I'll never understand how people can be so consistently mean and selfish and get away with it. I think we've all been mean to someone at some time: maybe we were tired or scared or sad or angry. Maybe we thought we'd stretch our humor to a place that shouldn't be explored. Maybe, for one brief moment in time, we just wanted to care more about ourselves outwardly than about anyone else. So I'm not talking about universal perfection here. I'm talking about people with a pattern of meanness -- the people who get close enough to insert themselves into your life for the sole purpose of taking. You know the person -- the "unfriend". Now the pattern may look different from one of these flawed individuals to the next. Some look energetic and happy and über social, masking with freshness and fun the countless people whose feelings come invariably head first into the driving train of narcissistic energy that must constantly be fed. Those obstacles (people) on the track get hurled off the track by the shear speed and energy of the ball of narcissistic energy. Before anyone can see what happened, the train is gone, leaving the railroaded "friend" in the gully.
Is that painful? Sure. But its also somehow quick--like the proverbial band-aid and so somehow feels less insulting. And the collateral for quick is generally less.
Then there's the s-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-ww pull. The unfriend who builds the bond with you slowly, making it seem like they're the same as you when, in truth, they're really not any one. They're every one and any one that can get them what they need....where they want to go. Their fear and lack of confidence is their only defining quality. That, and their mastery of deception. It comes from practice: eluding, evading all while moving forever forward. Quieting the fear: of being different than other people; of being alone; of being rejected; of not being good enough; of failing; of being looked at too closely -- all these fears working in concert to make whatever is right in front of them the object of their energy. Their code seems to be:
- "Take what you can, give nothing because there's nothing to spare!" It's almost a war cry.
- Stay loose and nimble
- Be intentionally vague so you can never be accused of lying
- Always see people as assets with limited personal use; never get attached
- Only commit when its absolutely necessary to satisfy the above-mentioned fears
For these people, harvesting of the utmost importance. Grab what you can, and if you're really good, no one will notice until its too late. If you're extraordinarily gifted at the craft of self-preservation, you may even get people to feel sorry for you when you're done. The cardinal rule? Never, ever apologize. It's an admission of guilt.
My only reward for not being an Unfriend is that I'm NOT. My life is no more charmed or simple; filled with no greater riches or guarantees; filled with no fewer challenges, disappointments or fears. But I'm true. I'm real. My choices are real choices, not strategies. My not feeding my insecurities, I grow towards greater peace and less fear. My assets are my truth, my honesty and my empathy. Those others? I believe they're destined to be driven by fear; battered by bitterness and lonely in their own lives. And eventually, at some point, they'll be haunted by their inability to say "I'm sorry".
And that's my 5 Minutes of Nothing.