DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #22

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Dear Sugar,

My best friend just got out of a shitty marriage and, fairly quickly, met an amazing guy. He’s unbelievably hot, super smart, employed, and completely into her. He has some issues (don’t we all?), but mostly he seems great. She is over the moon.

Here’s the problem—I’m being kind of bitchy about him! Maybe not overtly, but I find myself getting cranky when she talks about him. Maybe sometimes I’m a little too quick to point out his faults.

I am so petty! I know it’s because I’m envious! My own marriage is at the kind-of-boring stage. In fact, we may even be splitting up if he doesn’t get his shit together. But that shouldn’t make me be so bitchy (even if most of my bitchiness is happening in my head—I really do manage to keep a lid on it when she’s around). I hate being this petty, envious, covetous person and yes, I can and do control my actions, but I hate that my brain even goes there. What to do?

Signed,
Crabby

 

Dear Crabby,

Crazily enough, darling, I think you’re doing what you need to do. You’re admitting how much your friends’ happiness upsets you, and tracing that back to its proper source: your own floundering marriage. This woman represents the precise fruition of a not-so-hidden wish that resides in you. But, see, there are a ton of folks out there who never get to this sort of self-truth. They just fritter away in their grievance gravy, blaming the clouds on the weatherman.

I’d suggest that you stop beating yourself up, and put your energy in the service of figuring out whether you can reinvigorate your marriage, and how. This will require some work on your husband’s part, as well. The alternative, from all indications, is a painful separation.

This may be why you’re really angry with your friend: because she’s left you behind in your misery. She had the courage to get out of a bad relationship and the courage (and good fortune) to find a new and better one. That’s something to be admired, not scorned, if only because you may someday need her wise counsel and unexpected mojo.

 

Dear Sugar,

A friend of mine since youth has started smoking meth. It’s only happened a handful of times that I know of, but it really, really concerns me.

If I’m at a party with her and she decides to smoke I always take off, and I’ve already told her how I feel about her new recreational habit so she knows I don’t approve. My question to you is, do I stop there or take my concern further? I know her parents, I know other members of her family. Is it out of line for me to alert them as to what my friend is up to, or will I be helping her avoid what could become a life-ruining addiction?

Signed,
Worried About Being a Snitch

 

Dear Worried,

Wow. This is a tough call. If you do tell her folks, or other members of her family, you run the risk of losing her trust and friendship. On the other hand, if you say nothing, you could be abetting a serious problem.

I’m no meth expert, but I’ve had enough experience with users to know that it makes them do crazy shit. And not just the “party and play” crowd. I’m sure there are casual meth users out there, folks who manage to integrate their use into a productive lifestyle. I just don’t know any.

The real question is: how deep in is your friend? My first instinct is to suggest that you sit her down and express your concerns and ask her to consider whether meth is becoming more than a recreational thing. The problem with meth is that it tends to make people lie their heads off. So my central piece of advice – and I’m sorry if this feels like a cop out, but it’s too serious a problem for me to wing it – would be to consult someone in the drug prevention field, an expert. I might also ask mutual friends, or acquaintances (ones you trust, obviously) what they’re seeing. Do they feel she’s a dabbler, or headed for trouble? If you honestly come to believe the latter, my sense is that you need to take some kind of action.

The central thing here is that you want to be this person’s friend, but they’re behaving in a way that makes you uncomfortable. It’s already affecting how you spend time with her. So something’s already a little broken, and there’s a certain inherent disappointment in that. It may be that you can, in some way, help your friend out, coax her into facing certain hard truths, or curbing self-destructive tendencies. But it’s also true that whatever’s driving her to meth is inside of her, and ultimately only she can work that out.