*This blog ran as an article in the April 2011 issue of ALIVE Magazine with the saucy Ms. Janet Jackson on the cover. However, this is the uncut version of that article with more details about Leah and her bad behavior. Enjoy!
There are not many people in this world that I call a “friend”. Most people I know are classified as acquaintances. You know. People I’ve done shots with, made some bad decisions with, whatever. I take the responsibility of friendship seriously. It is not be trifled with. This is why I’ve been on countless committees, spent tons of money on charitable events and dragged myself to parts unknown like Chesterfield to volunteer for events.
So when I encounter a friend who drops the ball not because of mounting pressures, heavy workloads or day-to-day maintenance of a household and family but disappears into thin air because some guy came along and she somehow lost the ability to dial a phone or motor skills to type an email, well, I have to be offended. And let’s face it. The guy creating the time suckage is usually a guy who’s last work address was the prison laundry, thinks girlfriends are ATMs or drives a Mercedes yet has no visible means of income because he works in the ‘import and export’ of leafy plants.
Friends who have respectful, stand up boyfriends don’t need to be around them all the time. They trust them and even integrate them into the friendship fold. Friends who have ne’er-do-well boyfriends can’t let them out of their sight and certainly don’t want anyone to meet him and realize there’s something amiss with this guy. Managing that type is a 24 hour job. Hence, I don’t see the Houdini of girlfriends until the relationship hits rock bottom.
So imagine my irritation when one of my smartest, most successful girlfriends did the unthinkable. She became one of “those girls” who went M.I.A and fell off the face of the earth because of her boyfriend. I’ll call her Leah. That is her real name. She can suck it if she has a problem with me calling her out. Actually, she is quite excited that I am writing about her bad behavior. I love her enthusiasm. Let’s see if she loves me as much when she’s done reading this.
Leah. What can I say? She is a skilled attorney with a great wit and fabulous personality. She doesn’t know a stranger and gets along with everyone. A very devoted friend…most of the time. At the moment there is an APB out and the search has begun. Unacceptable. I have boyfriends. So does everyone else. I give relationships a thumbs up. However, please refrain from pulling a David Copperfield because of a nice piece of booty.
When is it acceptable to go missing? These are great defenses that may be used in the court of Pamela’s opinion to say you need some “me” time for a while:
- Your dog died. Yes, this is acceptable. Let me know where to send the sympathy card.
- Your boss is the ultimate bully and you have to take the brunt of hours that don’t end. Let me know where to send the hit man.
- Family ties are binding and need some TLC. Let me know where to send the bottle of vodka.
- You’re broke as a mofo. Hey, we’ve all been cashed strapped and partying is not in the budget. Let me know where to send you freelance work.
- Trying to lose some LBs? Dinners out are not in the cards with your best buddies. Let me know where to send the link to Weight Watchers.
Leah must answer to the following charge of friendship abandonment. Reasons that could cause me to issue an arrest warrant on charges friendship abandonment and lesser and included charges of neglect and silliness include the following:
- Cancelling plans last minute based on the needs of a boyfriend. If you already committed to a GNO (girls night out) then bail with a lame excuse a half hour before meeting up, I will get medieval on you.
- Taking on the chameleon effect by doing everything your new boyfriend likes. It’s one thing to support but another to drink the Kool-Aid. His competitive foosball career should not be a reason why you can’t go your best friend’s baby shower. Grow a set. Besides, he has a mommy. He doesn’t need you to praise him 24/7. Just sayin.
- Talking incessantly about your relationship. Friends are there to listen. But if you go on and on about problems that you don’t want to solve just to hear your lungs get some exercise, then shut up. If there is a ton of issues with the love of your life, it makes it more offensive that you would disappear from your friend’s lives to coddle him and his craziness.
Leah has opted to represent herself in these proceedings. Her defense:
On count one of cancelling plans – “Cancelling of plans for the needs of my boyfriend? Those facts unfortunately are not in dispute. My defense? Allow me to say before the court I am truly sorry. Best defense I can offer was it was not intentional and I didn’t mean to make my friends feel like they are not important. I have to start balancing new boyfriend with friendships. I’ll accept a lesser charge of lack of consideration.”
On count two of the chameleon effect – Leah admits she has been sheltering the new man from friends, interested parties, prying eyes. “I kept him to myself a little more to get to know him. But I do bring him out to happy hours with my Public Defender friends. If anything, he is becoming more interested in what I like rather than the other way around.” Leah’s argument is flawed on this one. She indeed does bring him out sometimes but she still does not make herself available without him thereby limiting access to her. However I will accept a lesser charge of aggravating me in the third degree.
On count three of word vomit regarding her boyfriend – Does Leah talk ad nauseum about her relationship? How would I know? She’s never around. This, of course, is my original point.
Ladies and gents, having a relationship isn’t an either / or proposition when it comes to friendships. Balance can be achieved if you want it. If you don’t, that’s another article for another day. Keep in mind that friendships are to be nurtured, not retreated like a pit stop between relationships or a port in a storm when it blows up. Leah is a dear friend and I wouldn’t think of ending a friendship over this. However, I would contemplate locking her up and throwing away the key of she does this again.