It’s a new month, so it’s time for a new rant. I know you’ve been dying to hear what I have to say. Waiting with bated breath, as it were . . . Well, the wait is over and away we go. This month’s topic: high-maintenance / jealous /conditional friends.
I don’t have to explain. You know you have them and you know who they are. I will tell you right now, this nonsense has got to stop. A real friend will be thrilled for you when things go well and proud of all your accomplishments. They will embarrass you by telling other people about how proud they are of you. When times are tougher, they will remind you how hard it is to be a working parent / a single parent / have chosen not to have kids / be trying to have kids and not succeeding / to be living in a foreign country and not speaking the language / to be speaking it but not well / to be fluent but still not a native / to be freelance / to work full time / to work 40% / to keep the refrigerator full / to keep the laundry done / to keep the bills paid / to go to the gym / to be in a relationship / to be alone /to meet people on Tinder / to get out of bed / to take a shower. You get the point.
They will empathize. They will not judge.
They will cry with you when things crash and burn. They will bring you a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby (with two spoons), tell you stupid jokes (what did the zero say to the eight? Nice belt!), and make fun of people to make you snort (not so nice, but often funny and distracting). They will talk if you want to talk and stay silent beside you if that’s what you need. They will not secretly gloat at your misfortune. They will not be passive-aggressive. They will not be envious. They will love you as is. And only want the best for you. Simple as that.
This is not to say that you will not fight. That you will not have your moments of disagreement and on some days, their pronunciation of Vielen Dank will get under your skin or their forgetfulness will make you reassess how smart they really are, or the fact that they can’t keep a secret has made you cringe. You will get over this. Because that’s what friends do.
But there is a line and when it is crossed, you must start to think about your own well-being and just what this friendship means. Is it a give and take? Is it all one-sided? Do they call and just gloat / complain / rant and rarely ask about you? Do they give unsolicited opinions? Do you feel your energy drain when you see or talk to them? When you see their name on your phone, do you dread picking up? Do you hesitate asking them for favors because you know they will say yes but there will be drama and you’ll pay for it in other ways? Do they scream at their children? Will they hold your hair back when you’ve had too much Champagne and need to be sick? Do they remember your birthday (without the help of Facebook)?
Cut those ties, people. Walk away from the drama. Learn to say no.
The ones who force a fake smile when you tell them you got a writing assignment to go to a health spa and say, “You’re so lucky! Everything good happens to you”, drop them like it’s hot. I’m serious.
I’m just back from said writing assignment, which was amazing, and dare I say, life changing. I thought I was going to a spa of sorts (it was a detox/health clinic) and hopeful I’d get lots of writing done. What happened was so much more. I learned an immense amount, rested, started healing my body and now feel better than I have in years. Amazing.
All this is to say that when I returned, my true friends saw that I was glowing and how much better I was feeling. They were happy for me. Regardless of the fact that they are going through a divorce / haven’t had a day off in years / could never afford to go to this place / need it more than me maybe, they were genuinely happy because I was. That’s a friend.
Okay. Diatribe concluded. But I know you. You need to be reminded. You’re welcome.
(Do men deal with this? I can imagine they must on some level, but I’ve never heard any of them complaining about it. Please write and tell me your thoughts on this. Really. The Baroness wants to know. I like to learn.)
And next week . . back to your letters! And we have some good ones coming up! Stay tuned.
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