Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big Mouth

There is a book that I just read, it was a novel called Driving Sideways, (I totally recommend it) and it was about a road trip that a girl took and picked up her best friend along the way. She wasn't supposed to pick her up, but the friend decided to break off her engagement and leave her fiancée. So while the best friend is ranting about how much she hates the fiancée, the girl that the book is about narrates how she wants to rant along about how much she hated the fiancée, and what a smart decision her friend is making, but she won't. Because your job as a best friend is to listen to the venting and nod your head and not fuel the fire and say something that you'll regret later should they decide to get back together. My point? I am not that friend. I am the person who rants right along, who expresses my concern in a brutally honest way, and the person who says things that she regrets later because, well, they are true!

For example, my good friend recently was having a hard time in her marriage. I remember one particular phone call where I was stuck in traffic driving home from O’Hare. So this was probably a good 2 hour call. I knew many stories about her husband and events that would happen when they drank together and went out with friends. (also having been a part of one of those stories, I might have had a little bias) So when she told me of yet another, and how she was going to counseling but didn’t see the point, I was honest when I told her that she was talking as if her marriage was already over and they had filed for divorce. Even though they hadn’t, and supposedly were trying to make it work. I was that friend who said, “He did what??” and “He said that??” And, “I don’t know how you should have handled that or how you are going to get him to change.” Because to me? The behavior was not acceptable. And my opinion is obviously what matters most.

What should I have done? Listened, and not offered my "marriage counselor who would be a terrible marriage counselor" opinion. (BTW, they are now divorced, and I am convinced that she is much happier for it. Some people just grow apart.) As much as I try, and I have tried over the years, I just can’t be that friend who keeps her trap shut. Most of my friends know this, and I think secretly when they pick up the phone to call me in tears, they want to husband-bash, because I will totally engage. And I am not saying that I have stopped trying to not bad mouth people, but sometimes, I just can’t help it. It’s like offering candy to a 3 year old and thinking they’ll say, “Oh no thanks, I don’t want to rot my teeth.” Just. Doesn’t. Happen. Not in my world anyway.


Anonymous said...

Yes Gail...we love you just the way you are. Don't change!

Jess Riley said...

Gail, thanks for reading the book! I LOVE your views on whether or not to speak up when friends are involved with losers.