I recently read two articles that both state the phrase, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best,” is nothing more than something horrible people say to justify their behavior and feel better about their miserable personalities. However, I heard this phrase years ago from someone whose worst is about the same as most people’s best. Needless to say, I have a different point of view on it.
Of course, I have no idea how people use this phrase and I don’t believe that I’ve ever used it myself. Although, I definitely could have. We all know about my memory. Anyway, they way I look at it is based on my own experiences and is completely different from how it seems to have been interpreted by others. This is not to say that either of us is right. I simply have a different way of looking at this phrase and it’s something to consider when you hear it used in conversation.
The interpretation that seems to be popular is that anyone should feel inclined to act as horribly, rudely, or sadistically as they choose and be able to tell anyone who disagrees with them can take a hike and be considered a bad person for it. However, I have seen people who call themselves friends see a person have a bad day or express natural human anger or frustration or say one thing out of turn and it doesn’t matter how many apologizes they offer, the friendship is over and the person wants nothing to do with them.
Fair weather friends are named so as they only show up when good things are happening. If someone should struggle or live through a tragedy or even just needs some basic support, these friends are no where to be found. But that isn’t real friendship. Being a friend means going through the good and the bad. It means supporting each other in times of trouble and being there to talk and comfort and help if needs be. Anyone you wouldn’t do this with is a casual acquaintance, not a friend.
Everyone struggles in life and those with mental illness have even more struggles. It takes someone with a lot of understanding and compassion to forgive someone who wasn’t themselves or said something they didn’t mean and accept their apology. It takes a lot to realize that your friend was out of control and realizes that their actions were wrong.
However, this does not give carte blanche to anyone to act however they want, make no apologies and demand that everyone still remain friends with them. Some actions are deal breakers and that’s just a part of life. And that’s fine. No one has to be friends with everyone.
But in my mind, this phrase means that if you are truly friends with someone then you should remain friends with them when they are struggling and when they are not. Not that someone can punch you in the face and you’re just supposed to be okay with it. Being a human being is messy and being friends with human beings also get messy.
If friendship gets to the point where it is a detriment to one or both parties, then there’s no reason to keep the friendship going. But when you become friends with someone, you should be prepared to everything that that means. This includes being supportive, being understanding, being compassionate, and not being so rigid and judgemental that one casual comments makes you want to never see that person again. There are no prefect people and we all have to deal with others flaws if we’re to remain relationships. Don’t let a small flaw ruin a great friendship.