What do you do?
You had a friend. A sweet, loyal and reliable friend. A very appealing personality. A heart of gold etc....Circumstances threw you together for a while and you became close.
But there was a problem.
As you got to know her better, you noticed that she seemed unable to win people's respect. You were constantly finding her in situations where someone was being disrespectful to her or making fun of her. And not only did she always fail to put a stop to it or react with any dignity, she wouldn't even realize she was being insulted. It would all just go over her head.
You were never sure what to call it. A weird, exaggerated form of innocence? An inability to believe that anyone actually meant it when they used her or said something harsh and out of line to her? Try as you did, you just couldn't understand or appreciate her ability to keep giving people the benefit of the doubt who simply did not deserve it.
Your initial response was to get very protective of her. You became the champion of her cause. Always telling people off for being mean to her. Always making her point when she failed to make it for herself. You got into a lot of fights with a lot of people on her account. At one point - you were ready to fight with your partner in life because you didn't like the way he spoke to her. You kept hounding him and made him feel so guilty that he was forced to apologize to her.
At one point, in a fit of temper, your partner then stated the opinion that she was just dumb and she set herself up for these things etc....You were furious with him for saying it. Probably because deep down inside it was what you thought too and you hated yourself for it.
Then you started to get impatient with her. She irritated you. You can never stand it when people don't stick up for themselves. Soon, all your conversations degenerated into you lecturing her, telling her how you think she should protect herself etc...
Eventually, the relationship became so stressful, you decided to put some distance between the two of you. And you did. Gradually and - you hoped - gently, you disengaged. You made yourself less and less available until things got to the point where the two of you simply lost touch.
A few months later on Valentine's Day, you receive an email from her. A very touching note about how much she misses you, that she's going through hard times and needs a friend etc...
You feel bad for her. But the thing is, you have no wish to get engaged with her again. The relationship had reached a point where it had become a burden you were glad to get rid of. You keep telling yourself that compassion alone is not enough to sustain a friendship.That you don't have anything in common. Your partner finds her irritating and a bore. So do your friends - the people you spend most of your time with. You don't want to have to impose her on all of them again. You don't want to deal with the stress of forcing them to accept her and treat her the way you feel she should demand to be treated but doesn't.
You finally admit to yourself that you don't think she is intellectually your equal and that you don't like being around people you feel yourself talking down to. It makes you dislike yourself.
What do you do? Give in to your sense of duty and loyalty? Reach out to her and try very hard to change your perception of her?
Or keep your distance because you don't want to deal with all the negative feelings being around her generates in you? Would you even be able - feeling as you do about her - to give her the emotional support we all need when life isn't being kind to us? Could you be a good friend to her? Even if you could, being around her is so GRIM for you. So you ask yourself is it selfish and wrong to think friendship should be a teeny, weeny bit of FUN?
So what do you do?