Good Friend/Bad Friend?

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.

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1am Epiphany

ClockI will be honest I do some of my best writing late at night/early morning, so I am not a stranger to 1, 2 or even 3 am epiphanies. They are normally comforting in their annoyances. Because of these epiphanies, I have taken to keeping a notepad feature on my tablet or phone on my nightstand so that I can roll over, jot whatever it happens to be down and then snuggle back under my blankets and return to dreamland. This wasn’t the case the other night. The epiphany I had kept me awake realizing just how many times in my life those that love me have had the same epiphany that I was having.

A couple days prior to this 1am wake up, I was attending a meeting where a friend announced, seemingly reluctantly, his engagement. Now the woman my friend has been dating, also happens to be his ex-girlfriend. Some of his friends, including myself, have been concerned about him getting back with her. The concern came from the reasons you would probably expect, the relationship was not all that great for him the first time around, she was not a fan of his friends, she did not enjoy the same activities he did, to say the least there were some issues there, which was the reason for the break-up. However here he was 5 months after getting back with her announcing their engagement. In all honesty I did not know how to respond. People around him congratulated him, asked when they were going to get to meet her, typical things after such an announcement. For me however I noticed two things. The first being that he really had not “wanted” to announce this news and two that I had no idea how I felt, he’s my friend shouldn’t I be happy for him?

He and I have been friends for a while; we have been there for each other through difficult situations, relationships and celebrations. I will admit I was surprised, in a sense, by the announcement. He always talked about how he was not ready for that kind of relationship; because he believed he had missed his chance to marry the woman he was meant to be with (she had gotten married earlier that year). Many of his friends have been getting married, settling down and starting families, they started doing what a lot of coupled people do, they start in on their single friends “when are you going to get married?” “you can’t stay single forever.” So I was not surprised when he jumped into this latest relationship, I also figured if it lasted till March he would probably start thinking engagement. So it was the quickness that surprised me more than anything, then add to that they set the date for a month down the road, raises some eyebrows and questions for many other people.

So I did not know what to say or what to think. I want to ask him why he’s rushing into this marriage and was he sure?  I have not had the opportunity to ask these questions. Fast forward to 1am a few days later, I wake up realizing that sometimes we have to love a person enough to step out of the way and let them chase or do whatever it maybe that they are doing or chasing. Whether they be our family or our friends, these are people that we love, that we want to protect, but they are people that need to be able to follow their own paths, to make their own mistakes or reach their goals/successes and sometimes the best thing we can do for them is love them and let them know that no matter what happens that they will have someone there for them.

This is an amazingly hard thing to do! We love these people, so we do not want to see them get hurt, or go down, what may be, the wrong path. This idea of loving someone enough to let them go down, their chosen path made me look at my own life, and realize that I have been blessed with an amazing family and friends. Even though it was not necessarily the “right” path, they knew that they needed to let me walk it, knowing that no matter what happened they were there for me, and when the path changed, and plans fell apart, they still loved me. How hard that stepping aside must have been for them, and I am so grateful for that love. I now have the opportunity to love my friend that way, to love enough to step aside, let him walk his path, and know that no matter what happens, good or bad, there is always someone in his corner that cares.

Randomness:

*I am loyal, probably to a fault, and very protective of my friends and family.

*I could probably write a page or two on why it is a bad idea to get back with your ex, however I will leave that for another day.

*In the cases of late night epiphanies I love my technology, because I don’t have to turn on a light, grab a pen and try to make my handwriting legible.

Poor Thanksgiving

I’m feeling sorry for Thanksgiving. Yes I know that Thanksgiving is a holiday and in fact does not have feelings, however if it did I think it would feel unloved. Thanksgiving is squished between Halloween, which for many people is all about the free candy (not knocking free candy, it’s pretty awesome) and Christmas, all about faith, love, peace & goodwill on earth, lights, music and yes presents. Christmas is coming earlier and earlier every year.

Where I work we start getting Christmas product in August, we get Christmas music as early as October 25th and by November 1st almost all the Christmas/Holiday signage is up and we are gearing up for the retail “holiday” season. I will admit I love Christmas music and the slight insanity of working Black Friday, but what about Thanksgiving. There are no Thanksgiving CDs, very few “Thanksgiving” movies. This is a holiday that asks people to think, to give thanks for all that we have, to maybe even go out and share that abundance with others. However it seems that in today’s society these are shrinking thoughts. People seemed more focused on getting the best deals, to rush through their holiday in order to smush more obligations, shopping and other things into their already busy lives.

Earlier this week I was driving home from a meeting and on my way I passed a house that was decked out from top to bottom and all the way to the street in lights and Christmas decorations. Now don’t get me wrong it is a very pretty display but I had to look at a calendar we aren’t even through the second week of November. All I could think was Poor Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. It is small, quiet holiday, it doesn’t ask for fancy decorations, although there are many beautiful ones out there and like most of the other big holidays there is also a good chance of amazing food. All Thanksgiving asks for is that family, friends and sometimes strangers gather together, take a breath and give thanks for all that we have. I hope that people start enjoying all that Thanksgiving has to offer.