Thursday, March 24, 2011

Confused in Cleveland (but not really in Cleveland)

Oh Wise One,
How do you give a close friend frank advice, but keep it kind at the same time? I.e. "You're smothering everybody. If I hear your voice say one more syllable, my ears will spontaneously combust. Also, stop crying." but I want to say it in a KIND way.

Sincerely, Confused in Cleveland (but not really in Cleveland)

I'm going to put aside all of the insecurities and ideas that tell me that you're doing a terribly humiliating thing to me by choosing my own blog as means to tell me that I'm annoying and cry too much and that's why you've been so distant lately. Because, I mean everyone's got a little passive-aggressive in them but you're a nice girl. That's why you're asking this question--about someone that's not me. I continue.

The answer to your question is threefold. Actually, it's not, but it will come to you in three different parts, I just really wanted to use the word "threefold". The three parts are these:
A. Advice that will make you a better person and give you all sorts of things to pat yourself on the back about.
B. What I would, realistically, probably do.
C. Real talk.
Let's get to it!

A. Now, firstly, Dear Reader, (so many commas) I would encourage you to invest in some reflection time. Try to view your friend as a beautiful, complex, insecure creation just like yourself. This person is not trying to come across as needy or disgustingly annoying, she's clearly going through some stuff right now and could use a little extra room in which to heal. On the other side of the coin, this could just be her personality and as her friend, you have taken an unwritten oath to be a place for freedom of expression without judgment. Work on that and feel good about yourself.
You like that? Complete bull.

B. Here's how I would realistically handle this situation (not ideal advice). I'd get super irritated with my friend and then pretend to fall asleep while she's at my house (I'm just guessing that Friend is a lady because... just because) regardless of the time. That's how I get people to leave, I just fake the narcolepsy. Later, I'll probably text all of our mutual friends and be like, "Oh mah gaw! Soandso is so friggin' annoyz-uh!" And they'd be like, "I know, right?!" And we'll completely tear her to shreds for a while until one of two things happen. She'll realize that we're all bitches and then she'll leave, which would be smart of her. OR I'll start to feel really guilty and then start talking about all of her admirable qualities and then realize how much I really do like her and we'll be friends again until someone has a period and the cycle starts again. Cycles and cycles are absolutely not unrelated and this should always be taken into consideration when you're going through a particularly bad "I friggin can't stand you" time.

C. Real talk. Truthfully, your role in this is relative to your relationship to the other person. If this is someone that you don't know all that well and rarely spend time with (or if this person is your co-worker), all you can really do is chock it up to personality clashes and grin and bear it as much as humanly possible. Sometimes that might mean coming up with work to do in another area or faking an asthma attack in a bowling alley but you gotsta do what you gotsta do, you know?
But if this person is a for-real friend to whom you really have taken kind of an unspoken for-better-or-worse-unless-it's-like-real-bad-and-in-that-case-thank-God-this-was-all-unspoken commitment, then you probably do have to say something. Try to say it in a way that says, "Hey you have super cool qualities and now you're being a little psycho and everyone is scared." Tone it down. Next time that your friend starts shamelessly stealing attention/ correcting everyone's pronunciation of Italian foods/ crying in a big, girl heap try taking her aside and saying, "Hey, you're usually super cool but tonight you're coming on a little strong. That's a little out of character, is everything alright?" And if everything's alright, then hopefully she'll take the hint and dial it back. But if everything's not right, you'll have to actually listen to what's not alright. At another time. When you can give her your full attention because what she's really looking for, when you get down to it, is some genuine attention.

Maybe. Who knows?

Signed, Oh Wise One

Have a similar, sticky social situation? Comment, email, facebook, whathave you. I'll get to it.

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