Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Stages of "Friendship"

I'm going to be cynical here for a minute. Ok, maybe a few.

I think that all friends are fair-weather friends. I'm no exception. I think that when you get right down to it, people really don't care about your personal trials and tribulations. They don't want to hear about or care why your wife spends too much money or your best friend is an alcoholic. They do however, listen, with earnest and forced caring. Then they give advice and try to make you all better. Often people give advice when it isn't' asked of them, or even the correct advice to give. They give it because they want to see you all happy and smiling again. They like the happy you because it is easier for them. Don't be fooled. People really don't give a shit about what you're going through. If they are going to stick around through it, they just help you get over it faster to get you back to the person they enjoy.

Please don't take this as a bash on all the people in my life who offer a "lending hand." I am probably one of the worst offenders of the unsolicited advice giving. I think I'm helping people and in turn I feel some reward for my selfless act. Bullshit. We all just really care about ourselves and the things that affect our worlds. Being surrounded by unhappy, depressed or generally grumpy people is not fun. If you like that person enough in their times of joy, then you will put forth the effort to get them past the bullshit. Then you can continue on your journey of revelry and laughter. Otherwise, you distance yourself (if you're trying to be polite about it) or you just give that person the "tough love" or say "Fuck you. You're on your own."

I know you think I'm being harsh, but c'mon, this is how we all truly feel. When someone becomes too much to bear, you let that person go on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Right. Fact is, you didn't want to endure the un-fun side of that person any longer. They weren't worth the time any longer.

I think there are stages to this. When a friend is down, this is how people generally react:

1.) "Friends" will give a few obligatory hours of "listening." They figure they at least owe this to their friend, a.k.a. Downer, who, too many times to count, held their hair while they puked. Hopefully after a few of these sessions, the Downer will get over whatever is bothering them.

2.) Next is the advice stage. This advice is given whether or not it is asked for by said Downer. This is an attempt to hurry along the depression or general shittiness and proceed to better, more happy times. Don't be mistaken, this is purely selfish. The "friends" never have, and still don't give a shit about what is going on with the Downer.

3.) Thirdly is the 'tough love' stage. This comes right before the "Fuck you, I can't deal with this anymore" stage. Dr. Phil popularized this stage and in his practice has re-ordered this as Stage One. This is when the Downer gets brow beaten and verbally abused into feeling better. This attack is masked as "tough love" and is associated with common phrases like, "I'm only saying this because I care about you" and "You can't keep acting like this. I'm only trying to help." Again, this is purely selfish and is a sign that the "friend" of the Downer has reached his or her wits end.

4.) Finally is the "Fuck you, I can't deal with this anymore" stage. This is a short stage when the Downer is let go and told to handle this problem on his or her own. The "friend" is no longer willing to put up with or fake concern on behalf of the good times they once shared. They have given up on any future good times and will begin a search for another person to hold their hair.

In conclusion, people simply don't give a fuck. You're born alone, you walk alone and you die alone. Welcome to the real world. If you don't like it, don't tell me about it. I couldn't care less.