Post # 1
One of my pretty close friends is going through a rough patch in her current relationship. She’s called/texted me multiple times this week to vent. She’s also done this many times in the past.
Over the three years I’ve known her, she’s been through multiple break-ups, confusing situations, etc. She’s ridiculously self-absorbed, and she goes on and on about every little thing. For instance, a couple years ago she was dating this guy. The last three phone conversations she had with him were all initiated by her, so she kept going on about what does that MEAN? Things like that, that are just so nitpicky.
Right now, her girlfriend isn’t sure about what she wants for their relationship, so my friend has been calling me all week, telling me every single detail of every conversation, and giving me a stream-of-consciousness monologue of her thoughts. There is no changing the subject, because when she’s upset, she is the center of attention and that’s all she can talk about.
Usually, I’d suggest a girls night, bring over a bottle of wine, and listen to her troubles. But I’m just exhausted. I’ve been working on our DIY invitations all weekend, and FI and I were going to finish putting them together tonight. And I just really don’t feel like going over to her house and listening to her complain for hours on end.
Am I the worst friend ever? I really do feel bad for her, and I’ve tried to be there as much as possible. But is there a time when I’m justified in just not listening anymore, or at least not putting myself in an endless miserable situation?
ETA – She has been there for me in the past when I’ve been upset. But I’ve literally gone to her probably three or four times in three years, and she had a tendency of making the conversation about her. So it’s not exactly like we’ve even here.
Post # 3
I go through this same kind of emotions with one of my girlfriends. I just get emotionally exhausted from listening to the same issue over and over, offering the same advice over and over, having her not listen at all, rinse and repeat monthly. Ugh. I’ll admit that I mentally checked out after a while. It’s hard to be the sounding board constantly and feel like the friendship is one sided for the most part. I don’t think it means you’re a bad friend, I think it means you’re human!
Post # 4
I think that you can be “there for her” in ways other than just listening to her vent. Why don’t you take her bowling or hiking or something? Then you can listen to her while you do something else (less painful for you), she’ll get out of the house (better for her), and she’s (maybe?) less likely to vent about personal stuff in public (again, better for you).
But yeah, it’s only human to (as Bakerella said) “zone out” sometimes. I think you should be there for the people you care about in their time of need, which sometimes means listening to them cry for hours, and sometimes actually does mean telling them to get themselves together.
Post # 5
The older I get the less tolerance for B.S. I now have a three times rule. You can tell me about an issue up to three times, in whatever configuration you want, after that its a wrap. If you not moving forward in some kinda way, I’m not trying to hear it. So no your not bad friend, you simply reached your limits.
Post # 6
Invite her over to vent and make her help you with invitations while she complains
Post # 7
I’ve had friends like this too, that are always having silly problems or turning conversations around to themselves every time we talk. It can be exhausting! I don’t think you are a bad friend. The fact that you still want to be there for her despite her exhausting behaviour proves you to be a good friend. Just try your best to keep supporting her, and take breaks when you need them.
Post # 8
- Wedding: October 2011 - Tre Bella, Mesa, AZ
@Brianalaura: I completely agree! 🙂
Post # 9
Thanks ladies, I feel a little less guilty. I texted back and forth with her tonight but didn’t go over there. And mg1363, brilliant idea. But then I’d feel bad for not making her a bridesmaid, so I’m avoiding that situation altogether.
Post # 10
I’m afraid I can be like your friend sometimes 🙁 When that happens with me it’s usually because I’m losing control of my anxiety disorder. Whatever I’m worried about takes over my brain and it’s all I can talk about, think about… I analyze things to death and go over the same topics and questions over and over again. I know it’s tiring for my friends and for FI because they give me good rational advice/solutions to my problems… but it doesn’t help because when in anxiety mode my brain discounts rational perspectives.
Luckily I got to see a great doctor, so this doesn’t happen that much any more because I know some tricks to use to calm my brain down.
Could she maybe be struggling with a disorder and not even realize it? Just a suggestion.
Post # 11
Have you tried talking to to your friend about her conversation highjacking ways? I know that would be an incredibly difficult conversation, and would have to be approached extremely delicately and with care, but she may not even realize she’s doing it. If you told her, she might get upset, but maybe she’d start to think about it more and realize when she’s doing it, and maybe stop doing it as much.
Post # 12
Lately I’ve been having the same feelings about one of my friends. She used to be really fun to hang out and be goofy with, but she seems to be going through some kind of crisis about being single. Now all she wants to talk about are her problems, her issues, her wants. Namely, she wants to talk about the guys she’s kinda sorta seeing, the guys she wants to be seeing, and the guys who she saw but weren’t up to her standards.
When I saw her this weekend, she did the same thing as your friend. I sat there and listened while she recited word for word, all the text-message conversations she’s ever had with this guy who recently dumped her. I dutifully restrained myself from slapping her silly every time she asked, “What does it MEAN?” It was exhausting.
This is how I dealt with it… I gave her one full night to vent away. She had hours and hours to rehash and over-analyze the same insignificant, trivial little details again and again. I did my best to be sympathetic and attentive to her woes. Then the next night, when she tried to bring up the subject of her fixation again five minutes into meeting me, I asked her point blank, “Why are we still talking about him?” She had no good answer for that, and didn’t mention him again for the rest of the evening.
It’s tough love, but remember that giving your friend a reality check and not allowing her to dwell pointlessly on her negative feelings, or to waste her energy with questions that have no answers, is actually part of being a GOOD friend. If she has a tendency to wallow, she needs a friend who knows when to let her vent and when to tell her she’s had enough and it’s time to snap out of it.