Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Femme fatale

Every girl has three kinds of friends — the ones who like her when she is happy, the ones who like her when she is sad and the ones who like her no matter what. Depending on what stage of life or mind you are in, the population of each of the above categories varies. The last kind is what makes a friend for life, so if you have two or more in that one, consider yourself blessed. The first one is not too bad per se — except that its longevity is questionable and one tends to have too many miscellanous files open at some point, and too much access to too many people.

It is the second category that can really get into murky waters — most of us, at some point or another have had friends who thrive on our pain, and use it as an opportunity to remind us how sorted they are.
I have had them too… and didn’t even know for quite a long while. But wisdom has finally caught on, and now I can sniff pain junkies from a mile. They are the ones who look for scabs that they can poke and prod — till they get you to a point when you feel miserable about yourself, and then they offer you their shoulder.

It’s like they need your pain to validate their presence. Think about it, you know it’s a no-win — if you are happy, you wont be by the end of the conversation. And if you are sad, you will be worse.
Either way, the power equation is firmly established by them asking all the questions and wanting to be the ones with all the answers — while you, completely unaware of the powertics, strip yourself of all emotions. Remember, the rule of the game is to start asking the questions. It’s always easier than answering, so why can’t you be the one who has the better job?

With men, it is different. They never really allow that degree of access to anyone, and besides, they hate answering questions. If you do friendships like a man, you are less likely to get hurt. Most men have ‘best friends’ who don’t know their secrets — but it doesn’t matter — there is not much emotion invested, and hence no major disappointments. The flip side is, they usually extend themselves to utterly random ‘friends of friends,’ who might think it is legitimate to call upon them in times of need.

Coming back to where we began, there is hope. All we need is to do some serious flushing, like I have. The last time a pain parasite called me to ask me how I was doing and what’s new and if I was happy and all that random collection of data, my antennae were on alert. I told her it was all good — work, life and love couldn’t be better, and began my barrage of questions. She hasn’t called back. Am guessing the power equation has shifted.

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