LoveInTheCity

By Jarrod Thalheimer

The ability to affect the attitude, emotions, and even the actions of someone is the very definition of influence – which is what a best friend has in spades. Your “bestie” knows you, cares about you, and wants only good things for you. So, why wouldn’t you trust her influence? What if that influence is actually more negative than positive? Here’s a quick quiz to see which way her influence trends.

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SITUATION #1 – YOU JUST GOT DUMPED…. HARD. Your best friend…

A – … suggests you pretend the breakup never happened. Don’t take “no” or “it’s over” for an answer, she tells you. No one can reject your love no matter how much he wants to. She tells you to stalk his dumping derriere if you have to but make sure he realizes what a huge mistake he made by leaving you. Make the jerk pay!
SCORE 20 POINTS  

B – … reminds you that it’s not the end of the world. Just because one person rejected your love doesn’t mean it was worthless or even wasted. Clearly, he didn’t appreciate or even grasp the many amazing qualities you have. She advises you forget about him and move on. Life goes on, and so will you.
SCORE 10 POINTS

SITUATION #2 – YOU GET FIRED. Your best friend…

A – … immediately empathizes with you, taking your side while doing his personal best to help rebuild your confidence. Almost instantly, your friend gets word out to his own work network that you’re a great hire and are available immediately, doing his very best to turn a bad situation into a career-defining fresh start for you.
SCORE 10 POINTS

B – … blames a hidden conspiracy “out to get you” and pushes for instant litigation, haranguing you into taking a meeting you don’t want with a skeevy lawyer you’d never hire. She threatens war with the company via its Facebook account and even sets up a Change.org petition to get you hired back.
SCORE 20 POINTS

BONUS:  If your friend later asks permission to send your ex-boss his own resume due to his own employment dry-spell, SCORE ANOTHER 10 POINTS.


SITUATION #3 – YOUR DOCTOR CALLS WITH BAD NEWS.
Your best friend…

A – … takes the somber occasion of your own life-changing diagnosis as a reason to revisit her own health issues in even greater detail. For some reason, she seems to interpret “empathy” as playing a grand game of “My disease was kind of like your disease, but actually worse…”
SCORE 20 POINTS

B – … drops everything, determined to come quickly to your side. She listens, without judgment, as you bear your new health reality, offering whatever help she can until you begin feeling strong enough to confront the challenges presented.
SCORE 10 POINTS

SITUATION #4 – YOUR KID GOT ARRESTED. Your best friend…

A – … recognizes that even as you are attempting to face the harsh realities of the situation at hand, you are also struggling with self-doubt as to your parenting abilities and what role your own personal issues may have played in this trouble. He offers support in whatever way he can – even if it’s nothing more than standing up for you and your family to friends.
SCORE 10 POINTS

B – … immediately cuts loose with a chorus of “He was always trouble” and “Don’t blame yourself – he was rotten to the core all along.” Then he inserts recommendations of tough love alongside decidedly unveiled suggestions about the sort of pre-emptive parenting you clearly were not doing. The only offer of tangible assistance is limited to seeing if the arrest is serious enough to attract the attention of either Judge Judy or Dr. Drew.
SCORE 25 POINTS

SITUATION #5 – YOU FACE A SPIRITUAL CRISIS. Your best friend…

A – … listens patiently as you confess your deepest fears about life and death, and what your ultimate role is or was perhaps meant to be. She offers personal insight into her own spiritual journey and how she has dealt with it over the years, admitting that even now she doesn’t always have all the answers.
SCORE 10 POINTS

B – … erupts with joy that you have finally admitted to your single greatest weakness. She then immediately books you an appointment with her own spiritual guide to get you on “the” path to happiness.
SCORE 20 POINTS

BONUS: If she says anything along the lines of “Now some people have referred to this as a cult but nothing could be farther from the truth…” SCORE ANOTHER 15 POINTS.

SITUATION #6 – YOU NEED MONEY – FAST! Your best friend…

A – … expresses surprise at the desperate nature of your request, even as he offers to help as much as possible. Still, he appears far more concerned with ensuring you are able to separate from whatever circumstance has brought you into such a dire situation than the need for the actual money itself.
SCORE 10 POINTS

B – … pops out a laundry list of items he’d be more than happy to take off your hands at 10 or 20 cents on the dollar “just to help out,” even as he suggests other wild alternatives like blood, sperm, or even organ sales. SCORE 25 POINTS.

BONUS: If he offers to help plan and/or execute a heist of any kind, SCORE ANOTHER 50 POINTS.

SCORING KEY

50-80 Positive Influence

85-170 Negative Influence

175+ GRO*

*Get Restraining Order – NOW!

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