host. Go out and find friends that don't need you. 

What is a split infinitive?

A split infinitive is one of the many grammatical construction errors invented by Ra's al Ghul so that, instead of actually accomplishing anything, we spend more time worrying about whether it is correct "to softly weep" or "to weep softly." I'm sorry, but if it's acceptable for Captain Kirk "to boldly go where no man has gone before," then I think it's good enough for whatever drivel I'm writing.

Trying this linking thing again...I like the atmosphere over at Bees With Honey.

1 comment:

  1. This was funny! I have had some broken friends in the past and no matter how much I listened and tried to help them, they would always find another issue and allow it to destroy them. It was depressing me. Some friendships are worth holding on to but some are also toxic and need ditching :)


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