Why aren't my friends being supportive?

Dear Edahn,

Why are people so embittered? When things get cloudy and you need them, that's when they'll do their best to make sure that things stay cloudy for you. It's not supposed to be this way. Maybe I've been talking to the wrong people. Thanks for being here Edahn.

There are some motherfuckers who see your vulnerability as a chance to climb up the ranks and seize power over you. In truth, they're not the total basterts that they appear to be; they're just insecure and lacking self-confidence. They prematurely submit to others and are uncomfortable with it, so when they see an opening to reverse roles and act as the dominant figure, they thrust themselves in by piling on the criticism to keep you down.

There's another thing that might be going on here, though. (Rut roh!) Some people, when feeling down, turn to others to provide them with strokes. You can think of a stroke as pity or commiseration. An example might be Girl 1 saying to a friend "I hate my parents, they're so mean! They make me do dishes that I haven't even used!" Girl 1 wants Girl 2 to say something like "What? I'm sorry. That's not fair. Parents are so tough." (Stroke stroke stroke!) Girl 2 might decide, instead, to respond objectively and honestly and say something like "well, do they sometimes do your dishes?" or "do they do other stuff for you that makes doing their dishes fair?"

Why wouldn't she offer Girl 1 the fuzzy, warm agreement she's seeking? Because Girl 2 doesn't like offering something when she feels pressured. She prefers offering things of her own volition. If she refuses to concede to Girl 1's request, Girl 1 might perceive Girl 2 as being unsupportive or trying to keep things cloudy and unresolved for her. Girl 1 will get pissed because she's come to depends on the strokes. Girl 1 doesn't realize that she doesn't need the strokes to be okay.

So what's happening with you? I don't know. I'd like to assume that the problem lies with your friends, but from such a short question it's hard to tell and I want to cover all my bases for your benefit and the other 8 readers of this blog. You can figure it out by becoming sensitive to your motivation and  the motivation of your friends when you open up to them. Are you expecting them to comfort you or just be honest and caring (which sometimes requires that they criticize you)? Are they, in turn, giving you honest feedback, or trying to rub your mess in your face?

If you conclude that your motivation is healthy and your friends are responding carelessly, then point out what they're doing and tell them to knock it off, firmly and clearly. If you decide that your motivation is unhealthy and your friends are responding with care, then just be a little more open to what they have to say and recognize that they're not criticizing out of malice but genuine concern. If you conclude your motivation is unhealthy and your friends are responding without care, well...then you're totally screwed. ;-D