Why Tough Love Is The Most Important Thing You Can Give A Friend
My friend and I were eating fries in a hole-in-the-wall burger joint. We were a little drunk, and she was crying over a guy she'd just stopped seeing.
“He was different!” she swore, between sobs. “He wasn't a f*ckboy, he cared!"
It was around then that my niceness wore out. I didn't get why my friend — an independent and confident woman — felt sympathy for the guy who stopped texting her after sleeping together for the first time. To me, he was a textbook f*ckboy. In her mind, he was misunderstood. I didn't get it.
“If he cared, you wouldn't be crying over him right now,” I said, perhaps more forcefully than she expected. “He was a dick, and you aren't seeing it."
“You're being weak right now,” I hissed. “I don't tolerate weakness. Get it together, move on and let's go dance.”
At that, she looked up. I probably could've been nicer, but that wouldn't have been authentically me.
I'm the queen of tough love, dealing with your problems and moving on with your day. It's just how I am. It's how I show I care, and there's nothing wrong with that. Let me explain.
Crying is bullsh*t.
My friends know better than to cry in front of me, because I won't tolerate it. To quote legendary boss lady Kelly Cutrone: “If you have to cry, go outside."
It's a productivity thing. I like knowing steps A, B and then C, the resolution to the problem at hand. Crying isn't a step, it's a way to dawdle around before getting your sh*t together and moving on. To me, crying is a self-indulgent sign you're wallowing in your own misery.
Don't get me wrong, some things do call for sobs. Tragedies, like a loved one dying, warrant tears. So does extreme physical pain. Videos of baby animals in shelters? I've bawled over those. A guy you've been seeing for a few months? Not really worth it.
Even the illusion of keeping it together is better than letting it all fall apart.
I'm forcing you to take responsibility for yourself.
I don't tolerate crying or listen to self-deprecating talk. If you want to vent to me, you'll have to accept my terms.
Don't get me wrong. I will listen, and even hug you if you're having a bad day. Your boyfriend is being awful? Screw him, first round's on me. But, when you moan about how terrible your life is and how no one will ever love you, I will walk away. I won't take the bait if you fish for compliments and reassurance.
The moment you start being proactive is the moment I'll listen.
Everything is temporary, even heartbreak.
Friends fight. Work people suck. Guys act like dicks. No matter how much everything seems to have gone downhill, it really hasn't -- and that's what I try to tell my friends.
The only true relationship is the one you have with yourself. All others end, by breakup or distance or,in the most extreme circumstances, death. No matter how permanent a person might seem, everyone's place in your day-to-day is temporary. My point is this: Being upset or angry about it is only hurting you.
Losing a job, a friend or a relationship isn't the end of the world unless you let it be. I'm not about to let my real friends make that mistake.
When my friends absolutely miserable, I'll be their shoulder to cry on. But, for anything less than that, they'd better be ready for a major reality check.