So first off, I wanna say that the graphic that I am using alongside this post is awesome. If you do a google search for “friends and enemies” you’ll find it. How cool that friends, when flipped, can look like the word enemies.
Also, I just watched “The View” (a nice side perk of being unemployed) and one of the guests mentioned this quote, which I think is relevant to what I am going to write about in this post: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It’s by Martin Luther King, Jr.
So being unemployed is tough. It’s tough financially (though that is not as pressing on me these days). It’s tough psychologically– you feel worthless and battered. And I think what’s worse is that you are kind of at the mercy of everything and everybody. The recruiter that never contacts you to deliver the final blow (it’s like euthanasia– be cruel to be kind, peoples!). The people in your network that you reach out to that conveniently never respond (after I get a job, I will be doing a lot of defriending, I’m serious). You feel like a beggar and it’s the worst, most vulnerable feeling ever.
I’ve gone back and forth with how I feel about my friends during this period. On the one hand, I know that I’m touchy and sensitive and that everything small feels like something humongous given my current state. So I’m aware of that. But I will say that I’ve been really kind of surprised at times, annoyed at times, with people in my life. And I guess really I’ll sort that out later on– but I guess my question is: is your friends’ actions during your time of need the best reflection of how good of a friend they are really? Are you viewing them through a distorted lens? Or are you seeing them in their truest form?
Some of it has to do with perceived insensitivity. I have a friend who is in a great spot. She went to bschool, landed a great paying job. And yet everytime I see her, I have to hear about all the bs she is INFLICTING UPON HERSELF via some questionable choices. Obviously I won’t go into it– it’s not my right to spread a person’s info on my anonymous blog. But then everytime I start to voice my frustration about trying to find work, I get a one word response. Honestly, it’s really irritating. It’s to the point where I don’t even want to ask her “how’s it going?” b/c I know that she doesn’t really care about how my life is going and frankly, I don’t wanna hear about all the crap that she’s up to. That’s rude– I know. But a person who doesn’t really have much of an interest in your life and then expects you to be around when their shit hits the fan– friend or enemy? That’s a real question.
I have another friend and I’ll be gentle in describing him. Personality wise, he’s very risk averse– which is totally fine. To each his own. But then in talking to him, he has these very strong theoretical opinions on things. And every conversation turns into a weird battle– half the time on topics that I don’t even care about. And part of me thinks, if he would just get out of his comfort zone and do different things, he’d have a larger and more varied point of view and wouldn’t keep regurgitating the same, hackneyed ideas. And let people have their opinions– for God’s sake, people can think things different than you! I described one conversation I had with him to another friend (where basically he said something was great, and I said in my opinion it wasn’t and then it turned into a back and forth with him presenting other people’s opinions that yes, it is great: all these other people think so! And my response was well this is why I think this and this is my opinion. I really should have just exited the conversation– it really was a stupid topic) and that friend mentioned that he sounded like a jerk, why was I friends with him? And I backpedaled, b/c in his heart, he’s a good guy. But I dunno: I guess when it comes to my career and trying to work things out, I really can’t rely on him not to say something totally stupid and to fight me on what I am CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING and trying to pitch me best practices. And right now, I’ve kind of had my fill of him with his adamant POVs and our battle-like conversations.
Ok, I should end this post here. I think I got a little carried away by the end. I guess the lingering question for me is: when is behavior inappropriate? When am I (given current circumstances) interpreting behavior inappropriately (and therefore deeming it inappropriate)? When am I (given current circumstances) so much of a handful that my friends can legitimately back away? And when is it that my friends’ true colors are coming out during times of crisis?