Friday, October 16, 2009

Thank Goodness I Was Discerning About My Best Friend Pick In Pre-School

And those friends I made since then, because otherwise I may believe that
BFFs are great when you’re upset about a boy/sick cat/whatnot. But there are limits to friendship...
Luckily, I've got myself a great best friend. One I can go to with more than boys or sick cats or whatnot. One I could call early in the morning hours to come and get me from the streets or who would come to the ER if I found myself there in a bad way. That is, if she had her cell phone near her and the ringer on (there's a reason we're best friends). I had thought that this is typically why people have best friends instead of just regular old friends - so that you could have someone who would be great if your biggest problem was that you have a sick cat or if your biggest problem is a great deal larger than that. Apparently, though, being there for anything above and beyond "sick cat" is too much to ask for from a best friend. Like, say, not abandoning a best friend at a club without knowing whether or not she wants to be abandoned there and begrudgingly picking said friend up from the hospital after she had been "slipped a mickey". At least, that's what Friend or Foe tells me.

The letter is as follows:
A couple of weeks ago, my two closest friends and I went to a small live-music venue to hear a band. While at the concert, someone “slipped me a mickey.” I remember nothing about the rest of the evening, but I was told that the police officer found me lying alone on the sidewalk. I came-to in the hospital E.R.—alone. The entire experience was frightening.

Since then, I’ve tried to piece together what happened. Apparently, at the end of the band's set, I left for the ladies room with my purse—and didn’t come back. My friends figured I had left, so they left, too. Later, when I called them from the street, sobbing in hysterics and asking for help, they told me to go back to the club and that they would have an ambulance pick me up there. When my mother—who lives 2,000 miles away (and hopped on a plane the next day to be with me)—later called these two friends of mine to beg them to join me while I was recovering, they refused. It wasn't until I told them that the hospital wouldn’t release me until I had someone to drive me home that they came to pick me up. They then angrily drove me to my car, and I drove home alone. By then, it was the next morning.

I have known these girls for more than 10 years, and had until now considered them my best friends. But I can't help feeling as though they’d abandoned me. If I found out one of them had been taken to the hospital, I would have dropped everything and gone to be by her side. Am I expecting too much from my best friends, both of whom are mid-twentysomething professional women?
The response? Well, that leaves a lot to be desired. Let's take that from the top, mkay?
Wow, that’s a tough call.
Really? A tough call? Your friend calls you, hysterical in the middle of the night, and it's a touch and go thing whether or not you should book it to the hospital when her mother calls and asks you to sit with her?
A spouse or even a boyfriend? Yes, it would be his or her duty to haul ass to said hospital at 4 a.m.
Well, yes. A spouse or a boyfriend would be driven to haul ass to said hospital, though hopefully out of something more than simply "duty".
But your single female friends who are already, presumably tucked in their beddy-bies?
Should also be hauling ass to said hospital at 4 a.m., not in the least out of concern because the last time they saw their friend, she was heading off to the bathroom. Which means they should be incredibly concerned that her evening ended in the hospital. Because friendish people tend to care when even their liked ones end up in the hospitals after a night spent mostly together. But in this specific case, it seems more likely this woman's friends were not called at 4 in the morning, but instead later along in the day. Which makes their refusal to come to the hospital all the more appalling.
For one thing, it’s not even necessarily safe—depending on where you live and how far you live from the hospital—for a woman to head out alone at that hour.
I'll concede this one, if we're talking about the original sobbing hysterical phone call. And even then, I would expect my best friend to at least feel bad about the not coming out to collect me.
For another, presumably, by the time your mother called you were out of danger.
But not this one. Because, really. One of the reasons to have someone at the hospital with you isn't because you're in danger, but because you've gone through a traumatic experience. And may want some recognizable and sympathetic people hanging around to calm you down.
Yes, overnights at the E.R. are the opposite of fun. So are disastrous drug trips. (I had one in my twenties, which pretty much sealed my fate as an illegal-substance ninny.)
Um... What don't you get about being "slipped a mickey"? That isn't a "disastrous drug trip"; at least, not a voluntary one. That is being drugged without one's knowledge or consent. That is the whole point behind the phrase "being slipped a mickey". A "mickey" isn't something you take for funsies. A mickey is something someone covertly gives you because they want to do all sorts of illicit things to you you may otherwise object to.
But only nuns make it out of youth without a few ambulance rides.
Wait, what?

No, seriously, what?!

And with that, we pick up at the sick cat line:
Here’s a little secret. BFFs are great when you’re upset about a boy/sick cat/whatnot. But there are limits to friendship—limits that don’t apply to our romantic partners or close family members.
Well, yeah. Most people don't share bank accounts with their best friends, or expect their best friends to co-sign loans. But coming to hang with someone when they're in the hospital after a roofie incident? That's not one of the limits I would reasonably expect on my best friendship.
And the piece de resistance:
I also wish they’d been a less critical of what was, by your account, a freak incident. Why were they so unforgiving? I’d wager a guess that they think you’re lying about the mickey, tales of which are sometimes used as a cover for irresponsible behavior. (Only you know the truth.)
There is so much fail contained in those lines, I don't even know what to say. Seriously. Don't even know what to say. Except what kind of dumb ass friends does this Lucinda Rosenfeld think are acceptable?

Let me say this: friendships aren't really that complicated, especially in situations like this. If your friend ends up in the hospital, go there. It really should be just about that level of simple.

(h/t Feministe)


Emily said...

I read about this on so many sites. This woman got so much crap about this advice. What was she thinking? Although, if I were the sick girl, instead of bothering to write a letter to an advice columnist I'd be bitching out my terrible "friends."

petpluto said...

Although, if I were the sick girl, instead of bothering to write a letter to an advice columnist I'd be bitching out my terrible "friends."

You know, I'm always surprised at the things the majority of people write into advice columnists about. A lot of it seems like it should be common sensical - like having your friends abandon you in a club and then be angry they have to come get you out of the hospital. It seems clear that those people aren't, actually, friends. And yet, that seems to be a leap most people just don't make.