Monday, October 19, 2009

Interpersonal Decency FAIL

I would like to propose a hypothesis: Anyone who needs advice on whether to remain friends with people who mistreat them as horribly as this, has irredeemable self-worth issues. I'm not talking modern wishy-washy self-esteem issues but a complete blindness to the idea that your person has a worth and that your person is worth the effort to defend, comfort, and preserve.

That's totally aside from the complete failure of human decency exemplified by the deceptively-title "advice columnist". Many people around the web have commented on that perspective. However, I'd rather just note that to me friendship means you find a person worthy in some way of your time, companionship and private emotional life. And, presumably, they reciprocate. That's what makes people friends.

This woman, in needing to ask if she should remain friends with two women who obviously don't think she's worth the least inconvenience, expresses uncertainty herself as to whether she's worth getting up out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and being comforted. Think about that. I don't know this woman's history or any facts which would explain how she believes her friendship, those unique aspects of herself that only certain people know, is worth so little. I fear that her suspicions of her low-worth were so heartily confirmed by the columnist, who is irrevocably on my list of "Indecent Losers". Because it is fundamentally indecent to treat people like they are worthless, like no trauma or strain in their lives could possibly trump a broken fingernail in yours. And I mean "indecent" in the old-fashioned sense of the word. While I generally prefer our more informal free-wheeling times, when it comes to respecting the value of the person you're with (or at least showing respect), a little bit of propriety does a lot of good.

Maybe my opinion is influenced by the fact that I'm such an extremely introverted person. When socializing at all is so high stress, than you only choose to do it when it's really worth it to you. That's how I view my friendships. These are people who are worth my time and my private thoughts, whose companionship offers something unique that trumps the stress I sometimes feels when I am around others. From this introvert's point of view, why would I bother to befriend someone if I don't think they are worth doing inconvenient stuff for occasionally? Why would I befriend someone who doesn't think I'm worth driving to a hospital after I've been roofied?

From this comment on a blogpost about the column, here's another pertinent thought:

what to make of Rosenfeld’s comment that late-night help is only expected of husbands or boyfriends, not mere girlfriends? Lovely thought, that: “Unless someone’s having sex with you, don’t expect them to give the slightest damn about your well-being.”
My inner feminist weeps angrily.

Just thoughts, somewhat unfocused...

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