Friday, March 8, 2013

Ask DrFran: "A Friend in Need"

By DrFran Babcock

Dear DrFran:  
Second Life has a number of things to offer. One is the people. The variety of avatars certainly allows us to appear in a number of ways, such as my furry fox avatar. Then there's how our personalities show. In my first home, one of my neighbors was a gun-totting girl who loved to shoot things up once in a while. We never became an item, as she preferred other girls and was partnered to one, she a fur and her partner a human. Despite her being a "lezzie" as she called herself, the attention of guys wasn't necessarily unwelcome as long as it didn't go too far, her responding to whistles with a wink.

When the home went under after the owner couldn't afford to keep it up longer, I lost touch with many friends there. But we kept in touch with each other. Over time, we met more often, including a few rounds at firing ranges, and at combat sandboxes, watching each others' backs.

Then her partner dumped her, for reasons I never heard. My friend was naturally saddened, and I spent some extra time with her, listening to her. I thought she'd be be blue for a time, but her depression lingered and deepened. She felt worthless, despite my words of praise.

If she preferred the company of guys for intimate contact, I would have asked her out. But her preferring the company of girls, well, that option was out. I don't know what to do as the only other girl whom also did, she was partnered and she didn't know where my friend could find another.

What can I do to help my sad friend?
Worried Fox

Dear, dear Worried Fox:
People are generally very good and compassionate. I see how much you hurt for the pain of your friend, and I know that you are a decent soul. However, as much as we want folks to be happy and at peace with their lives, there is rarely anything that we can do to make this happen. True contentment comes from within, and is not dependent upon the acts of other people.
The best that anyone can do for another person is to listen and to validate their experience. People who feel that they are being heard by others seem to do very well. Sometimes when I work with patients I don’t even say a word. I am just there as a presence, a sounding board. Patients tell me: “That was the best session ever,” and don’t even realize that I have said nothing.
Another thing to consider is the nature of male female relationships. Remember that what I say is always my opinion, and this can differ from yours and others. I find that men and women can be friends, but usually best after they have had a love relationship. Many people disagree with me about this, but my exes here in Second Life and in First Life are my friends, after a period of being apart. My belief is that if you liked the person enough to go out with them, you probably like them. In your case, you hadn’t a chance to date your friend, and it would not have happened, based on her relationship preferences. It’s pretty well known that “lezzies” may sleep with men, but they really do prefer to be with women. However, this does not mean she couldn’t be your friend, and I guess she is.
The rules of attraction are so complicated. A very wise therapist once told me that when you are out and about you are dragging all your emotional luggage around with you. If you should stumble upon someone to whom you are attracted you throw your luggage into a heap with their luggage, and you hope you have a matched set. The pile of valises gets higher and higher each time we do this. And yet, many of us do it over and over again.
Worried Fox, I hope you have found some happiness, because it is very evident to me that you are a kind and caring fox. 

Obligatory disclaimer: The column Ask DrFran is the work of DrFran Babcock, and may not reflect the views of SL Newser as a whole. Please direct any correspondence to DrFran Babcock. I look forward to hearing from you


  1. "If she preferred the company of guys for intimate contact, I would have asked her out."

    Why not ask her out anyway? You don't need to have "intimate contact" to be a friend to someone. Visit the shooting ranges and the combat sandboxes, like you used to do back in the good old days. Take her zombie hunting - there are several places where you can do that and have a blast. When it comes time to talk about problems, don't just sit on the ground looking sorrowful. Go to a club and chat in IM while dancing and listening to music. Clubs are full of people having fun, and the fun is sometimes contagious. Also, clubs are sometimes full of people looking for friends. You never know what you, or she, might find. There are other happy places you can visit and explore without needing to jump on poseballs and emote.

    There are people in Second Life (I know at least one) who have multiple problems and have no one in Real Life they can talk to. If that is the case here, then you may have become this lady's lifeline. And after a while she may realize that if there's one person in the world (you) who cares about her, then she shouldn't call herself worthless. And if she doesn't realize it, you can always point it out.

    Of course the other side of that coin is that there are folks who love to tell others how depressed they are. They thrive on sadness, and gleefully dump their pain on anyone who will listen. If your time with her becomes a never-ending series of gripe sessions, then you should decide whether to disengage or be pulled down yourself. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

    But hey, mega-kudos to you for trying to help in the first place. Most people would probably say "Aww, she's no fun" and walk away. Good job.

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