Monday, March 28, 2011

I have seen the dark side.

I recently went to visit a friend, who after a lengthy period in their presence have determined that they are a snowflake who has developed into a snow storm. Said friend is well into adulthood yet appears to be incapable of the most basic life skills because no one is there to do them, or tell them to do them. I am not talking about a skill such as bill paying, I am talking about life skills such as bathing daily, brushing your teeth, not licking hour plate in a restaurant, and sweeping the god damns monster size hairballs off the bathroom floor. Seriously, did I come to visit my adult friend or the Animal House? At first I would say said friend does not care, however there appears to be a concern for the inability to form a long term romantic relationship or new friendships with adults who have not known them since childhood (such as myself).

If this person was a student I know what I would say, "get a haircut and get a real job" as the song says. How does one approach this extended snowflake stage in a friend or family member? Do you ignore it and just not enter "their world" if it grosses you out?

12 comments:

  1. is it possible this person is autistic? He seems to fit the profile pretty well.

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  2. Are you sure you're not talking about my roommate? On the autism spectrum and chronically depressed to boot. Bathing, dental care, laundry, cleaning, and any real-life relationship, romantic or otherwise -- all are like completely foreign concepts. Asking, begging, threatening, and even arranging professional help and medication has barely helped a whit.

    If you ever do figure out how to help your friend, please let me know, because I'm all out of ideas.

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  3. II was also guessing depressed, possibly + autism spectrum. I think you could assume depressed and suggest they talk to someone about that; any competent professional can do any further diagnoses. There is lots of help out there. Though of course since most of the money has been transferred out of the hands of the working and middle class into the hands of the rapaciously wealthy in the last 30 years, while at the same time social programs have been cut with gleeful abandon because anyone who needs help is a lazy slacking whiner, your friend may not be able to afford it. (Sorry . got irritating email from a right-wing cousin this morning, and I'm in a mood.)

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  4. I find your gender-neutral language enthralling. While my understanding is that these behaviors (like autism-spectrum disorders) are more concentrated among males of our species, particularly males of American culture, I know a woman who fits this description quite well.

    If the friend wants to change, encouraging that desire with some potential concrete steps seems like the way to go.Seeing a therapist or life coach being the two that leap to mind.

    Some of my own rather anti-social behavior (especially my neglect of the dustballs) is directly related to my dislike of my pathologically clean mother, but some of it is also related to my mostly-but-not-quite-entirely treated depression. However, it's possible that the life coach would be a better option as it doesn't come with the stigma that so many associate with mental illness.

    If the friend shows no desire to change, I would suggest politely declining future visits on the basis of your (real or illusory) dust mite allergies. Perhaps even your actions might help the person realize they need help.

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  5. (with apologies for the bad grammar and a note that I am NOT the woman mentioned...my housekeeping makes her look every inch the crazy cat lady / hoarder.)

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  6. I have a friend whose house I have not visited in about 9 years because she is a compulsive hoarder and it is getting worse and worse. She knows about it, can well afford to get help or therapy, vows she will take action, and....nothing happens. The prognosis is not good.
    She cannot have friends or family over, and her appliances are slowly dying. She won't pay a plumber, repair person, or delivery guy for anything because she doesn't want them in the house and hoards her money too. You can't even leave her a message now because she has failed to replace the answering machine, which no longer works.
    If her colleagues ever found out how she lives, they would faint from the shock.
    She is 47.

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  7. I knew some slovenly people in college*, but that was due more to overwork or laziness....this person might be autistic, might be depressed. FML, if you think this friend needs help (therapy, "life coaching", a homemaking class at a community college [?]) I would encourage this person toward those things.

    _____________________________________

    * One guy lived in a pile in a rented room, wore the same uniform three days straight as a parking lot attendant, had a funk that could blister paint off wood or metal.

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  8. Friends are like amusement parks - you don't have to ride all the rides. Ride the rides that you like, ignore or just watch the rides that you don't want to ride.

    In essence, engage your friend to the extent that you are willing to engage.

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  9. Yeah, your friend is NOT a snowflake. If you think this is a snowflake, then you haven't encountered one yet.

    Your friend is ill in some way and has trouble functioning on a day-to-day basis; like others, I read your description and immediately thought "clinical depression." Snowflakes tend to be defiantly ignorant or belligerent. Two different animals.

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  10. I too immediately thought "clinical depression" on reading this post.

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  11. Okay, I'm curious. Licking the plate in the restaurant doesn't sound like depression to me. It sounds like utter lack of social skills. Are the bills being paid? Because, again, that suggests a social skills problem and not a "disengagement from life" problem that you might get with depression.

    From a cultural perspective, I find it interesting how quick everybody was to label this person...maybe it's Aspberger's? Maybe it's depression? Maybe the person just kinda fails at life...I'm thinking about that kid who made millions playing poker online and was recently featured in the NY Times. I don't know that a mental health diagnosis is what's needed here...seems more like the kind of kick in the ass that a life coach could deliver.

    I do believe in supporting people who are seeking treatment, but I'm not sure it's our place to diagnose them?

    The Hound sighs, puts down Lance of Self-Righteousness, and prepares to be flamed for being socially inconsiderate, lazy, a bad friend, etc.

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  12. Thanks for the thoughts everyone. My friend is not autistic, and I am inthe line of work where I can safety say that there is some depression occurring. @blackdog, you are correct that there is a definate lack of social skills occuring.

    With my friend snowflakery is occurring because said friend feels a sense of entitlement that has not been earned. They have chosen a career where success or failure rides completely on another's perspective of them, yet have voiced that they feel they do not née any further training, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

    I have been avoiding the conversation about the social skills and depression because I do not want to be their therapist or case worker, I do this all day. I also do not want to push my perspective on them, instead wanting them to come to this epiphany on their own as it will be more meaningful.

    Your thoughts have galled me determine that I should keep my mouth shut unless asked. My friend will reach out if they want to change!

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