140/365 – Meditation Games #140 – Cautionary Toxicity Tale

Developer: Geneva Heyward

Launcher Quote: “Sometimes I try to solve problems that can’t really be solved. Like I want to help everyone I meet or I wanna make things work so I don’t have to cut people off. It was hard cutting off toxic high school friends. I mean, it was hard watching them do the same awful things over and over again and pointing it out to them over and over.

Sometimes it’s just best to let go.”

I’m definitely in the camp of the developer when it comes to the friendships and associations with others. I always seem to want to maintain all of them equally and try not to upset most people most of the time. It’s a mentality that has won me many friends and a reputation for being easygoing and good to work with or someone to have fun doing things like playing video games. As a result, I’ve cultivated a wide network of people who I could consider to be good friends and have kept in touch with as many of them as I could.

But on another level there’s a darker side to being so eager to keep around as many folks as possible, and that’s what the developer is referring to in part. Toxic friendships, though at first seemingly just a matter of a small issue in the midst of better times, can become harmful and detrimental to your daily life. They can take a variety of forms, but one of the ones that is most common are the ones that take advantage of someone who just wants to be accommodating and not quite rock the boat. They’re the kind that override someone’s need to be kind and caring and make it into a demand and not just something that is optional. They’re the kind that tend to make excuses for behavior that isn’t really conducive to the friendship and make it harder to get out of.

The images that shifted and darkened playing this game showed both the repetitiveness with which some of these friendships proceed down a path of toxicity as well as show how a friendship can be corrupted by such behavior, turning it into a shell of itself that doesn’t have the same kind of healthy interaction. In many ways it’s presenting a bit of a cautionary tale of ensuring that you don’t go down a path of sticking around just because you don’t want people to be upset and certainly a reminder that real friendships are a two way street that both respect each others’ borders but who are also there when it counts (and not necessarily at someone’s beck and call). It’s a reminder to the nice guys and gals out there to be a bit more guarded with their feelings and their well-being in being around someone who isn’t quite the best to associate with, and sorely needed in today’s polarizing world.

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