I don’t subscribe to unconditional relationships, whether they are by blood, geography, gender, race, religion, or friendship.
Recently, I had a situation in my personal life that brought this concept to the fore. I (and others) had gotten deeply involved with a lovely person who was in a destructive relationship. When it broke up…again…we were all asked to be supportive, and we were (with phone calls, visits, dinner, etc.). The relationships all deepened and then this person slipped way backward…again…into a morass of misery. I communicated I was sad this had happened, and I was willing to resume our friendship after some time had passed, when the drama was no longer part of the equation.
I heard from this person again, and was informed the drama was indeed over…finally (one last burp, I guess). This individual did communicate to me about being hurt that my friendship seemed conditional, when it was expected I would be there through stupid and smart behavior.
I responded all relationships should be conditional – not “hair-trigger” conditional, but conditional nonetheless. I don’t want to be Mel Gibson’s friend, for example. I am certainly willing to be supportive and helpful, but I don’t want to take up time in my life with yo-yo drama. I consider the other individual has the responsibility to do the work to make themselves healthy and my support is there lovingly when that is, indeed, the case. Getting one’s life on a healthy track is difficult, and I am certainly there to support my friends during that journey. I am not there, however, when intentional, self-defeating steps are taken to get back into the problems.
This is the philosophy I espouse on the air. Otherwise, giving support unconditionally is making oneself a patsy and/or a contributor to the ongoing drama and filling one’s life with unnecessary turmoil.
Relationships require the honor, integrity and effort of both individuals. That should be the condition.
Mistakes? Temporary stupidity? All understandable.
Betrayal of support by giving into weakness? Not so understandable.
You owe those who support you not to give into temptation or weakness, or you will lose the best of them.