Column: The Great Dissappearing Act
“XXRayVision” blogger Pamela Raymond presents a case of the good friend gone boyfriend crazy.
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. 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, well, I have to be offended. And let’s face it; half the time the guy creating the time suckage is a guy whose 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 their men 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 them. 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.” I’ll call her Leah—that is her real name. (Actually, she is quite excited that I am writing about her bad behavior. I love her enthusiasm.)
Leah. What can I say? She is a skilled attorney with a great wit and fabulous personality. 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. But when is it acceptable to go missing? These are great defenses that may be used in the court of Pamela’s opinion:
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 cash 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 of friendship abandonment and lesser charges of neglect and silliness include:
Canceling 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 to 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 are 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.
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. 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 if she does this again.
Never one to believe that sleep is completely necessary, Pamela keeps a hectic social schedule, so she sees a lot of relationship dilemmas. A native of New Orleans, Pamela infuses a mix of Southern sass and Yankee tough love in all of her columns. Pamela also writes a blog for “Girls Guide To The Galaxy” and uses her MBA from Maryville University to run her own PR and events firm, The Raymond Experience. You can follow her on Twitter @RayExperience.
Photo credit: Illustration by Sarah Quatrano