Let’s face it, being nice can drain your personal resources. Bonding with others is a time waster keeping you from the pursuit of material gain. Here are a few ways to quickly extricate yourself from excessively demanding social situations.
The friend who spends hours complaining about his/her spouse.
How many hours do your friends spend sitting on your couch, drinking your coffee, and eating your snacks while they kvetch about their spouse who insists on wearing the same ratty raincoat she wore when you fell in love with her, or the husband who thinks beer is foreplay? If it adds up to more than two hours a month, type up an invoice and mail it. You can take into account that you’re not a licensed therapist, nor are you a divorce lawyer, but as a co-worker told me when I admitted I had gone "Dutch" on dates, “Child, your time is valuable!” Don’t hesitate to charge at least $50 per hour.
The party where everyone is boring, but you are the center of attention.
Should you be asking yourself whether you’re a narcissist? Absolutely not. There are people who are less intelligent than you are, and less interesting, so accept it. There’s a great way to get out of this situation that only serves to makes you seem even more mysterious: Stand in your circle of slack-jawed idiots balancing your cocktail, cigarette and hors d’oeuvre in one hand while your gaggle of losers hangs on your every word. When you arrive a few words from the climax of your story, suddenly close your mouth. Slowly look at your audience as if you’re about to finish your sentence in some astonishing fashion, then take one step backwards, turn away and hightail it out the door. As you run for your car, or the subway, ditch the snack, guzzle the drink, and smoke the cigarette.
The Husband/Wife Recently Abandoned for Another Man/Woman.
For the sake of argument, let’s say your friend Dave wants to go into his tale of woe about how his wife left him for a woman. Tell Dave not to take it personally. Any man will feel better knowing there’s nothing he can do, he just doesn’t have the right equipment. If and when he goes on to explain his concern about his daughter spending time with his wife and her lesbian lover, point out that now his daughter has more options on the table, and at least spending time with them will give her the opportunity to see what a good relationship looks like. She can take this experience and knowledge into adulthood when she starts having relationships. Trust me, the Dave in your life will never come to you for help again.