I was having a depressing conversation with my friend, so of course I was also talking to Jess about it:
JOSH: i dont wanna have this convo
JOSH: but i can't stop now cuz i outed myself as an outlet for grief
JOSH: i ALWAYS do that
JOSH: i express polite, mild concern and suddenly i'm the therapist
This happens all the time. Seriously, I know so much shit about so many people whose private lives I'd rather not discuss. It's not that I'm a bad friend or that I don't want to listen to your problems, it's just that, well, at some point you may want to consider leaving me and actually talking to someone qualified to make assessments of your psyche. Leave it to me and I'll tell you to do what I do: sit around and blog about your problems instead of actually doing anything to solve them.
I don't know what it is about me that makes others feel comfortable to divulge their deepest secrets or dirtiest romantic desires. Maybe it's because I rarely have anything interesting to say about myself, so the conversation turns to you, and you sure do have a stressful life, don't you, bud?
News flash: we all do. Everyone is stressed. Everyone is lonely, or if they're with someone, they're dissatisfied. Everyone is freaking out and pissed off and sad and could probably use a little more medication--take it from me, that's what a steady diet of self-loathing, alcohol, and an underlying sense that your life is not going the way you really want it to will bring you.
I don't need to hear about all your problems. I don't want to hear about all your problems. I don't want to hear about many of your problems at all, but hey, I'm a pretty tolerant guy. Gripe to me if you want. Tell me about the kid who sits in front of you in class who breathes too loudly or the girl who cut you off as you were getting on the subway. Ask me what you should do about that guy you really like at the coffee shop, the one who may have a girlfriend cuz he's always on the phone but then again you've never seen her. Let me know who bothers you and why. Just keep the truly deep stuff to yourself.
Me? I complain like Amy Winehouse smokes crack; that is to say, a lot, and when I try to stop I can't. But that's where it ends: the complaint. The annoyance. I would never tell any of my friends about half the shit that seriously brings me down, because, well, I just don't feel comfortable exposing that many of my inner workings. I barely like what I see inside, and I certainly don't want to show anyone else.
So please. Next time we're talking and you're thinking of telling me that you want to kill yourself, don't. I will obviously tell you not to. I will obviously recommend that if you're really feeling suicidal, then you should get help. I will obviously be here for you. But as your friend, not your therapist.