Dear Carolyn • Please help me sort my feelings about my best friend. She has been through a rough few months. She had an emotionally abusive relationship come to a head and (mercifully) end, but it wasn't without hours and hours of best-friend duty: taking hysterical phone calls, visiting her, etc. She was in crisis mode for a long while and always wanted talk about "her immense pain." Meanwhile, I'm going through a lot too mostly positive, but a lot. I'm getting married in the fall; I just moved in with my fiance; my contract job is ending in weeks, and I'm trying to line up new work. I've tried to be understanding about my best friend's needs, and to realize she can't reciprocate as much right now. She apologizes for not being a good maid of honor, or for dominating a conversation with her worries, and so far I really haven't minded. The wedding is, after all, seven months away. However, she just said she's accepting a six-month position in a foreign country. Even though she said she'll be here for the wedding, she won't be here for anything else. I'm getting tired of this. Does it sound like she's being selfish, or do we both have so much going on that we're both being a little selfish and that's OK?
Best Friend Blues
Dear Best Friend Blues • It's fair to expect your best friend to let you get a word in edgewise, and to delegate some of her crisis-management elsewhere. It's not fair to expect her to decline the overseas gig just because you want her around to talk wedding. So, I'll tweak your observation and say you're both being a little dramatic. It does appear there's been a drama surfeit from her, which you've handled patiently to your credit, and possibly to the detriment of you both. As her tender audience, you've sent subtle but powerful messages: chaos gets attention; drama is normal; her problems are everyone's. She's also taking dramatic action to change her circumstances and perhaps develop independence. Whether it's the right move, I can't say, but it arguably comes at the right time for you both. A six-month breather sounds just right. Hug her hard, wish her well and see what time has to say.
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