You Clearly Didn’t Read ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ I Gifted You Last Year

If you had your life wouldn’t be falling apart

Ellyn Mendenhall
Jane Austen’s Wastebasket
3 min readJul 21, 2020


Photo by Siyuan on Unsplash

I’ve been a generous and thoughtful friend. From remembering birthdays to relentlessly liking your Instagram posts to sending you all the best Arbonne skin-care coupons, I believe my status as a “good friend” has been proven. True, I’ve never gotten much thanks for my exceptional friendship, I didn’t mind, because friendship is about forgiving our other friend’s faults.

But you’ve finally pushed me past the breaking point by not reading the book I gave you last Christmas that would have improved your life. And, more importantly, our relationship.

That copy of The Power of Positive Thinking was meant to help you after your divorce last November. You honestly became super negative and the rest of us almost stopped inviting you to brunch. In December we voted and agreed it was high time you got over it. He only cheated on you with three other women, and not one of them was biologically related to you! Dramatic much?

Still, that pesky loyalty of mine kept me as faithful as ever, even when you missed our annual holiday cookie decorating party to attend your final couples’ therapy session. You never apologized for this selfish transgression yet I have found it in myself to forgive you nonetheless.

So, despite your frequent social errors, I was prompted by the Christmas spirit to offer the greatest gift a friend could give. That critically-acclaimed treasure trove of self-help, The Power of Positive Thinking: A Practical Guide to Mastering the Problems of Everyday Living. I arrived unannounced on Christmas Eve to deliver it. Of course, I had no idea that Michael took the kids that night and you would be in tear-stained pajamas watching re-runs of Family Feud. It was perfect, my gift couldn’t have fallen into better, clearly in-need-of-transformation hands.

As the month of January passed I grew giddy. Surely my present would dramatically change your life? I dreamed of us discussing the fifth chapter: “Decide To Be Happy.” We’d drink wine as we pondered all the other small-minded service workers who obviously could not handle the power of positive thinking. Our late-night phone calls would end with manifestation phrases instead of, “Goodbye.”How foolish I feel now, thinking that you would actually appreciate my generous attempt at fixing your chosen life of sorrow!

In February, your Facebook statuses demonstrated that the wise lessons had not stuck. If you had even skimmed through the book you would have known that “Defeat Is Not An Option” so why was I learning from social media that you had lost full custody of your children? Jesus H. Christ, Beth! You couldn’t even choose your own kids?

But what I really could not believe, after everything I tried to do to help you, is that you flew hundreds of miles to the quack Mayo Clinic for an assessment of your “rare” condition. I could easily have told you what’s wrong. You have never once considered “Healing Health With Faith,” which is no surprise since you never made it to Chapter 11. At that point it was clear to everyone that your depressing custody battle, impending eviction, and expensive surgery bills could all be fixed with some GODDAMN POSITIVE THINKING!

I am left with no choice but to focus on friends who truly want happiness. I hope that one day you can decide to stop creating such negative experiences for yourself. Until then, I choose to align my energy with someone who fights cancer with their heart and mind, and not just drugs.

Thanks for reading! Follow Jane Austen’s Wastebasket for daily humor!