Best friend’s seen better

Joey Garcia

How much should I put up with from a best friend? Now that we live two hours apart, our seven-year friendship consists of occasional phone calls and my monthly visit to her. Guys come between us. For example, my friend said she would go to the party of a mutual friend with me, but she was too busy moving that weekend to hang out. She tried so hard to convince me not to visit, I didn’t. Well, she went to the party with a guy. I called her afterwards, but was mostly silent. I don’t want our friendship to end, nor do I want her to get away with this behavior because I put up with it all through college. Even last New Year’s she left me at a party while she went home with a guy. I know love affects people in weird ways and makes us act foolish, but is she taking advantage of being best friends?

Thinking that you’re being taken advantage of is a sign that either you’re denying your needs, your expectations are too high or you need a new definition of friendship. Being a best friend doesn’t mean you tolerate more betrayal than you would with someone who simply bears the title “friend.” A best friend is someone with whom your ego is simpatico, so you don’t have to deal with much dirt. It’s a generous, unified and kind relationship. Remember Charlotte’s Web?

It’s interesting that, after seven years, you think your friend should change. Her behavior has been the same from the beginning. Lust or infatuation affects us weirdly and makes us act foolishly. Genuine love, because it is based in spirituality and a passionate openness, brings out the best in us. I do strongly believe that true friendship is spiritual, i.e. based in genuine love. Genuine love, whether platonic or romantic, is unconditional in that it never ends. But genuine love includes this challenge: if you really love someone, you are willing to tell that person the truth. To tell someone the truth requires that you clean out the emotional charge, opinions and baggage that distract you from the truth. For example, your desire for your friend to be sorry for what you endured at the recent party is both baggage (from previous incidents) and an attempt to make yourself right and her wrong. She’s only wrong if, before this specific party, you both made a verbal agreement that you would return to her apartment together. Without a concrete contract, you are left with ambiguous expectations that translate into both of you thinking whatever you do is acceptable. That’s not the best scenario for friends.

Regarding your advice to the man who refused his parents’ money for a down payment on a house despite his wife’s wishes: my husband and I accepted the down payment on our first home from his mother. Committing to a mortgage gave us a reason to be responsible. Let the parents give.

You are forgetting that in his case strings were attached. His unedited letter specified that previous gifts of money from his parents resulted in their daily investigation of its use—a very different situation from yours. Read on.

I appreciate the advice you gave about taking stock of finances and intrinsic wealth. I love the idea of asking myself how/if a purchase will satisfy what really matters to me and whether it improves my capacity to take care of my future. Thanks!

Thank you!

Meditation of the week
“Through love all pain will turn to medicine,” said Rumi, the Sufi poet and teacher. Can you transform a raw wound from the past by bringing loving attention to the blessing you gained from your suffering?

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