October 7th, 2012 10:23 EST
The Rules of Friendship Have Changed
When did it become okay for friends to have strong opinions about my diet, lifestyle and marriage? I grew up in a world where you supported your friends no matter what, and the only grounds for dumping a friend was if they were unpleasant directly to YOU.
Nowadays, it seems the rules of friendship have changed. You can be friends with someone for years, yet God help you if you make a bad personal decision that has absolutely no impact on them at all. Because you are liable to be judged and then dumped!
I have been dumped by a friend who disapproved of my high chocolate diet, deemed too selfish by another who disagreed with my point of view in an argument with my husband. Yet another friend couldn`t stomach that I didn`t rush back to work after baby number one, whilst one especially heinous individual turned on me after reading my portrayal of certain family members in my book. None of these friends dumped me for directly offending them.
It`s pretty terrifying when you think that the cardinal rule for friendship has morphed from a requirement to be kind and supportive to your friends, to a requirement to be mindful that your personal lifestyle choices do not displease them.
Personally it has never occurred to me to dump a friend because I didn`t approve of their diet, relationships or how many days a week they work. Perhaps I am too basic with my criteria for friendship limited to whether we can pass a pleasant evening together.
Clearly though, self-assigning oneself as the morality police is the new definition of friendship these days, and I didn`t get the memo. Which I do find strange since there is always background and other intricacies unknown to the external eye, yet it is still okay to disregard all that and pass judgement anyway.
I do love to chat as much as the next person, but these days am constantly biting my tongue before revealing anything about myself lest it spawn judgement, hatred and ultimately rejection.
So to anyone reading this, I would like to say, seriously, unless you live in my head, are a fly on my wall or sleep under my bed, your role as friend is to respect and support every choice I make, in much the same way that I respect and support all your choices. You have no right to judge me. Certainly you are entitled to your opinion, and even to proffer advice, but to re-evaluate a friendship based on your belief that I should have let hubby go to the game last week, is taking it one step too far.
So please, I`d like to be friends the old fashioned way. Or not be friends at all...
Dr Annabelle R Charbit
Author of A Life Lived Ridiculously
When a girl with obsessive compulsive disorder falls in love with a sociopath, she must fight for her sanity and her life.
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble