Wednesday, September 1, 2010

People Who Cry Wolf - It's Time To Say Goodbye

We all know what "crying wolf" means. I think we all might have a friend who we know "cries wolf" constantly; always looking for attention (and not just Twittention; they need more than that) by making up stories, overdramatizing the trouble in their lives, etc. That person who says, "Oh you think you have it bad..."

But until they do something highly annoying or they completely wrong you out of left field (usually behind your back and then gasp and hem and haw when you find out about it), they remain harmless. Ironically, they end up being the friend who actually is gossiped about the most in your circle, as the rest of us shake our heads in wonder and laughter.

I have a friend like this. Or should I say had. I could mean that twofold. On one hand, this person is someone whom I no longer consider a friend because they lied to me constantly. On the other hand, this person could be dead right now. Or that might be what they want the entire universe to think via their Twitterthon of desperate messages over the past 48 hours (before they finally closed their accounts).

My ex-friend is/was a pretty good person, when they were motivated, remained in therapy and on medication, and were in their early 20s. They would be the person you wouldn't see for weeks but when they showed up, it was always a good time. They always had problems holding on to money, but when they had money, they were generous with their friends. Sounds like your average twentysomething, right?

Well, as those of us who have passed through our 20s and survived know, as you reach the end of the 20 line, you start to realize that maybe you might want to buy a condo/house/trailer some day. Maybe you might want to get married, have kids, go on that dream vacation, or you might even have to take care of your parents some day. You realise that the credit cards aren't going to pay for themselves (no matter how many contests Visa might run). So you slowly start to put the party clothes away, and mature bit by bit, or, as the kids say, "get old". And that $4000 you loaned your friend when they were down and out and needed first and last month's rent on a place "which is so cool, and you'll come over all the time, and I'll pay you back because I have this job all lined up at this really great place" starts to earn interest like nobody's business. You need that cash for that 20% mortgage downpayment. Or to pay back the person you borrowed it from (dad/mom/grandma). So you turn into Paulie Walnuts and go collecting.

Only your friend never seems to have the money. The job fell through, so the apartment fell through, and the building management kept the last month's deposit because they didn't fulfill the rental contract...the excuses spiral out of control as fast as your friend is turning.

Worse - you're in a new relationship with the most romantic person you've ever met. They wine and dine you, they buy you gifts, they make you feel like there's nobody else on earth, and they become your best friend forever. But they're a little short on cash right now as they had to pay back another friend some money for first and last month's rent, so would you mind picking up the tab?

"I'll pay you back."

Then, down the road, when you realise that you've been paying for all of your romantic evenings, your new partner's debts ("I can't quite make minimum payment this month"), and for all of your new partner's sundries, you call your partner out on it because, look, you didn't go looking for equal rights in order to just become an inadvertent sugar daddy/mommy. All of a sudden, you're a cheating (man)whore, and you get the worst verbal scathing attack you've ever received. Your name is blasted across social media with words that would make a club bathroom wall blush. You don't even know what hits you, and then, suddenly, the most romantic person in the world decides to break up with you. And doesn't even tell you - they just broadcast it in that most passive aggressive way across the Twitterverse and other social media sites.
Standing back and reflecting, I'm glad I never loaned my friend money. I always knew better. But I got sick  of the wolf cries, especially when one of them hurt the child of someone who has become a good friend of mine. That same child that my ex-friend referred to not two weeks earlier as "my daughter".

So I called my friend out on their behaviour. And of course I've not ever heard back.

Do I miss my friend? Sure I do. I miss the really good person who was there for me when my husband died, and when I was having problems with my current partner at the start of our relationship. I miss the person who was the best uncle a kid could ever have. I miss the person who introduced me to some of the nicest people I've met in my life, one of whom has passed on himself, others who no longer speak to me because they think I'm still friends with him.

But after all the wolf cries, I'm not sure if that good person even existed.

The suicide cry has always been this person's last resort, and I hear it's happening now. If that is indeed the case, then, and this is going to sound Antarctic-frigid, this person has to decide for himself what he is going to do. If he wants the therapy he needs, or if he wants to put things right, only he can decide. If he wants to attempt suicide again, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

Each of us has a rock bottom. Some of us do our best to stay the hell far far away from it. Some of us love to hover close to the edge, finally pulling ourselves up after touching its cold, damp surface and staying there for too long. And some people don't even know when they've reached it until it's too late.

If someone chooses to cry wolf, as we all know, eventually, you're going to get bitten. As for the rest of us villagers, sometimes the best thing we can do is turn a deaf ear, no matter how difficult and heartless it may seem.

I hope for the best here, I expect the worst, and anything in between is just the wheel of wolf crying starting another cycle.

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