Of troubled friends and their subsequent agonies

1. Meet someone. Meet someone who could be a friend.

2. Listen. Listen as they pour their troubles on you, not once asking if you had troubles of your own.

3. Keep up an interest. Keep it up as you struggle with questions that seem selfish — Why hasn’t he asked me about my day? Why am I frequently the uninvited confidant — one you turn to for help, but leave out when you need to have “fun? — surely these are questions of a selfish and self-important person. One not worthy of having friends.

4. Rest your chin on your hand as you nod — “Yes, yes, it was wrong of her to do neglect you. Of course. You have every right to be happy.”

5. Reach for your mug of steaming coffee and resist. Resist the urge to throw it at them. Look into your mug of coffee instead, feigning contemplation.

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