When I was in college I had a friend.
For protection of anononmity, we shall call her Jane.
Jane was a good girl. She didn’t drink much or smoke or do drugs. She could always be depended on to drive the rest of us drunk ass fools home…if she stayed long enough…which she often didn’t. Cause she was tired and needed her beauty sleep. She didn’t like to stay up late because she liked to get up early and have some quiet reflection time.
I am not making this shit up. Only the ridiculous name Jane.
(I am sorry if your name is Jane)
(I’m not, I am not sorry)
Then Jane met…um…fuck it, this guy was a total jerk so I am gonna name him. His name is Kevin.
Kevin, if you are out there, I still hate you. Stupid Jerk.
Kevin was full of himself. Ginormous ego. All the girls wanted him and it fed him, the wanting. He was a charmer. He could get women to do all sorts of bat shit crazy stuff for him. Not me, he made me throw up in my mouth a little when he poured the charm on me. But most women wanted this guy. It made no sense.
But given my recent relationship history, maybe it does. Anyway, I digress.
So Jane fell in love with Asshole Kevin. To save time, I am just gonna call Kevin asshole from here on out.
You know what happened. Asshole cheated, lied, stole, transmitted herpes…all the things an asshole does to the sweet Christian girl who liked to get up early for quiet reflection time.
Everyone sat back and watched it happen and braced themselves for the fall out. Maybe they mentioned a little concern here and there to Jane but mostly they all just sat back and let it happen. Let Asshole ruin Jane’s life and didn’t say a word.
Except for me. I spoke up. Cause I have a huge mouth and I gave a damn about Jane and didn’t want to see her get her heart broken or…I don’t know…get herpes or whatever.
And she hated me for it. She stopped being my friend.
That was that.
We stayed friendly, we still are…20 some odd years later. I am the only the one who questioned her judgement and told her not to do it, warned her that she was stepping onto a very dangerous path. I said the words, “that guy is an asshole, don’t do it.”
And she did it anyway and I lost out.
I wonder about it. If that’s what a true friend does…sits back and waits for the fallout? Do you speak up and say, “what the hell are you thinking, honey? Pause…take a deep breath, love is making you crazy…” or do you remain silent?
I am watching, as an outsider, another sequence of questionable events take place right now. I am not involved. It’s certainly not my place to say anything. But I wonder why someone closer to the two people (neither of which are assholes, as far as I can tell) dive too fast into a potential tragedy for one or both of them…why no one is saying a word to them.
What kind of friend doesn’t say something? Come on, now…you are all saying it to each other. Why not say it directly to them? Why?
I did some crazy love induced bad decision making about a year ago. I think back now and try to remember who told me to slow down. Yep, there were some warnings. They were gentle but they were there. Slow down. Take your time. No need to make any grand decisions right now.
My brother got aggressive about it. Told me I was ruining my life. But his advice was filled with anger and self interest. I didn’t hear him at all. in fact I hated him for it. I still hate him for it a little bit. No, a lot. But not for saying something…for how he said it. The way he said it. For calling me stupid. For doubting the purity of my heart.
So maybe that’s the key. Saying it carefully and filling your words with love and care. Not anger and judgement.
Because love makes you act crazy, make bad decisions. Love starts you on fire and the flames affect your thinking.
So I think a true friend has to say something. They have to say it. And they should say it with love and expect it to fall on deaf ears. Ears filled with love crazy. And then they should wait around for the moment when they have to help pick up the shattered broken pieces of their dear friend up off the floor and help them through the heartbreak part.
And when that moment comes, and sometimes it doesn’t…like the one in five million times when people commit too fast without knowing each other well enough…they are not allowed to ever say the words…
I tried to tell you but you wouldn’t listen.
A true friend never says that.
That much I know for sure.