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How To: Be A Good Friend

This is a rant not directed at anyone in particular, or even anyone I know, but it must be made.

I am so sick of people who can't get over their own selfish bullshit for a few minutes and be happy when things start going well for those around them. I can't stand the idiotic "well why not me?" jealousy.

The single best friend who can't be genuinely happy and supportive when a friend starts a great relationship. The friend who hears about your promotion and suddenly gets just a little pissy, tells you to get the check, and then is continually awkward about going out and spending money because you make more. Shit like this:

I get that a lot of people are competitive. I get that if you're lonely, it's sometimes hard to see couple after couple after couple. I've been there, but it's really not that hard to take a few minutes - god forbid even a few hours - to enjoy, share in, and fuel a friend's happiness. It's one of the most rewarding parts of friendship. And yet, I overhear a lot of people saying, "why can't you just be happy for me?"

Really, it's as simple as being there to see your friend happy, enjoying the fact that they are, and being supportive/stoking the fire a bit. Success deserves congratulations.

I get that a lot of people are just selfish, self-centered, and have a hard time getting out of the universe-which-totally-revolves-around-their-singular-personage. But there are moments where - as a friend - it's not about you. It's not okay to make it about you. It's not your job to internalize something happening in someone else's life, use it to find some fault within yourself, and then be an asshole to that person because of your neurosis.

Happy-Relationship-Girl or Successful-Promotion-Guy is not bragging at you to make you feel inadequate. Their joy is not an attack up on your oh-so-fragile emotions and insecurities. They're happy, and with good reason. It's completely unacceptable for a friend to bring them down because they're self-centered and jealous.

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Jun. 21st, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
One of my best friends in the world is a guy like these, actually. For example, "I guess all I'm saying is Jesus loves me,"
"Well, he loves me more," is a conversation that actually happened between him and another friend of mine. No matter what happens to me, his wife, or anyone else, something better always has to happen to him.

I don't hold it against him. It's just who he is. I don't think that part of his attitude cheapens our friendship in the slightest.

But I agree with this post overall; there simply aren't enough people out there that show genuine support for their friends when they do and don't need it. To me, though, it's not about competition. It's about accountability. If you're not in a happy relationship, it's up to you to assess the problems and figure out how it can be fixed. If you're not in a relationship, start meeting people! It's easier than you think. If you're upset about the kind of job you do or how much money you make, you have to figure out how to improve the situation. Nobody else will do that for you. You have to earn everything you get in life; you're not entitled to anything. I know there are all kinds of exceptions and other factors to consider than just those facets, but there's still no reason to hold a grudge against your friends for finding success or happiness when you're not.

...Woah! I went on my own rant there.
Jun. 21st, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
It's a good day for ranting. I'm all for it.

You don't find though that he shuts you down with his one-up-manship? That it downplays your success for the sake of his ego?

I totally agree with you about accountability as well though. I really can't stand it when people bitch about something but aren't willing to do anything about it. And waiting around for Prince Charming or to win the lottery is just stupid. Action is the key to acquisition.

It's also the key to mutant alien cow babies. Bow chicka.

Jun. 21st, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
My ego and pride aren't so petty as to be affected by trivial things like that. When it's necessary, I put him in his place. It always catches him off guard, but it doesn't happen frequently enough for it to be a blow to his self esteem or anything.

Students in particular are the most guilty for entitlement. So many years they get praise from their teachers, parents, coaches, directors, whomever for the most trivial things, and it really cripples them when they get to a workplace and, guess what, nobody cares.

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