Friday, September 30, 2011
Keep It Simple, Stupid
We all know our assorted drama queens, addicts, and energy suckers. These are the types who used to push all of my buttons and pull every single trigger I had, and off I'd go to the blender to make myself a strong, frozen Jimmy Buffett concoction. I always felt that if I wasn't always there for them, to listen, to help, to lend money, to be a shoulder to cry on, that I was a bad friend.
Needless to say, I got burned numerous times. Users are good at spotting soft-hearted people they can manipulate. It was pretty easy to guilt trip me.
One of the many benefits of getting sober is being clear-headed and hence better at spotting people who are only your friends when they want something from you. I'm learning to just gently cut them loose.
Look, a friendship is a relationship every bit as much as your spouse is in a relationship with you; it's just a relationship that doesn't involve sexuality and romance (well, most of the time, anyway). All relationships have their ups and downs and need nurturing. A good friendship will have equal amounts of give and take; at any given time, one person may need more than the other, but over time it all seems to balance out somehow on its own. It's not like you keep tally. But when the give and take gets permanently lopsided so that you're repeatedly doing all the giving, all the time, that's a recipe for exhaustion and resentment. Then I start paying closer attention to what my friend actually does as opposed to what they tell me they do.
And I check in with my own feelings. If drama, crises, hurt feelings, feelings of betrayal, suspicions of being misled, and feelings of being used start to outweigh any joy or pleasure the friendship brings me, that's when I know it's time to go.
There are way, way too many other wonderful people in the world worth getting to know instead. I want to be around the people who, when I leave their presence, have left me feeling stimulated, invigorated, refreshed, and feeling good--and they feel the same way after leaving me. I do not want not to be around the people who make me feel drained, upset, stupid, guilty, or lacking in some way.
It's really that simple.