Ariel Garlow / The Silhouette

You call your friends up to make Saturday night plans. Lisa says she wants to go barhopping with you and Sara. Malcolm wants to grab coffee and a movie with you and Sara. Sara doesn’t want to go barhopping Saturday but still wants to see you and Lisa.

They all leave the task of sorting it all out to you.

They always leave it to you because you are least likely to start a fight about it. They trust your maturity and decision-making for a good night out. But when does trust become exploitative? Last week they trusted you to buy all the snacks for the party. The week before, they trusted you to have your parent’s car that weekend so everyone could go bowling out of town. When your phone isn’t on, they get mad at you. When you don’t call them back right after you leave campus, they are impatient.

What responsibilities do you own as a friend? But, the better question is, what responsibilities do they own? You are not a machine built for other humans to load their chores and conflicts upon. So why should you be afraid to stop and say, “I’m not the only one who needs to be mature here”?

You go through a tough breakup. Your ex-girlfriend is apparently taking it pretty badly but you cannot tell. They have been going out more, seeing more friends, enjoying their favourite books and hobbies. But people tell you that you broke her. She tells you that you’re a horrible, messed up person one morning on the phone. You are told that it is your responsibility to give her a clean break up, no threading her, no mixed emotions. Told she’s in a bad place and it’d be wrong to hurt her any more.

What responsibilities do we own as a lover, or ex-partner? But again, the question still pervades, what responsibilities do they own?

Make sure that those who truly love you understand that you, too, can be weighed down immeasurably by stress, heartbreak, loneliness; that you are not an island of responsibility but a purely fallible human much like the rest of the world. We all own responsibility, some just own up to it more than others.


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