Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Is this really the new definition of friendship?

by Annabelle Charbit (writer), New York, October 07, 2012

Credit: gavel

When did it become okay for friends to have strong opinions about my diet, lifestyle and marriage?

I grew up in a world where you supported your friends no matter what, and the only grounds for dumping a friend was if they were unpleasant directly to YOU.

Nowadays, it seems the rules of friendship have changed. You can be friends with someone for years, yet God help you if you make a bad personal decision that has absolutely no impact on them at all. Because you are liable to be judged and then dumped!

I have been dumped by a friend who disapproved of my high chocolate diet, deemed too selfish by another who disagreed with my point of view in an argument with my husband. Yet another friend couldn't stomach that I didn't rush back to work after baby number one, whilst one especially heinous individual turned on me after reading my portrayal of certain family members in my book. None of these friends dumped me for directly offending them.

It's pretty terrifying when you think that the cardinal rule for friendship has morphed from a requirement to be kind and supportive to your friends, to a requirement to be mindful that your personal lifestyle choices do not displease them.

Personally it has never occurred to me to dump a friend because I didn't approve of their diet, relationships or how many days a week they work. Perhaps I am too basic with my criteria for friendship limited to whether we can pass a pleasant evening together.

Clearly though, self-assigning oneself as the morality police is the new definition of friendship these days, and I didn't get the memo. Which I do find strange since there is always background and other intricacies unknown to the external eye, yet it is still okay to disregard all that and pass judgement anyway.

I do love to chat as much as the next person, but these days am constantly biting my tongue before revealing anything about myself lest it spawn judgement, hatred and ultimately rejection.

So to anyone reading this, I would like to say, seriously, unless you live in my head, are a fly on my wall or sleep under my bed, your role as friend is to respect and support every choice I make, in much the same way that I respect and support all your choices. You have no right to judge me. Certainly you are entitled to your opinion, and even to proffer advice, but to re-evaluate a friendship based on your belief that I should have let hubby go to the game last week, is taking it one step too far.

So please, I'd like to be friends the old fashioned way. Or not be friends at all...

Dr Annabelle R Charbit

Author of A Life Lived Ridiculously
When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder falls in love with a sociopath, she must fight for her sanity and her life.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Writer

Annabelle Charbit is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on Is this really the new definition of friendship?

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By TonyBerkman on October 07, 2012 at 01:30 am

interesting perspective .... I suppose it goes back to the saying about "birds of a feather." Perhaps we are ingrained that we should only hang with people that are exactly like us. I have found "friends" come and go based on what I can do for them... though looking back althought I believed they were friends, many weren't as they left when things became challenging and I couldn't support all the dinners and other things we had been doing. Either changing personally or losing a bunch financially are great litmus tests for true friendship.

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By Randy Mitchell on October 07, 2012 at 10:40 am

Very good article. Yes, friendship seems to have become subject to the sensitivity of others. And I for one, have less friends now than I did twenty years ago because of the absence of quality among many. There's still many good, decent people out there, but finding them is getting a little tougher.

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By Angie Alaniz on October 08, 2012 at 09:40 am

I don't think the rules have changed that much. I think we are fooled a lot when it comes to people who we think are our friends. However in your case with this certain person, I would say that they were never a real friend to you. So its proabably best they went their own way.

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By Lartinos on October 09, 2012 at 06:25 pm

There are often contributing factors beyond what we may originally think as well. It is easy to blame relationships on certain things, often times it is more commulative than we first think.

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By Katrina Lowrey on November 27, 2012 at 03:59 pm

Lately a lot of people have become very insecure and have reverted to infantile behaviours. Having to be with people who like everything you like is one of these survival insticts.

As for losing a friend over something you wrote about someone else, maybe they were affraid that one day it'd be them you'd be writing about? I can understand that.

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