Fiction: Friends with Amenities
By Justin Jones
Asshole! Douchebag! Emotionally void waste of space!
I’m going to tear his face off!
Cheater! LIAR! Heartless f***er from hell!
There, there. Calm down, pussycat. So he cheated on you. It’s not that bad. I mean, your trust was violated, your heart’s been torn from your body, thrown to the ground, and stomped on seemingly to no end. Aside from your freshly razed, now utterly meaningless life and that you are now in such a state of shock and rage that your next decisions might call for a defense of “Crime of Passion” in court—aside from these things, it’s not all that bad.
Time will heal everything, my love.
What’s that? You don’t care for my advice? You don’t believe, while in a state of explosive irrationality, that things will get better? Well excuse me for trying to put you in a better mood.
Humor will cheer you up. Oh wait, no it won’t.
… so says your friend.
Friendship. Friends are the grandest of life’s amenities. Through (mostly) infinite and well-timed wisdom, they teach us to live better and with more purpose. They keep us grounded and lift our spirits. They hold our hands without condescension. They reserve judgment but speak honestly. They guide us.
But friendship is too often romantic. When volatile emotions arise, they, those whose duty it is to rekindle our will, will default to fantastic things that lead us into well-intentioned but terrifically troublesome directions.
Put metaphorically, friends hold syringes, and in these syringes are friendship-y things like little white lies—“Yes! Those jeans look great on you!”—and ins\ide jokes and treasures from our past. Our friends use these needles when we’re with them to sustain our good humor when we have it, and to give us good humor when we don’t. Sometimes, though, when the road back to happiness is foggy, their syringes miss our veins and cause us agony through bad or poorly timed advice.
“He who gives advice is probably he who never takes it,” once said that fabulously prolific man we call “Anonymous.” And though this quote may not parallel exactly our position on friendship, it portrays a hypocrisy inherent to our condition: were the roles reversed during a crisis akin to the aforementioned, your friend, whose purpose was to strengthen you, would perceive the advice as you perceive it now: as a load of total bullshit.
Cannot our friends see that sometimes we needn’t be bothered with unsolicited advice? Cannot they see that sometimes, when we’re on the verge of a meltdown, that their words live on a knife edge? That even the thinnest sliver of the perceived wrong kind of consoling will set us back further still? Why don’t they either leave us alone or serve as a quiet sounding board off which we might vent? Why do they always have to respond?
Imagine one who didn’t.
Justin Jones is a columnist for Lavender Magazine, Guy Magazine, and Florida Agenda Newspaper. He writes about things like being alive, being in love, and drinking too much. Facebook.com/JustinJonesWriter.
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