I have a friend, let’s call her A. A. has been in an impossible relationship for years and years – it’s long distance, both of them are from completely different cultures and religions, and his family – who he’ll never leave – has had problems with it from the start. Lately she’s shared with me that things have been rougher than usual and he’s no longer answering her calls. And yet she still considers them a couple! How can I convince her to move on??
signed, My friend’s insane
Dear My Friend’s Insane,
Before I respond to the heart of your question I would like you to consider the value of a friend who is truly insane. Such friends are rare and worth cultivating.
Should you ever wish to commit a crime, it will be a relatively simple matter to frame her, particularly if you have a key to her dwelling. Many are quick to believe that all crime is committed by the mentally ill. And if she is required to serve time in a medical facility, you may reassure yourself that it is, after all, only the treatment she requires. (She may even be willing to commit the crime in the first place.)
Another advantage: If you have troublesome houseguests, you may invite them to lodge with her. When she complains about their presence, you have only to reassure her that you have never seen any evidence in her home to suggest they are real, but that you have read the best way to handle such delusions is to treat them with the utmost kindness and hospitality.
In addition, in such a friendship you are no longer required to examine your own actions and consider their effects. You will always have the higher ground, as long as you remain sane. Any attempt you make to enlighten her may be taken as superior to her delusions, and if she offends you she is easily enough locked into the attic.
It is true that she may cause you some annoyance here and there when she insists that she is the chosen one and then calls you to remove the nail she has pressed through her hand, but be advised that blood stains can be removed from most fabrics if soaked in cold water as soon as possible.
Now, the question of your friend’s romance. If she has sustained the impossible for years and years, clearly at least one of them has a special talent for magic.
The danger in challenging such individuals is that you may find yourself the target of the unseen forces. Those who practice magic well generally do it as a form of self-defense as they are already haunted.
Perhaps a soulful child with eerie eyes may come to tell you of the location of some body at the foot of the path near your dwelling. Or some portal may open within your home and with a single step you will find yourself in Tim Burton’s attic, or John Malkovitch’s mind.
And then, just as she believes it is her destiny to continue with this individual, so you will believe it is your destiny to save her. Then you too will be insane and practicing arcane arts.
Unless you wish to open yourself to occult influence and lose a valuable friend, the best course of action is to listen when you are able, to enjoy other aspects of your friendship, and to take whatever time it is you need away from your friend to do so.
One advantage of the rise of the bondage-sadomasochism community, particularly through the Internet (although I do not support such a community) is that many fashionable straight jackets are now available, so perhaps this will aid in your shopping for her next birthday.