Need advice regarding how to be a good friend

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Sceal

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Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« on: November 04, 2017, 09:41:26 PM »
My friend of mine is having trouble with her boyfriend.
She says he is ignoring her most of the day but when she doesnt check up on him he picks a fight. He always sighs when she is talking to him,  and it makes her feel unwanted. He no longer goes out with her.  And he was mean towards her pet, so she had to give it away. He keeps shooting her down when something good happens her way.
I dont know the guy,  but I think he is being controlling. I would rather she have a man that makes her feel wanted.

But I am not sure if I should tell her she should leave him. Is it my place?  I want to support her.  Is it better if I listen and offer support while she figures it out on her own? She has been through enough, I justwant her to be happy!

What do you guys think?

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Three Roses

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 11:54:22 PM »
I vote for this one -
Quote
Is it better if I listen and offer support while she figures it out on her own?

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sanmagic7

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 02:08:11 AM »
i agree with 3roses.  unless she asks for your opinion, she isn't ready to hear anything neg. about him.  if she asks, it's ok to tell her what you think about the situation, but i'd stop short at telling her what to do about it.  that is something she needs to figure out for herself.

best to you with this.  it's so hard to watch someone you care about being treated with less than care and respect.  big hug.

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Sceal

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 06:48:45 AM »
Thank you guys. I will do my best

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I like vanilla

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2017, 06:28:16 PM »
That's a tough one. From my personal (and entirely anecdotal) experience, I suspect that telling your friend to leave him might be more likely to prompt her to dig in her heels and stay with him. But of course, it is difficult to stand by and 'do nothing'.

I am with the others; listening and offering support is the 'something' that you can do right now and might be the best option.

A few years ago, I had a really close friend who was in a dysfunctional (read emotionally and psychologically abusive) relationship. I listened and provided support for her. I also regularly let her know that no matter what, I would always be there for her. I had noticed that he had started isolating her from her friends, including me (never a good sign). As their relationship progressed I got less and less communication from her, including virtually no online contact even though she is someone who normally responds to emails right away. I made a point of checking in with by email. I always stayed neutral and fairly generic assuming that he could and likely did read her messages. I would say 'thinking about you hope you are well, things here are good'. 'I noticed tulips were up this morning, I remember you like tulips here is a photo of them', etc. short, neutral messages. I never got a response, and thought that I had lost her as a friend. Until one day at about 2 am she called and asked me to come pick her up (she had been living with him). She had finally had enough, was scared, and had no other friends left; because I had still sent her emails she hoped that I was still willing to be there for her and so called me. I picked her up, took her home (to my home), held her while she cried, fed her ice cream and herbal tea, let her sleep on the couch, and when she was ready helped her go through her options on what to do next. She unfortunately, included going back to him, which I left on the table; I have sworn off co-dependent relationships and being the fixer so needed to let her decide what to do even if I thought it a bad idea. Instead, I asked 'how do you feel about option x (which she had come up with)?', 'what do you think the impacts of option y might be?'. And I held her when she cried, fed her more ice cream and herbal tea, and provided resources (websites, brochures, phone calls to appropriate school people (we were also classmates and she needed a leave)), etc. I did not use the information to sway her one way other the other, but tried to provide the data she needed to make her decisions but was too overwhelmed to seek out on her own. I always first asked questions such as 'would it help if I asked the school about what is involved in taking a leave of absence?' 'would it help if I looked your tenancy rights in breaking the lease with him?' etc. Fortunately, she did break up with him and is now doing quite well in her life and relationships.

So my vote is 'listen and be supportive as she works through this' and if you are able then also  'regularly let her know that you will always be there for her' - and then be there for her (if you know you cannot do that, and you are absolutely allowed to make that boundary then of course do not do the latter half).

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Sceal

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2017, 07:44:31 PM »
Thank you Vanilla, for sharing your experience. I am happy that your friend is now thriving, and decided to go out of her relationship that was ultimatedly hurting her.

I try to avoid telling my friend that I think her BF is being a jerk. But I'm having a hard time avoiding saying I think she deserves better. We're not long term friends, and we don't live nearby each other. But I care about her, and I think she's great. And no one deserves to be in a relationship that is hurting them. But I know all too well how hard it is to admit that a relationship is harmful, and how hard it is to leave someone you still love. He probably needs help too, but he's not really my concern. She doesn't have alot of people in her life as far as I'm aware of, and his family has been more supportive to her than her own. I suspect that also makes it difficult to leave.

I feel I end up saying "I'm sorry..." for things that aren't my fault, but I don't know what to say. Saying things like "That must be really difficult" feels so distant to me - and I'm not sure why. Maybe because I feel that whenever I've heard those words it didn't feel validating, it felt alienating. Like I am all on my own, and no one wants to listen. I've isolated myself alot lately, so I find communication outside my healthcare providers difficult and of a dangerous territory. I don't know how to show her I'm here for her - and at the same time distance myself when I'm too vulnerable. She's a great listener when I need one, I really want to be one for her.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 04:42:56 PM »
and you can be a great listener for her without giving advice or opinions that aren't asked for. 

for me, having someone tell me 'that must be so difficult' actually does feel validating.  it's like they heard me, acknowledge my situation, label it, and lead me to know that they 'get' what i'm talking about.  but, if someone would tell me that the person i'm complaining about is a so-and-so would get me defensive.  if i'm not ready to say it, i'm definitely not ready to hear it, especially if i haven't asked for an opinion.

sometimes the best friends say the least, but let the other person know that they're there to listen and support.  we can support someone without judgment - it's their life, and they have their own perspective while they're in the middle of a situation/relationship. 

best to you with this.  i know how hard it is to want to rescue someone, but have come to believe, unless it's an actual life and death situation, that that's not my job as a friend.   big hug.

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Sceal

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 08:38:24 PM »
You've given me helpful perspectives and reminders.
It isn't my job to save them, it's my job to just be there when I can.

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Blueberry

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 09:02:35 PM »
It isn't my job to save them, it's my job to just be there when I can.

 :yeahthat: (Something I struggle with too, I mean 'just' doing that.)

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Contessa

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2017, 01:29:13 AM »
This is a good thread. If I was receiving Vanilla's emails, I would know that there was somebody out there willing to hold me up when the time came that I couldn't. Yes, it would take a while, and several emails over time to realise this, but it would happen eventually.

Although it seems counter intuitive, this may be the fastest way forward; the supporter must be consistently and painfully patient. Continue with their own life, then be there when that call eventually comes.

And to echo other's sentiments, I found comfort in the confusion of others. By that I mean, when I spoke to trusted friends about the things others were doing to me, their confusion gave me comfort in mine. They didn't have an answer, so I felt okay not being able to find one either.

The key to all of this is their safety.

A lateral perspective. Hope it's useful :)


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Sceal

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Re: Need advice regarding how to be a good friend
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2017, 06:55:37 AM »
I agree to that Contessa, if I'd recieved emails like Vanilla sent out it would be affirming that someone still would want to talk to me.  :)