suffer in solitude, celebrate en masse
May 26, 2009 by cash
I spend a lot of time thinking about power. How to obtain it. How to maintain it. So much of it has to do with perception. Namely, other people’s perceptions of you. The more positive their perception, the more power you will have achieved; within your social circle, within your life, within the world itself. Why? People are always drawn to positivity (see my piece here). Positivity is popularity. Popularity is one of the simplest indicators of power.
One of the easiest ways to enhance your life in this regard is to stop adhering to that age old maxim ‘misery loves company’. Most people dread answering the phone to a crying or otherwise upset friend. The reasons are threefold; first, no one wants to know their friends are suffering. If they’re truly a friend, you want them to be happy. Duh. Next, your friends’ moods usually affect your own. If they’re upset, chances are good you’re going to be upset too. Finally, when someone you care about comes to you with something causing them pain, you feel a subconscious obligation to try and help them out. Give them advice. Make them laugh or otherwise diffuse the situation. That’s a lot of pressure, and 9.93 times out of 10 any advice offered is going in one ear and out the other.
So to summarize, engaging a friend when you’re depressed has three results; they’re concerned for you (negative emotional state), they’re comiserating with you (negative emotional state, the deuce), and they’re put on the spot to try and fix whatever’s wrong with you (stressful emotional state). Obviously, none of these things are good.
Do this enough and you’re getting a reputation. A reputation that includes your friends screening your calls, dreading answering them, and perhaps eventually.. ignoring them.
On the other hand, if you’re the guy or girl who never, or rarely, burdens anyone with your problems? You’re on your way to social sainthood. Saints get all the chicks. Or um, dicks, if that’s your thing.
In my life, there is only one person with whom I share my problems. This is a mutual arrangement. He relies on me in the same way. This arrangement is based on trust, respect, and a friendship forged over many, many years. One reason it works so well is that we spend far more of our time enjoying the hell out of our lives, and friendship, then we do ruminating on things that bring us down. Still, I know that day or night, I can call him up if I’m drowing in the sea of a shitstorm and he will do everything in his power to help set it right.
Not infecting everyone I know with my occasional descents into depression is a blessing for them, and me.
When Cash life is fantastic? When I’m enroute to a happiness o.d.? When something awesome is afoot in my world, and things are going splendidly? That’s when I’m sending a blast text to my whole phone book. That’s when I’m inviting everyone over for drinks. That’s when I’m doing my damndest to make sure my joy is contagious for everyone I care about.
A greater gift, I couldn’t possibly give. Neither could you.