Monday, October 12, 2009

Will you still love me in the ER?

Jezebel had a great post about a story on another site (that honestly, I don't feel like linking to because it's so stupid I don't really want to be a source of any traffic to it) that dealt with a woman who had basically been abandoned by two so-called friends. In a nutshell, the woman thinks she was drugged at a club, ended up in an emergency room, and the friends she had been with at the club almost couldn't be bothered to pick her up from the hospital. The response in the post-I-don't-want-to-link-to was that she shouldn't have expected them to! That sure, you can expect that of a significant other, but not friends (see the Jezebel post for the relevant quotes). WTF?

When I read this, the first thing I thought of was an incident three years ago when one of my best friends got food poisoning and needed to go to the ER because he'd been throwing up for several hours. Ironically (in the context of 'this is only a job for significant others'), his wife was out of town and SHE was the one who called me at 1 in the morning to ask me to take him to the hospital. I have no doubt that if our situations were reversed, either one of them would not hesitate to do the same for me. Would I call my boyfriend first? Probably. But anyone who thinks that being in a relationship is a guarantee that someone will always be there at 1 in the morning so you don't need other friends, is sadly deluded.

The second thing I thought when I read the Jezebel piece was that no one in their right mind would call these people friends but worse, they don't even sound like very decent human beings. Forget boyfriends, best friends, family, or whatever other relationships you might call on first - when push comes to shove, I think a truly decent human being will help another human being in need. OK, maybe I wouldn't call some random stranger to pick me up at the hospital at 1 in the morning, but I can imagine a scenario where every person I would normally call was, for some reason, unavailable and I might call someone much further down on my acquaintance list. Maybe I'm being too pollyanna but I honestly think that most of the people that I associate with in any dimension would be willing to come. They might be bewildered why I was calling them and they might not be excited about it but I can't imagine someone flat out saying "No, I just won't." Is that naive? Would you help someone out who asked, even if they were not someone you considered a close friend?


Anonymous said...

Good for you for not linking to the original article! It was really so stupid.

I have been obsessing about the who-will-help-me-if-i-break-both-my-legs thing for a while now; I wrote about it on Onely recently (broken cheek post) and I was worrying that I had not cultivated my friends network well enough so that I'd have someone I'd feel comfortable calling in an ueber-emergency. But I would still be more comfortable calling a near stranger than being with a boyfriend just so I have someone who "has" to take me and my broken legs to the ER.


Clever Elsie said...

In answer to the question, yes! I would definitely help anyone in dire straits like that. I agree with your assessment that anyone who wouldn't is missing a "decent human being" chip.

It's so true that you can't always rely on a significant other. Call me a cynic, but I've watched SOs bail on me as well as on my friends and family too many times to believe that relationships are like disaster insurance. There are a lot of people who want to be taken care of but can't or won't return the favor when needed. That's part of why I'm single now. I'm just done with that!

Clever Elsie said...

In answer to your question, yes! I'd definitely help anyone who was in dire straits. I agree with your assessment that anyone who wouldn't is missing a "decent human being" chip.

It's so true that a significant other is no guarantee of help in crisis. I've watched enough SOs bail on me and my friends and family to know that. Lots of people want to be taken care of but can't or won't return the favor. A relationship is far from disaster insurance!