I have fallen sick to the common cold of friendship. It's sniffly and a pain, and I have to carry tissues around with me. More often than not it drives new people away. But there are those who will still talk to you, just turn away a bit — keep their distance because as kind as they are, they're still a bit put off. Best case scenario: your friends push you into bed and bring you soup and hot choclate, and sooner or later you've recovered, and you're more immune than someone who might not have suffered from it at all. But there's also the chance that they will leave for good, or — worst case scenario — you'll give to them as well. I have fallen ill to a virus, strong and pervasive and resistant. It has many names. There's the scientific 'low self-esteem', although I believe they call it 'self-hate' in some countries — Australia, probably. There's the most-used phrase 'sorry I'm so this way', the street-wise 'I'm not worth having around', the coded 'I am terrible and you could do better', and the one everyone knows but doesn't like to stay when with company: w h y w o u l d y o u w a n t t o b e m y f r i e n d a t a l l ? I have fallen sick to the common cold of friendship, and let me tell you — the flu s u c k s .