How Much Responsibilty Should You Have For Your Friends?

I am a big proponent of everyone being responsible for themselves, and this is largely because of my own personal flaws. I am a codependent. I often feel responsible for other people’s happiness and well being. This often times puts me in situations where I get used or even worst, don’t treat myself right because I’d prefer to see others happy before myself. Still, I think there are times when you should have a responsibility to and for your friends, and of course times when you should not.

The other night, a friend of mine went out drinking with a female friend of his. They both got intoxicated, she more so than he. After the drinking was done, he tried to help her sober up by walking around with her and forcing her to drink water. It was getting late and he was ready to go home so he took her to an establishment and according to him, told them that they were responsible for her and to not allow her to drive. Well, an hour later he got a call from a police officer saying that he had stopped her, was giving her a DUI and wanted to know if he was available to pick up her car from the side of the road.

My friend was devastated. At one end he felt responsible and on the other, felt like he had done all he could do and that she was a grown woman responsible for her own decisions. I agreed with him to a certain extent, except she was intoxicated and intoxicated people usually make very poor decisions. On top of that, as a friend, I felt like he should have placed her in a taxi and make sure she got home safely. When my friends and I go out drinking, we ALWAYS have a designated driver. I thought it was a poor decision on both of their parts to both drink in the first place. And as a man, I thought he should have been extra protective of his female friend.

I watched as he went back and forth from feeling bad, to feeling like he did nothing wrong and I notice I was starting to feel a certain way about him, almost as if I couldn’t trust or count on him in a life or death situation. I wondered if we had been together that night and he was more sober than I was, would he have left me to fend for myself the way he did his female friend. Then I had to start questioning what type of friend was he really? Sure he’s a fun person to hang around, but I was starting to think that he certainly wasn’t someone to count on in a life or death situation. Me, being who I am, would have never left my friend to fend for herself while she was inebriated, but maybe that’s just the codependency in me, or maybe that’s because I think friends should always look out for the best interest of each other.

So I think there is a line between taking responsibility for say, your friends happiness and being so codependent that you are not allowing them to learn to take care of themselves, but in the situation when it comes to your friends safety, especially when they are not in the right frame of mine to look out for themselves, I do think a good friend has the responsibility to make sure that their friend doesn’t do something irreparably foolish that they will certainly regret later.

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