You, gentle reader, like me, have quite a few friends on that friends list of yours. People you friend in a moment of madness and never quite remember where you met them or why you friended them in the first place. People you want to stay in touch with because, well, they’re the business! And then there are others who just mean a lot to you. The kind of people you can have a laugh with, hang out with and just generally be crazy with. Someone you can tell jokes to, or your innermost secrets. Those special people you wish you had in RL.
However, those people who are in your inner circle (and you in their’s) are a fragile crowd. After all, it takes just one incident to smash that bond forever and ruin what once was good. So exactly how far can you go in a solid friendship without ripping everything to shreds?
I have a friend who is considering dating someone who I consider one of Second Life’s greasiest men ever. There’s something about him that makes me want to be physically sick and it’s been that way since I had the misfortune of being in the same region as him. He has a split personality it appears; one minute speaking his mind, the next trying to back away with apologies and token gestures. There’s just something in the back of my head that doesn’t seem enamoured with him. Is it jealousy? Is it anger? Is it genuinely fear for my friend?
So, do I step up and tell my friend about how I feel about this guy? Or do I step back and let her make her own mistakes?
I mean, ultimately, it’s none of my damn business what she does or who she sees. But I’ve been around long enough to spot these kind of creatures so I know the signs. He might prove me wrong, there is that chance, but there’s still that something that tells me I’ll be dealing with hurt feelings, broken hearts and tears in the near future. I can’t shake it and I don’t know why…
If you were in this situation, what would you do?
Personally, I’ll be stepping back and letting her get on with it, despite my character aching to tell her otherwise. Why? Because a true friend lets their friends make mistakes, with the best will in the world. A true friend will be there to patch up a broken heart, rub ointment on those tattered feelings and mop up the tears with their shoulders. A true friend…doesn’t get involved. It’s very easy to say “I told you so” after the event. Everyone is an expert with hindsight; some choosing not to say anything, some choosing to break it gently and a few just coming out with it and saying “WHAT DID I SAY AT THE START?!?”. I, dear reader, will be the saying nothing type, although inside I’ll be the other two as well, silently.
So what is the job of a friend really? Everyone has their own definitions. My definition is someone who is there no matter what, but stays out of personal lives. Someone who watches from afar and observes when things go wrong, and is there to help out when needed. And, most importantly, says nothing.
But what if I did voice my opinions about him and she took that badly? Is it worth ruining a friendship just to be proved right/wrong in time? In my opinion, no. If/when she gets turned over by this guy and she asks me if I saw anything bad about him from the start, I will say no. This negates the “well, why didn’t you say something?” conversation. That could possibly be seen as lying, but what is a friend to do? When things turn to affairs of the heart, nobody wins. There is always a loser and you have to make sure it’s not you.
Just step back, watch and wait.