Once upon a time, there was a man and the man had a job. The man hated his job and the environment in which he worked, but he made a decent salary. At that job, the man had a friend.
The man’s friend was a difficult person. She was cranky and verbose. She frequently verbalized negative feelings for the entire office to hear and she seemed married to those negative feelings unwilling to part with them in favor of happier possibilities. The man didn’t enjoy this characteristic of the friend, but when the friend wasn’t behaving in this unpleasant manner she was a decent friend.
But the man had a problem (or a few) and his job was becoming more and more difficult to tolerate. The customers became harder to deal with and his office mates were growing increasingly nasty. The man began to withdraw himself from the environment around him and focus on his own responsibilities leaving the rest to deal with their own issues. As time progressed the man found it harder and harder to deal with what was happening around him at work.
One day the man’s friend came into his office and sat down, uninvited, in his guest chair. This was not a new occurrence, however, in the past that man had been able to guard himself against the assault of anger and negativity the friend would spew. On this day, however, that man was feeling weak and tender and was unable to guard himself. To make matters worse, the friend began to spew her venom upon a subject that while about another, was a sore spot for the man. The man asked a question that happened to oppose the friend’s spewification and was immediately bitch slapped for having such audacity! Upon realizing the direction this rant would take, the man shut his mouth, tried to shut his ears, and held on tight for the bumpy ride.
Soon the friend gave up and left, allowing the man to try to decompress from the hellacious onslaught, unlikely though it was. The next morning the man read a post upon the friend’s blog in which, with much passive aggression, the friend ripped the man a new one for being such a bad friend, worse than the friend who always sitteth and listeneth to the man when he venteth his woes to her.
The man was taken aback, in part by the anger contained in ye old post, but also by the utter and complete lack of understanding the friend was showing for the man’s plight. The man knew the friend to be a regular reader of his own blog and thought sure, she could understand from reading the likes of Volcano, Slaying the Beast and I’m OK that he had all the burden he could bare already resting upon his weary shoulders. Alas, she did not perceive the pain and discomfiture the man already endured, nor the harm being inflicted upon his distressed and aching heart.
The man pondered the friends words for some time and began to feel a similarity between the friends words and actions, and the actions of so many others and so he did what he always does when there are feelings to express and no one to express them to, he wrote about them. He spoke in generalities about a characteristic of mankind, about the hurtful selfish actions of so many and about the pain he was in and how it was compounded by those actions. The man knew the friend would read these words. He did not write these words about the friend. The words were inspired by, but not directed at, the friend and yet, when the friend read the words, she did as she always does. She took them personally. The friend decided that the words were aimed directly at her. She decided that the words were an assault on her own person.
Disregarding the true sentiment of the words she’d read, the generalized commentary on society at large, the friend determined that the words were directed toward her and that they were in some way deprecative of her worth as a human being. And so the friend did what she does when she feels this way; she wrote another passive aggression filled blog post, in which she told the man that he was right about her being a bad person and a bad friend and that they could no longer be friends. She wrote that the man was apparently a Eunuch as he was unable to convey his feelings about her to her and that now she understood where things stand such that going forward the only interaction the man and the friend would have would be of a “professional” work related manner.
The man was a little bit ashamed to admit that a great sense of relief came with those words. It is always unfortunate when a friendship ends, especially when the reasons are unfounded, but the man quickly realized that a lot of energy had gone into his attempts to maintain his relationship with the friend and he simply could not spare the energy any longer.
Quickly, the man realized, he was better off without the draw on his resources and that the friend was the one who would be at a loss.
It is the common assumption that a fairy tale such as this is to end with “And they all lived happily ever after”, but somehow, I doubt that to be true for those involved in this story. At best we can hope for, “And they all lived with a little less anger, hurt and despair, ever after.”