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Sunday, August 21, 2005

On friends and love

Our friends play an important role in helping us manage our love lives. They tell us when we're freaking out over nothing, they let us blubber all over them when we get dumped, they celebrate our successes. But not every friend knows how to say the right thing at the right time when it comes to love. Some major friendship sins:
  1. Self absorption. Some people really can't see past their own nose. This kind of behavior is always annoying, but it can be bearable if life is running smoothly and you're just having fun. But a self absorbed friend is the WORST when it comes to helping you through a rough patch. I was once telling a friend about my recent breakup and how disappointed I was about it. Now if this was something I'd been whining about for weeks, I'd understand if my friends eventually tuned me out, but this was a fresh wound and I was telling my friend about it for the first time. I was literally in mid-sentence as I explained what had happened, and my friend interrupted me to say, "oh did I mention I am helping my mom buy a new car?" Wha??? Last time I checked that had nothing to do with my heartache, and it could have waited for me to at least finish my sentence. Unless your eyeballs are bleeding, I don't want to hear about it within the first 10 minutes I am telling you about how I am heartbroken!
  2. Lack of empathy. Some people just never learned how to walk in another's shoes. When it comes to empathizing with your pain, this friend always says the wrong thing because she just doesn't "get" where you're coming from. If you think something is the worst thing in the world, it's ok for someone to say that it'll get better, it's not ok for them to say it's no big deal. If nothing else, your pain is real to you. A friend appreciates that.
  3. Letting us be self destructive. Any friend worth a damn will tell you the cold hard truth when it comes to something truly important. If you're dating a run of the mill jerk, it's probably better that she keeps her opinion to herself, but if you're dating someone emotionally or physically abusive or someone who is otherwise fundamentally crap, then it's a friend's job to speak the truths that you're too afraid to admit.
  4. Saying too much too soon. Friends can end up in the doghouse if they say anything too bad about our sig-o's. The fact of the matter is, if the couple gets back together, your friend won't look so kindly on harsh words spoken about him...even if she was saying far worse! It's always a safer bet to save our most vitriolic criticisms until we are damn sure he's gone for good.
  5. She makes it about her. I once had a friend who could take any scenario and somehow turn it into something about her. I'd be crying about a breakup and she'd liken it to a breakup she once had, which was soooooo much worse. Next thing you know, I was comforting her over some 5 year old wound!

So be a good friend - listen, empathize, speak out when it's important and stay mum when it isn't...and for God's sake don't mention your mom's new car!




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