I think we all know when it comes to being someone’s friend, there are some basic principles and duties we must perform. For starters, a friend is someone that is loyal, someone that you can confide in and entrust with all your dirty secrets. A friend is someone you can count on to listen to you when you complain or simply get things off your chest. They are there for you through the good, bad, and hella ugly. Of course the dynamics of all of friendships may differ a bit, but the overall consensus is – friends support each other.
But what if you have a friend that’s always making bad decisions? You know – the one that always goes back to the guy she has no business with, the one that constantly blows her money partying but needs to borrow money to make rent, or maybe they are not as motivated about their life as they should be? Naturally, you want to help them out right? After all, that’s what friends do. But at what point does being a supportive friend turn into being their enabler? Do you ever feel the need to intervene and check them?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing with having problems! We’ve all got them (some more than others), and we often turn to our friends for support. It’s pretty simple – when you truly care about someone, you want the best for them. You want to protect them from harm, and sometimes their selves. So when a problem arises, you step in true to form to comfort them, counsel them, and listen to their issues.
However, listening or even witnessing someone make the same mistakes time and time again can grow tiring. Clearly they expect your sympathy and empathy, and it’s not like you don’t have it. But after the hearing the same story for the hundredth time and hearing the same outcome, don’t you ever want to slap your friend and tell them to snap the heck out of it? (PSA – Don’t slap your friend!) Does that make you a shitty friend? No, no it doesn’t. However, it’s definitely a sticky situation to be placed in.
I think there’s definitely a fine line between being supportive and being a pushover. If you’re too honest, you risk being seen as judgmental, causing your friend to shy away from confiding in you. But if you simply smile and nod your head, some may see you as part of the problem. So what gives? Honestly, I don’t think there is a clear cut answer. Every friendship is unique and there is no cookie-cutter solution. If you do find yourself in this predicament, I do think it’s important to consider a few things…
1. Understand that you may not know the full story…
Everything isn’t always what it seems. Recognize that there is a possibility your friend is withholding some information. Maybe they’re embarrassed about something, afraid to share all the details, or simply forgot to mention an important fact.
2. Tough love is necessary (within reason)…
WITHIN REASON. Fact is, you are no one’s savior. And just because you think your friend should do things a certain way doesn’t mean they have to. Please take that into consideration before you decide to confront them and tell them about all that they’re doing to mess up. Not everyone can handle the truth and although it’s good to hear it every now and again – delivery is everything!
3. Everyone moves at their own pace…
This is a follow-on to point #2. Everyone processes and deals with things differently. Yes – they may seem ridiculous at the time but try to have some patience. When they finally do wake up and smell the roses, don’t you want to be right there with them?
What are your thoughts? How would you deal with a friend that just can’t seem to get their shit together?
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