A number of my friends will tell you that I am something of a den mother. I add in my little tidbits of advice here and there, I help make decisions, I listen to their problems and usually don’t judge them negatively for it. When we get drunk together in glorious stupidity, I end up patting them on the back as they tell all of their problems to the toilet and I bring the glass of water to gulp down their confession.
Those same friends, and quite a few more, will also tell you that I am a horrible counselor. I’m good at listening, prioritizing hanging out with the disheartened, and waking up at 4 in the morning to listen to what a horrible boyfriend you have. I even somewhat enjoy being the stable pillar for people when they need one. What I cannot do apparently, is empathize. When a friend sits there and says “Oh my God that bitch! Can you believe that?!” I sit there and respond “Oh. Hm. Yeah, so it would seem…” and continue listening to their shpeal. For the first 80% of the venting, this strategy works well, as usually people who need to vent, don’t need to be interrupted. After the steam is gone though, the realization sinks in to their minds that I really haven’t wholeheartedly agreed with them on anything. If this were back in the days of pitch forks and torch mobs, I’d be the villager on the sidelines holding people’s coats and a first aid kit.
On a good day anyone will say that having someone there to be reasonable and open minded is a good thing. However, people do not rant on good days. They rant on days when they need someone to pick up the pitch fork and march alongside them. No one wants to run around in madness only to hear “You know, you were a tad bit bitchy yourself, let’s not place blame unreasonably…”
It’s a small miracle people still talk to me about anything in their private lives. At this point I feel as if I should have been demoted to “water cooler coworker” status. Shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, eh?
(And what the deuce is a gift horse…)