I have a friend that gives me homework. Every time I talk to him, I end up leaving with more to do than before I ran into him. Obviously, I’ve learned to avoid seeing him if at all possible.
I have another friend who would constantly make me feel bad for not speaking to her as often as she wanted. Interestingly, while her complaints would make me talk to her once, they also made talking to her less fun and thus made me wish to avoid her.
I think back to when I first cataloged friendship.
I have a new principle I will apply to my friends from now on. I call it Lassez-faire Friendship.
Lassez-faire is French for “let it be.” In government, lassez-faire means ‘do nothing and let the people figure it out.’ It’s a pessimistic approach to what a good government can do, but an optimistic view of the people and corporations (libertarian, almost).
In friendship, I mean it to be “let it be.” A friend, barring extraneous circumstances, should contact you about as often as you contact them.
- If a friend calls you more than twice as much as you call them, rethink the friendship. You might be in a bad situation, you might be busy, they might just care too much or you might not care enough. Either way, you might want to talk to them about it or get them a hobby or fake your death. I’m going to try that last one soon. It’s always been a life goal of mine and it’s about time I tried it.
- If the reverse is true and you call your friend far more than they call you, then guess what? You’re that friend. Yes, that one. Back off for a bit. See if you can do some other things with other people or by yourself (try that, maybe you need to do that more). You’re still going to stay friends with that person, it’ll just even out to the level of friendship it should be at in the first place.
And if your friendship depends entirely on you, such that you do then you’ve just defeated your own argument. You’re not friends. Friendships develop naturally, trying to keep them afloat artificially simply because you have no one else makes you lame: make more friends. Trying to keep a friendship afloat because you really, really enjoy the other person makes you a groupie, not a friend.
Don’t be a groupie, be a friend.