When “Shelly” was a teenager she did a lot of drugs and made a ton of stupid decisions. The friends she had in high school were all bad news. Have you ever heard the colloquialism “An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind“, well that is true of Shelly. She wanted to be loved and accepted by her friends so she was a pushover when it came to them influencing her.
After she graduated high school things were actually going good for her. She found a new set of friends in college, was doing well in her studies, and had sobered up almost 100%. But then she graduated and didn’t find a job right away, and then one thing led-to-another….Shelly found herself hanging out with that bad crowd from high school again. Only this time they are all college graduates going nowhere in life; wasting their life away by getting drunk, strumming chords, and contributing nothing positive to the world.
Shelly and I talked for a few minutes yesterday but she was too zoned out to have an intelligent conversation. She got her coffee and took off.
Many of us find it difficult to break loose from the bad influences in our lives, too many of us find ourselves back where we started…..is there any hope? Isn’t it weird how many of us are connected to ‘bad people’ and how difficult it is to break away from them?
—) unhealthy relationships
—) intrusive parents
—) friends who are bad news
Why do we keep going back to unhealthy situations? I suspect it’s because at the core of our nature is a hunger for community; we are social creatures and we don’t want to be alone. We don’t want to feel isolated; we don’t want to be by ourselves. And so, when we feel as though things in life aren’t going our way, we run back to the only community we feel at home in….even if it is an unhealthy relationship or unhealthy group of friends.
Let’s be honest, it can be really tough to make new friends. You can’t snap your finger and create an entirely new social group comprised of emotionally healthy men and women. Life just isn’t that easy. Making good friends takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of self-sacrifice on our part. And I suspect that is why so many of us put off making new friends; it’s tough work.
Yet what is the alternative? If we don’t commit ourselves to building a positive social community does that mean some of us are stuck in bad situations for life? If we aren’t willing to take the time necessary to building a positive relationship with someone, does that mean we are doomed to be in an abusive one?
When I was a teenager a good friend of mine kept getting beat up by her boyfriend. Her parents, family and friends all begged her to leave the abusive boyfriend….but nothing that was said was able to get her to leave. It wasn’t until many years of looking at her bloodied face in the mirror that she finally left the a** h***. And so, when I saw Shelly at coffee yesterday I thought of that friend from my youth; until Shelly comes to a point where she wants to give up the drugs, the bad friends, and unhealthy life she is in….there’s nothing I can say that can change the situation.
All I can do is to be there for people….right?
—) When someone needs to talk we need to be there to listen
—) When someone needs to cry we need to offer them a shoulder to cry on
—) When someone is hungry we need to offer them something to eat
We can’t force our opinions onto people who are stuck in a bad situation. They have to come to the conclusions on their own. Until they are ready to truly deal with the issue, there is nothing we can say or do that will expedite the process.
I’ve often thought that the worst thing we can do to people in bad situations is to try and force our opinions on them…because the last thing they want to hear is someone ‘preaching’ at them. The last thing they want to hear is someone telling them “what the hell are you doing with yourself?”
Sometimes we have to let people drink bad coffee……
But bad coffee for me? I’ll pass….give me the good stuff
Categories: Culture & Society