I don’t know how many of you remember the episode of SATC (Sex and the City) in season 2 after Carrie had broken up with Big the 2nd time. The episode opens with separate scenes of Carrie with each of her friends rambling on and on about how Big made a big mistake by not choosing her. She talks about how she was “the spark” in their relationship and he was basically a man who should have been honored to be invited to ride along.
These scenes culminate with Carrie sitting across from all three of her friends and them having an intervention-style conversation with her about the fact that she’s obsessed with her ex and that she needs to consider therapy. She rebuffs the idea but ends up going anyway. She basically rolls her eyes all the way through the episode until a sexual liaison that ends in yet another relationship disappointment reveals to her that the therapist was indeed correct, and yeah, Carrie needed therapy all along.
I have a couple of friends who are basically season 2 post-breakup Carrie Bradshaw. These are the friends who only have the exact same two or three things to talk about. The conversation is never interesting. Everything they have to say is about how they’ve been shafted in some way. There are a couple who even repeat the same things three or four times in the course of an hour and don’t seem to realize it. I’ve found myself sitting completely silent for several minutes while these individuals go on tangents basically about how everything and everybody is FUBAR’d and how that negatively affects them.
I’ve coined the term Hamster Wheel Friend™ for these people. They are ever active but going nowhere. This would be benign, even a little humorous, but that they want you to run on the wheel to perdition with them. It is a form of trauma bonding where hearing, talking about and feeling the worst is what really cements your friendship.
How the hell does that benefit the average Black woman in 2019?!
In the past few months, I find myself drawing more towards my friends who are interested in living a progressive life and leaving behind those friends who simply refuse to acknowledge their issues and get the help they need. Life is hard enough as it is and none of us needs to be beleaguered with friends who seem hell-bent on reminding us how rough it is.
If you are a Hamster Wheel Friend™ (no need to stand up), please know that it’s impossible for you to be the best friend that you can be until you deal with your stuff. You may have noticed that you have a hard time maintaining relationships, be they platonic or romantic. It’s because you’re hung-up and very few people have the training or patience to endure. They shouldn’t have to. Your friends are sounding boards, not dumping grounds. Part of friendship, in my estimation, is to be a place of rejuvenation. If you’re a Hamster Wheel Friend™, you’re tiring. Unless you like friend-hopping or being alone, it’s time to stop being an energy vampire. Get help.