Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m in the middle of a fight with my friend. My side: She’s always
negative, complains ad nauseum about everything from a stubbed toe
to a flat tire. She’s living very very close to the edge financially, but
alternates between denial and crisis. Last week she found out she
needed two thousand dollars for house repairs. A colleague had just
said she needed someone to help her with organizational chores
(something my friend could easily handle) and was willing to pay
$1500. My friend said no to the work, saying she “wanted to work on
her art.” She “jokes” that when she has no more money she’ll move in
with me. Not! Oh yes, she’s stoned on pot at least half the time.
Her side: I “worry” too much, am too concerned about money and material
fears, and don’t trust the benevolence of the universe. She’s
“disappointed” in me as a friend because I don’t listen to her like I
used to in the days when she declared that we had a “whining clause.”
She was so “hurt” she said she wanted to “take a break” but I know
it’s a guilt trip to get me to apologize. Now what?
Dear Lose Lose:
I’m reminded of the old joke about the guy in the flood who keeps
beseeching God to be rescued. A boat drifts by, then a helicopter
comes, but the guy on the roof lets them pass by, then calls out to
God. The voice comes from the heavens: I sent a boat; I sent a
helicopter. How much more rescue do you want? In her case the
admin job was the rescue, and the fact that she turned it down tells
me a lot.
I’d take her up on her offer. First email and say you’re going to think
about it for a week. But if you do not feel more compassionate,
patient, and co-dependent after Yom Kippur, then tell her you agree
with her, that you need to take a break. Say you think you’ll both need
to change to heal the relationship, but you will insist in more honesty.
Don’t expect her to appreciate your decision. She’ll probably be angry. But you are at a crossroads with this friendship and are going to need
to be clear about what boundaries you are willing to accept or not.
Also if you’re willing to be her safety net when all else fails.