Have you ever had those days when you are not sure if you are being the good, supportive, caring friend that is doing the right thing, or the horrible, bad friend, who is just putting your friend in a worse situation? Maybe it’s just me.
I seem to be stuck in this situation with two different friends, the situation of I do not know if I’m being a good friend or a bad friend.
Situation number 1: I have a friend who is serial dater/serial relationship seeker. He is always searching for his “other,” the one that will “complete him.” This frustrates me in general, but lately it has gone to a whole new level. He recently called me to tell me about his latest date night. How much he likes this girl, how great the date was etc. Now normally I try to be supportive, he has dated a string of not so nice, not so sane people, so when he met this girl, great. However, when he starts dating someone and he is interested in her, he becomes one of those clingy people. Now a level of interest in what someone is doing and letting them know, hey I’d like to out again, I enjoyed our time together, is great; but not in these cases. He called me to not only tell me about the date, but how frustrated he was that she had not called him. My response was, hey she’s probably busy, she said she had a great time, wanted to go out again, all positive signs, nothing to worry about. Then he tells me that he has already texted and called her twice that day (this is the day after their date). I mean seriously? He starts going off about how he hates dating games, and why can’t she just be upfront and honest about how she feels, and how is this going to go anywhere if she won’t even talk to him. At this point I’m trying to be a good friend, tell him to relax, it’s not that big of deal, wait a couple days, and see what happens, after all they have only had 2 dates. He then starts going off about how he should have stayed with his ex (what is it with men and their ex’s these days?!). His ex was a woman who cheated on him, used him for his money, his credit, influence, and kept putting requirements on their relationship (you need a better job, you need to lose weight then I will love/marry you). This is the point in the conversations where I start to lose my cool.
I’m frustrated, tired, and this is not the first time in the past month that I have had to listen to something like this. So I lay it down. I am the type of person that believes that no one else can complete someone. I know I can do things to bring some happiness to people’s lives but I cannot MAKE someone happy. Just like someone can do things to brighten my day but they cannot make me happy. We cannot hang our happiness on someone else, not only is that not fair to them but it is not fair to us. People screw up, they make mistakes and it is not fair to either party to put that much responsibility and pressure on another person. So once I got him to stop interrupting me, I pretty much laid that out there. I told him what I believe in my heart to be true, that he needs to stop with the dating and the chasing and the constant looking for a partner/mate/other half and start to focus on himself. I went on to point out that he has already made this women the center of his attention and she has not made him her center because she (seems) to have a balanced life of work, friends, and family, and that I thought he needed to take a chapter from that book and learn how to be happy with himself, happy with who he is and stop laying that responsibility on someone else. That until he learns how to love himself, be happy with who he is, and be happy in his life, how does he expect anyone else to love him, respect him, or want to be part of his life. To say the least these words did not go over well, and they were not said in a calm, soothing, loving manner. The conversation ended abruptly, and I have not heard much since; except that she has since texted him. *sigh*
Personally I think in this situation I was being a good friend. I have been on the receiving end of painful truths, and as hard as they were to hear, I am thankful that I had friends that were honest enough to lay it out there for me. I probably could have spoken my thoughts in a better way but at least I was honest.
Situation number 2: My friends are human and I understand that, that they, just like myself, make some not so great choices in their lives. I worry that one of my closest friends has a drinking problem. Actually when I think about it, it isn’t so much that I worry that she might have one, it’s I worry about how bad it might actually be. Over the past couple months it has seemed to get better, for a while there, she was getting drunk almost every night, now it is just getting buzzed about once/twice a week; not great but better. She and I have had multiple conversations about how it is not healthy for her, how it is more harmful than good, how she does not like how it makes her feel. Tonight while we were talking she asked me if I could take her on a run to the corner store, she needed (aka wanted) chips and ice cream and she was buzzed enough that driving was out of the question, so if I did not take her she was just going to walk. Now it is not a long walk, about a mile, but it was getting dark and the drivers on our street are not known for obeying speed limits or being careful. So I stopped what I was doing grabbed my keys and took her to the store. By the time we left the store she had gotten her chips and stuff but also more alcohol. So now I’m stuck in the quandary, good friend/bad friend. I feel like I did the right thing driving her, because otherwise she might have done something less than advisable (aka walking to the store) but I feel like I am helping to promote her drinking by being an accessory to her buying more. So yet again the issue good friend/bad friend…..
This situation makes me think part good, part bad. I’m helping to keep my friend from possibly being harmed while doing something and she did the responsible thing by asking someone to drive her. However knowing her problem with alcohol, I should have said something to her. Even if she still chose to buy it (since that whole situation is her choice) I think I missed an opportunity.