How to be a Better Girlfriend
Jonathan and I were having an email exchange today and he confessed to not knowing “when to say attagirl or she’s a (insert colorfully appropriate adjective)” in support of a female friend. Seeing that I’ve mastered the art, I created a little “how to” guide to help him along the way.
Here’s the key to being doggedly loyal when it comes to your friends. The most important rule to remember is there is no fence sitting on an issue. You always choose a side and the right side is the one your friend is standing on. If your friend says they were wronged, then it’s 100% gospel, they were wronged. Don’t even worry yourself with trying to see both sides. There are no two sides. There’s the one side. The one your friend is on and let me say again for emphasis, that’s the “right” side.
The only time you need to worry about offering an unbiased opinion is when the problem might split a good friendship. If you tap into your psychic powers where you can divine the future and that future is looking a tad bleak then you might timidly offer up your differing opinion. Do this only after the person has finished venting because differing opinions = bad 99% of the time. Do it in a meek way. Approach the friend quietly, keeping your head low and eyes averted to the ground. If the friend shows any signs of aggression, tuck into a little ball and cover your head. If that doesn’t work, roll onto your back and stick your arms and legs straight up into the air. There’s a good chance the friend will mistake you for dead and just move on.
Let’s assume you didn’t have to play dead and move on to the next tip. Another important thing to do while your friend is venting it to occasionally interject with supportive commentary that proves the friend’s points. You can never go wrong with phrases like “mmm hmmm”, “Amen” or “sing it, sister!” If they say someone is scum of the earth, then you can list types of scum (mold, mildew – anything that Tilex will clean up will do) to show your unwavering support. Don’t go overboard, though. This is VERY important to remember because you can find you’ve said something that your friend doesn’t agree with. Nothing makes you look less informed than interjecting something like “and they’re bad singers, too” only to find out your friend owns all their albums. The next thing you know you’ve stepped in the proverbial “it” and that friend’s anger has just turned on you.
As a doggedly loyal friend, your job is to be a flame fanner – wave your arms around like a fool to keep things going, but keep a safe enough distance so that you’re not engulfed. If the flames start licking your way remember “play dead”. Fire heading your way = bad. Most fires are flash fires and burn out quickly. Just remember it’s best to let it burn rather than trying to stomp out a blaze in your tennis shoes (aka trying to make your friend “see reason”).
Something else to remember is that it’s not enough to go through the motions of being on your friend’s side by flapping your gums in support or putting on a supportive little puppet show, you’ve got to feel it in your gut.
Now off you go! You’re already a better friend!
And April, that woman better not cross my path any time soon because I’ll jerk her head so hard she’ll lose her mullet.