I am disappointed to learn that your Patient has friends. Real ones that date back to when she was in elementary school and high school and college that do nothing to advance her career or social position like those on her social media accounts.
To me, friends that are more than situational or rungs to higher pay or some other personal quest are terrorists to our cause.
For one, the fact that your Patient still cultivates these friendships in her thirties means she values people beyond what they can do for her. That bodes ill for her marriage since it probably means she will love her husband even if he doesn’t become as wealthy or prominent as he or she wants.
Friends also have the terrible habit of spurring one another to achieve things they never could have done on their own. (As I have mentioned previously, Our Father never wants humans to realize their potential. Even when the crazy ones who use all of their talents join our side, they usually leave a wake of medical or technological or artistic advancement that improves the lives of everyone.) Ironically, this happens not because someone was trying to use another person but because he or she didn’t want to let the other person down or even worse, was encouraged by them or held accountable by them in a way that the social media flatterers in their lives would never attempt. After all, “friends” often only “like” something so that another person will “like” their photos in a cycle of mutual admiration where popularity outranks or even disconnects from pleasure.
Our Father does not want people confused into thinking that their success is even indirectly linked to someone else. Unfortunately I know from your Patient’s history – in a period during her college years which none of Our Father’s troops seemed to have been watching her – that she is permanently disposed toward this incorrect notion. Somehow she went from losing her coach to suicide to winning a national championship within two years and the process came to believe that none of it was possible without the other women on her team pushing her each day to performances she thinks she could not reached of her own will. The joy at winning that title – together – created a life-long problem for us because all she has to do is remember it, and it infuses even her most despondent days with a sense of purpose and meaning.
If people read Aristotle, they might be more inclined to spend time developing friendships of the type discussed above. But thankfully People, InTouch and internet porn are the main philosophical primers on love and relationships today.
And often life intervenes on our behalf, as the demands of family and work make it more difficult to maintain close ties with people who live in your neighborhood, much less across the country or world. But it is imperative that you help the process by convincing your Patient she doesn’t need to call or write, that it’s OK to veg in front of the TV for the one hour of free time she has because she will be able to pick up where she left off with those that matter most. We know that is not true, though. Friendships demand time and fresh connections, otherwise they wither and rest on experiences less and less relevant to each other’s lives.
Help her understand that checking in on someone’s Facebook page is the same as talking on the phone. It might take some convincing after a lifetime of improper training, but exhaustion is your trump card.
Your affectionate aunt,