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- Relationship Problems & Advice
Are They A Friend, Or Just A User
Let's have Dinner
Let's see if you can identify with this scenario. You have an acquaintance that invites you to dinner, and you're totally dreading the encounter. You will do almost anything to avoid this particular invite, because you know the ultimate outcome.......... Alas, dinnertime has arrived, after sitting down, pleasantries exchanged, (you know where this is going), then it begins, the nonstop volley of complaints, put downs, criticisms, etc. Nothing is ever enough, everybody is always wrong, and so on. You soon discover, as usual, it wasn't dinner you were invited to, it was a complaint fest. As always you pay for your dinner by lending a listening ear. Throughout dinner, you're constantly saying to yourself, never again, but you know it's not true. You sit back, and as you listen, you realize the story never changes, it's always all about her, how she's been taken advantage of, how she's always wronged, the usual, and you must listen, and you do so, dutifully.
The story goes like this. She's invited to her sister's house for dinner. She's never really gotten along with her, because, "mother always liked her best." Well anyway, when she gets there, she's greeted at the door by those talkative, irritating little brats of her sisters. Oh, she pretends to like them, but they're just so irritating, always talking, and asking her embarrassing questions, like, how old she is, where she works, what kind of car she drives, etc. She smiles sweetly, wishing they'd just leave her alone...........That dumb oaf of a brother-in-law comes in grinning like a Cheshire cat, pelting her with questions she considers none of his business, like, how's work, how's the car running, what her plans for the weekend are? Why don't he just shut up. Okay, dinner is on. What is this, she knows, I don't eat this, it messes with my skin, and besides, she never prepares it the way mother did anyway...............Oh yes, and her sister, Miss Patty Perfect, housekeeper, she's just showing off, because she knows that I don't like to clean. She just invited me over to show off her house, (no she didn't)...................And oh, what a day she had at work. They actually expected her to write that report all by herself, (even though that is her job). "They don't pay me enough," (six figures), for that." After all her manager always ask for and gets help, so why can't she. Oh, and today she took just a little longer lunch, (about 45 minutes), and they complained, again, "what jerks."............ Then when she gets down to the parking lot, that attendant, oh my goodness, he's always up in her face, saying things like, "and how was your day, miss?" Opening her door and saying have a good day," I know what he's up to..........................The traffic, every body's always in her way, that car knew she wanted to make that turn, and the driver just took his own sweet time. Everywhere she looks, "no driving jerks."
Okay, this is not a real scenario, I just made it up to make a point. I remember reading somewhere, a statement that says something to the effect,that, "A PERSON THAT'S ALWAYS AT WAR WITH OTHERS IS NEVER AT PEACE WITH THEMSELVES." Most of us knows someone like that. Who is she/he? Who knows, it might even be us. (Something to think about).
Let's dissect this scenario. Those "irritating little brats," for instance, what harm did they do? Aren't those questions kids usually, innocently ask? Yes, and that, "dumb oaf of a brother-in-law," what did he say that was so irritating? He was only showing interest in her as any caring person would, or perhaps he was just making small talk. What about her sister, doesn't she seem like a loving sister, taking the initiative to include her in her family affairs? How about her job? Wouldn't you think that anyone making six figures, (or just having a job today), would be expected to perform up to the standards of someone making her salary? That parking lot attendant, if he said or did nothing, couldn't that be a reason for her to complain? I could go on with the dissection, instead, why don't you take it from here.
After dinner you're completely drained as usual, once more vowing never to do this again. However, you consider that you're the only "friend" this, ungrateful, spiteful, complaining, mean spirited, person has left. She's managed to drive everyone else away. Now the dilemma, what do you do? She says, by implication, that you're her only friend, but this friendship is detrimental to your mental stability. Should you feel responsible for her? Do you always have to be the sounding board for her multiplicity of complaints? In this case, should you be your brother's keeper? Here's something to think about, she complains about everybody that she knows, aren't you somebody that she knows. (I'm just saying).
Here's a few other things to consider.............Why has everyone else disappeared from this person's life? Don't you spend countless hours trying to put out those imaginary fires that she seem to always have, and always trying to help her see the other side of the coin. You spend sleepless nights trying to figure out a way to cut the ties, dreading every time the phone rings, could it be her. You're not free to have other friends, or at least around her. In essence this person is making your life miserable.
Ask yourself, "what haven't I tried to help this person to change?" What could you lose, with the continuation of this "friendship," (could it be peace of mind, friends, sleep, maybe even a little sanity)? What's to gain? Really, is this the kind of friendship that you need. in other words, what are you going to do about this situation? Well, these are questions that you and only you can answer. But whatever your answer is, ask yourself, Can I continue on this way indefinitely, or even do I want to?
What about you
Just a little aside, what about you, are you either of these persons, do you see yourself in any of these situations? (Just asking). Could you afford to take stock of your own actions, and perhaps make some changes? (Another hub).