Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reflections on a Friendship

My friend is an idiot. He just is. He wasn't always this way. But in the last 6 years, he has substantially made wrong decisions over right ones. When he started to make a lot of bad decisions, I was the one who stood up to him to tell him he was being an idiot because no one else would. But he never listened to me. He doesn't listen to anyone. Because of who I am, I could never let someone I loved make wrong choices without me saying something (and from my viewpoint) try to help them. But as his choices got worse, so did my advice to help him which he quickly got tired of hearing. And this damaged our friendship to a point where I'm not sure it will ever be fully repaired. He's so bad now that I'm not sure I even want to be his friend anymore. I don't think I should feel partly responsible for who he is today, but I am positive that I drove him away. Perhaps if I hadn't, things would be different. But I'll never know now, and I have to live with that.

"Each one of us here today will, at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question. 'We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything is needed?' It is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or more often than not, the part we have to give...is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us...but we can still love them. We can love completely without complete understanding."
-from the movie
"A River Runs Through It"

5 comments:

Stace-Ghost said...

This situation also put me between a rock and a hard place. I tried to talk to this friend many times about him being an idiot and the following things happened:

1.) I felt (and still feel) that I was being a good friend because I knew he was not living up to his potential and I knew he had a good , rational side somewhere inside of him.
2.) We grew apart. I couldn't handle watching him throw his life away and he didnt want to hear me complain about it.

Now we are at such different places we cant even carry a simple conversation. I miss my friend, but our relationship will never be the same. Where do we draw the line between being a good friend by offering opinions/advice and offending the one you are trying to protect by being overbearing?

Nene said...

I lost a friend by "trying to help her". She ordered me out of her house. I feel bad that I lost that friend, but I do not feel bad by standing up to her and telling her that what she was doing was wrong. I cared about her and I tried to help her. What she did was cheat on her husband and ended up divorcing him, breaking her temple covenants, and leaving her children and going off with this guy. I felt by non saying anything, I would be condoning her actions. I didn't yell at her or rag on her, I just tried to sit and calmly talk to her. "The guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center" - Nephi, Book of Mormon. She took what I said to be hard, because she DID know that what she was doing was wrong, but she was not ready to stop doing it. It has been over 12 years now, and she has never returned to the church. This life is about agency - everyone has the choice to live his life, or screw it up. It's too bad we can't stop and listen to advice that those who love us try to give us. We only give the advice because we care so much, so why get mad because someone loves and cares about you?

Delirious said...

I think there is a difference between advice and criticism. I was talking to a family member about their habit of thinking they had to tell their relatives if they thought they weren't living right. I told them they only drive them away when they criticize. This person said, "That's okay, I want them to know what I believe.". I said, "They already know what you believe. You don't think they do? But when you criticize them, you burn the bridges of communication." I think it is a fine line to walk.

Rintor said...

I too went through a very similar situation with one of my friends. In the end, he wouldn't change his ways now matter how many people were trying to help and support him (and many, many people were). However, I had to distance myself from this person because his life choices were affecting me and might have soon affected my wife and any children I would have. While I still love this person, I can no longer help him because he slipped too far. This is a part of life, and not uncommon. Remember how Lehi felt when he watched Laman and Lemuel let go of the iron rod and wander into the darkness no matter how loudly he called to them?

Inside Stories said...

Delirious, you said what I was going to say, and I think we were thinking about the same person.
Confess, it family, weren't we ALL thinking of the same person through this blog? :0)