The Limits of Friendship
Lucinda Rosenfeld, advice columist for Slate spin-off DoubleX, tells a girl whining because her friends ditched her after she’d been slipped a date rape drug at a party and then refused to come see her at the hospital to get over herself.
Yes, overnights at the E.R. are the opposite of fun. So are disastrous drug trips. (I had one in my twenties, which pretty much sealed my fate as an illegal-substance ninny.) But only nuns make it out of youth without a few ambulance rides.
Here’s a little secret. BFFs are great when you’re upset about a boy/sick cat/whatnot. But there are limits to friendship—limits that don’t apply to our romantic partners or close family members.
After getting some angry emails, she adds:
I know many of us assume we would jump out of bed after that call. But how many of you would actually, honestly get out of bed and get dressed at 4 a.m. and drive to the hospital to keep your close friend company while she recovered?
Julian Sanchez, apparently not realizing this was a rhetorical question, responds:
Everyone. No, really. Everyone I know. I could pick a number at random from the last dozen dialed on my cell phone and I have no doubt the person would show up if it were me. They might not be cheerful about it—I might not either—but they’d do it. But I tend to favor friends who are, you know, human.
He’s equally dubious as to the original post:
Friendship? Jesus, that’s the minimum I’d do for someone I barely knew in a situation like that. Hell, it’s the minimum I’d do for someone who’d taken some drugs on purpose in an attack of poor judgment. It’s what any remotely decent, adequately socialized person would do.
My grad school buddy Wayne, a retired Green Beret, says that men make what he terms Bozeman, Montana friends. We may move across the country and fail to keep in touch but, if we were to get a phone call in the middle of the night from one of them after not hearing from them for three years saying, “I’m in jail in Bozeman, Montana and need you to wire me $2000,” our only question would be about how to get him the funds and we’d be on the phone to Western Union two minutes later. Women, by contrast, tend to make more intimate connections and to be more likely to hold grudges over things like not having heard from somebody in three years.
I think that’s right in the aggregate. But, surely, most women would come to the aid of gal pals who have been drugged and taken to the hospital. No?