Bestie: Eh. She always struck me as really self-centered, so I kinda don't care how Friend X is doing.
Me: *stunned silence*
I always see the best in people.
Scratch that -
I always see the *potential* best in people, and it bites me in the ass.
More than once - and in the case of Friend X above - it's resulted in some "friend" making moves on my boyfriend. And breaking my heart two ways in the process.
Yes, seeing the potential in people - instead of who they actually are in the moment - granted me the gifts of being cheated on, dating drug addicts ("But he's such a good person. You just don't know the real him! When he's not on the cocaine, he's brilliant!"), attention whores, and manic depressives, and being stabbed in the back by a "friend" more often than I can count.
And now - approaching 40 at ramming speed - I find I am little better equipped to handle the who they are vs who they could be debacle than I was as a trusting teen.
I've grown more wary (and more jaded), but comments like my Bestie's still shock because, despite knowing Friend X for 2 solid decades, the truth of who she is never dawned on me.
Such truths never dawn on me, no matter how many obvious signs I've been given along the way.
I have an uncanny knack for knowing who the killer is.
I can usually tell you within the first 5 minutes of the film.
I'm incessantly bored at the cinema, because I instinctively know how shit's gonna play out...
But, when it comes to real life it's like I can't see the script.
I'm the idiot who wanders into the dark basement, alone, with some antiquated torch that's destined to go out, repeating, "Hello? Who's down here?" so the killer knows my exact location.
I'd be the first one dead.
And, because I'm not much to look at, I wouldn't even be the one in the white shirt in the rain...
Many say it's a strength of character - seeing the good in other people, despite circumstance.
But I see it as a weakness.
I can't tell you how much pain I'd have saved myself if I'd just picked up on what was obvious to everyone else.
Like in the case of Friend X - when I was still dating...such was my experience with Friend X and her throwing herself at my boyfriends, that it became a test of mine: if I really liked someone, I'd bring them around Friend X. If they took her bait - because it was a foregone conclusion she'd offer up "the bait" - then my heart would break, but I'd know he wasn't the guy for me.
I actually participated in this.
And didn't cut her off.
And what's worse?
I saw Friend X about a year ago. And the conversation basically consisted of:
"Friend X! I haven't seen you for ages! Gosh, how I've missed you! We simply must hang out again! When are you free?"
And I meant it.
This says something about my boundaries - or lack thereof - I just know it.
It says something about my self-care.
About my childlike trust.
About my own addiction to emotional pain.
It says something - though I don't know exactly what - about my own need to love and be loved.
It speaks to my empathy and forgiveness...though if we're honest with ourselves I never fully forgive.
I haven't forgotten how often Friend X hurt me...and I don't necessarily put that hurt aside to be in her presence.
I do the SUPER broken thing, and hang with her, mixing the pleasure with the pain.
Like some sort of emotional masochist.
All the while remaining totally oblivious to the fact that she's probably sending me even more obvious signals as to her next betrayal - and I'm not registering them.
Because I just can't see it.
In this life of The Scorpion and The Frog, I am very much the frog, ferrying scorpions across the river and being continuously shocked when the scorpions do as scorpions must.
I'm pretty sure that makes me some kind of idiot.