I’m trying to finish up a writing project I’ve been putting off for longer than I care to admit, and Jessica calls me. She says she needs a drink; she’s had such a hard day and because she can trust me SO MUCH she wants it to be with me. She tells me I need to come out with her tonight. I tell her kindly I’m busy, and don’t really want to be doing that right now. This is an unacceptable response, and she oscillates between telling me how much she needs me, and how much fun it will be. I buckle and agree to her plan, and she spends the night talking endlessly about herself, taking small jabs at me, and seeking validation in every possible way. I have not said a single thing about myself all night. When I do, it is dismissed, or made about her. But she’s my friend, and I love her, so I stay there, comforted by thinking this will tide over the social obligation for a while, I can always do my writing project later. By the end of the night I’m fucking exhausted, not because of the lack of sleep, but because of the type of interaction is absolutely exhausting.
She calls me again not long after, needing the exact same thing. I tell her I can’t, and she tells me how I ALWAYS DO THIS, always leave her, she’s been SUCH A GOOD FRIEND to me, and I never follow through, I don’t give her enough.
It’s never enough for a Drain. Jessica was one of my Drains, and before I got aware of the situation, I lost so much time and so much of myself in this way.
Drains deplete us, and if we don’t know how to restore ourselves they can be dangerous. We don’t matter to them, we’re simply there – providing them with what they need. And oh god, that leaves me needing a drink. Your Drains might not be a Drain for everyone, and it might not be a fixed state, just a stage they are going through or the place in life they are at – but it is important to spot it when it is happening, and make some boundaries as quickly as we can. We shouldn’t need to anesthetise ourselves in the name of friendship. Drains are not friends – as much as they try to convince us that they are.
They are also the type of friend that can try and convince us into a drink, because it’s more convenient to them that we are drinking. Here are some phrases I had to practise for when the “but would you have a drink with me?” pleading came out:
“Thanks, but I’m good without!”
“I’m going to pass; you can drink in my honour!”
“I will enjoy myself much more if I don’t drink.”
“Maybe I need to make myself clearer, I’m deciding to not drink tonight.”
“It’s more important to me that I don’t drink.”
Where are the drains in your life?
Two tiny things:
- Delete some pictures. Whether it’s something you’re hanging onto, or something just taking up too much space.
- Delete a number. One you don’t need.