Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crisis Management

1. Are you the person people call when they are in crisis?

2. Do you like being the person people call?

3. If yes, then are you the type that gets over-involved in someone else’s situation?

4. Do you give them advice in the hope that you will be the one that solves their problems?

5. Does it piss you off that they take so much of your time but don’t listen when you’re talking?

Here are my answers:

1. Sometimes

2. Yes

3. Yes

4. Yes

5. Yes

Now that we’ve established that I’m a wannabe shrink. I need to tell you that since November 2004, ever since my best friend from college committed suicide, I’ve been taking crisis calls less seriously than I did when SB was alive.

For SB, S and I were people she’d come to when she was in misery, and she was constantly miserable. S and I would try our best to talk her out of it, but with some people, misery, like drugs, is an addiction that they can’t control. Despite spending hours telling her to walk out of a situation that was never going to get better, SB lived in the hope that her fairy godmother would rescue her from the shithouse that her life had become. Her fairy godmother never came along.

Maybe she was meant to live only for a stipulated time on this planet to show people like me the meaning of friendship, laughter and joy. Maybe that was her role. She was the quintessential clown with the sad face and happy demeanour. Since her death, we’ve moved on and we’ve wished for her to be around every time we get together as a group.

I don’t want to talk about SB here today. I want to talk about being the go-to person during someone else’s crisis.

In the recent past, I was introduced to a girl who wanted to do her masters at the same place that I went to in 2004-2005. She would call me and have long conversations about going to study there, etc. However, she was also the person who needed to call 10 times if you didn’t pick up the first time around! That was irritating and it was a habit that she never really got rid of. Thing is, we have common friends, so the conversations also got personal after a point.

What I didn’t realize is that this person has a small problem, addiction to misery. In the years that I’ve known her, she’s never been someone who has once told me that she’s happy where she is. She’s chasing a dream and I’m not sure if anything is ever going to be good enough for her. I told her as much.

The thing is, after these long-drawn conversations with troubled souls, I feel like something is slowly and surely picking my sanity and messing it up. I don’t enjoy the sense of trauma I feel when I’m done steering a person through a problem. In my case, someone else’s problem is also about me! After all, this person made the effort to call me and gave me the credibility and intelligence to sort them out, so I will make this about me! Sorry, it seems to me like the only person who has her shit together in this situation is me, not you.

My point is, everyone has a rant, or five million, about how things are in the world today. However, that doesn’t mean that we take each problem so personally and go about having a stressathon about it. We don’t deem the rest of the world to be a pile of nonsense because it doesn’t meet our lofty ideals of what it should be and what it ought to be.

This girl has been crying to me about how there are too many things in her life that are out of her comfort zone. She cannot cope with stuff that she has decided she cannot handle. What does that even mean? If some of us can pass math, even though we were never any good at it and even though we didn’t have the option of taking another subject, then getting on with life is something we can attempt to manage, no?

I know, I know. Life and math are two completely different things, but I still don’t get it. Why is it so difficult to make a compromise once in a while about some minor thing and get on with it? You don’t compromise, you don’t try, you sit and whine about how some people are not as intellectual as you and hence, the fact that they get any attention at all is beyond your scope of comprehension. There could be two things going on here – you’re the true avatar of awesome or you’re delusional.

Another factor is, well, envy. This petty and unsaid jealousy that one has over someone else’s prettiness, someone else’s so-called perfect life, someone else’s amazing relationship with their sibling/parents/family, someone else’s ability to be honest enough to be themselves. Aspirations are great as long as the efforts you make to reach your goals are sincere; they’re not fun if you’re doing it to look like a version of something you envy. Chances are, when you get to where you want to be, you’ll be envious of something else.

People like this person I’ve discussed are never going to be happy. No matter how much “tough love” you serve up, there will always be something missing.

To be honest, I don’t see how an employer asking you to use your mind and think is a variable you are not comfortable with. I don’t see it.

I like this girl. She’s a lot of fun when she’s not worrying herself towards a breakdown. But when everything is overanalyzed to the level of minutiae that you cannot even imagine, it gets uncomfortable to have a simple conversation with people. I cannot deal with angst. I simply cannot. I used to love the thrill of being the caring and sensible friend that everyone loved to listen to. I don’t enjoy it any more. And it isn’t because people won’t listen to every word I say and take my advice, it’s because I don’t like watching intelligent people destroying themselves over something silly. If you’re intelligent, you should have the brains and common sense to be able to figure it out, right?


  1. I have some such friends who are never happy even though everything is going great for them. Forgetting my misery and the bad situation I'm in, I've helped them get through that phase( or so thought). But I have realised since that such people can never stop ranting, whatever their situation is. Even if a fairy godmother shines on them, they would still be cribbing that the time was only till 12 midnight!

  2. @runaway - I understand what you're saying. Thing is, sometimes you can't say no to these people because friendships matter to you...

  3. ADDICTION to misery? People CAN enjoy it??? :/

  4. @Semi - surprisingly there are some who do. I don't know why or how, but they do.