Author Topic: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?  (Read 3447 times)

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TealDragon

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How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« on: October 03, 2012, 05:51:46 PM »
I love my friend Kristy, but she makes disastrous relationship choices. She makes the same exact bad choices every time and we spend such a huge quantity of our time together talking about the same situation over and over with different men. She calls me crying so frequently, and I feel just terrible for her because she is a great friend and person and it's sad to see her hurting. She always tells me how much she admires my relationship with DF and always asks me for advice on what she should do. My advice to her is basically the same every time -- you need to communicate with the person you're dating and not try to play mind games and create your own drama, but essentially, to just talk to the boyfriend of the month when there are problems that come up. But she never listens. She just makes excuses about why she would rather continue doing things her way and then when the relationships run their course, she comes over for some wine and girl time and talks about what a scumbag he was and how next time she's going to listen to me. But this pattern has been going on for years. It's becoming very tiring and I am getting frustrated.

She is otherwise a wonderful friend, and I really would not like to lose her friendship. I certainly don't mind being there for friends who are going through tough times, I would do that for any of my friends. But most of them, well actually, none of my other friends, are in this situation every other month or so. Is there any polite way to tell her that I cannot keep up with this, or am I just being mean? I'm just getting so frustrated, I can see a breakup coming right now and I'm concerned that if I don't have something preplanned, I'm going to lose my patience with her and I really don't want to hurt her feelings.

EMuir

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 06:14:42 PM »
Beandip, beandip, beandip.  Have her over and say that you think she'll feel better if you just watch this movie, or play this game, or listen to this great new podcast you found.  Basically let her have a few minutes of  wailing "I should have listened to you" and then try to change the subject.  If she won't, then she may need more emotional support than you can give and you may want to avoid her company immediately after breakups.

PastryGoddess

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 06:21:17 PM »
You need to tell her once and only once, how you feel.  Then when she comes to you and wants to complain, you can reference your previous conversation.  Also you'll need to invest in some bean dip.  Also having stock phrases ready to go will also help. Hopefully she'll get the message and actually want to chat with you about other things than her horrible love life

Cami

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 06:28:09 PM »
Your friend may be my cousin. She finally admitted to me that the advice I gave her made sense and that she would be wise to take it, but "I just can't do it." I replied, "No, you can do it. You won't do it. Big difference." Then she gave me all sorts of reasons why she wouldn't do it. So then I tried to bean dip, but it didn't work.  Sadly, we are no longer close because once her disastrous romantic and life choices resulted in an unplanned pregnancy with another bad choice of a man, I was unable to instantly muster the level of excitement over the pregnancy she expected from me. We are now nothing more than Facebook friends.

On the one hand, I'm very sad about it. On the other hand, I'm not because the constant drama was wearing on me and taking up too much time in MY life and I hear from those with whom she's still close that every day is a soap opera.

JenJay

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2012, 06:30:05 PM »
I'd give her a big, sympathetic sigh and say "Hon, I've been giving you the same advice for years. I don't know what else to say except I love you and I want you to be happy!"

I had a friend like that. I'd known her about a year and from day one she'd been talking about leaving her husband but there was always some reason why she had to wait. I'd listened, advised, sympathized, etc. many times. One day she was moaning about him while her mom happened to be over and, to be honest, I thought her mom was being pretty unsympathetic. Finally when my friend left the room her mom said "She's been saying the same things for YEARS. All we can do is listen and try not to get involved!" Big lightbulb moment for me, and a lesson that came in handy with another friend years later.

Hmmmmm

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2012, 07:02:48 PM »
I'd give her a big, sympathetic sigh and say "Hon, I've been giving you the same advice for years. I don't know what else to say except I love you and I want you to be happy!"

I had a friend like that. I'd known her about a year and from day one she'd been talking about leaving her husband but there was always some reason why she had to wait. I'd listened, advised, sympathized, etc. many times. One day she was moaning about him while her mom happened to be over and, to be honest, I thought her mom was being pretty unsympathetic. Finally when my friend left the room her mom said "She's been saying the same things for YEARS. All we can do is listen and try not to get involved!" Big lightbulb moment for me, and a lesson that came in handy with another friend years later.

This, and start calling her attention to the repetitive behavior.  "You did the same behavior with Joe so why didmyou think it would be different with Sam?"

Giggity

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2012, 07:13:30 PM »
"You've asked me this question in regard to seven different guys. My answer has never changed. I'll give it again, if you'd like, but honestly I'd prefer not to repeat myself again."
Words mean things.

WillyNilly

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2012, 07:26:29 PM »
Well having been that person for many years I would say, stop being so lax in your advice.  I don't know you in real life but I bet you get all soft and warm and friendly and advice her with this comforting soft voice, because you seem like a good sweet person on here and thats what good sweet friends do.  Let me tell you, it just sounds like comforting murmurs.  And its not really pushing someone to change, but its just nursing their wounds.

Have you ever heard of a winning teacher or coach inspiring positive growth with a soft, "there-there, perhaps if you tried..." approach?  Nope.  Change gets rallied in.  Get harsh, get serious, get [metaphorically] loud and in her face about it.  Don't feel bad for her and commiserate with her.  Tell her its her own darn fault and to man up and own that she caused this situation and if she wants something different she better start doing something differently because its her life and her relationships and the power to change any bit of it lies with her.  Don't sugar coat it and don't put up with it.  Use strong words, even if they upset her to hear them. If she makes the same dang mistake again tell her "I don't want to hear it" in a tone that says you mean it and change topics. Make her change (ok you can't make her change, but I mean take that kind of stance with her), be the friend that inspires and encourages change, not the one who listens and comforts.

Be cause its really hard to change your base relationship patterns. Really hard, and really scary and really lonely.  Sometimes people a push instead of a coaxing.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 08:26:45 PM »
I'd be half tempted to make her write lines, as in "I will remember to do/not do *fill in the blank*" over and over again.  >:D
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

gen xer

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2012, 08:46:35 PM »
I know people like that....and they don't really want advice.  She knows what she should do.  She wants an audience and / or sympathy.

Don't get me wrong...sometimes we all need a little validation and sometimes we just need to spill our guts....but advice...nah.  People often agree with the advice given...but they have no intention of following it unless it suits them.

I know that sounds cynical but it has just been my experience.

buvezdevin

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2012, 08:56:56 PM »
Well, I don't recommend the reply I once gave to a friend in a similar loop "you *want* to think this is going to go differently because it is a different relationship, though you are approaching the same choices the same way as previous relationships, and I *want* to have a unicorn.  My chance of success is better."

Others have given great insight and advice.  My only potentially helpful comment is, your instincts are right in having something prepared to say for "the next time.". I say that as someone who benefitted greatly from the shoulders of friends during woeful times in prior romances of my own.  But if your friend is doing a "lather, rinse, repeat" in her relationships, and expecting you to share the ride with a cup of sympathy and unheeded advice every time, I completely understand your need to stop that loop between you and your friend, though you can't stop her continuing her patterns in romance.
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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2012, 09:00:55 PM »
As many times as you want her to ignore it.

Really. People do what they want. If she doesn't want to do it, she's not going to, no mattere how great your advice is.

I would suggest being frank with her like this, "You have asked me several times what to do about this, so you clearly haven't gotten the answer you want. Why don't you tell me what you want to hear, I'll say it, and then we never have to talk about this again?"

It's harsh, but it might open her eyes.

camlan

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 09:03:44 PM »
My sister has a friend like this.  My sister has finally come up with a solution that works for her. She tells her friend she can talk about the latest guy/guy problem for 10 minutes. Then the subject either changes or Sis goes home/hangs up the phone. Sis times her, and she cries and complains for 10 minutes. Then she stops.

The friend has pretty much worn out all her other friends with this, so she goes along with Sis's rule.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


TootsNYC

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2012, 09:22:49 PM »
There's always the question, "What are you going to do about it?" said int he tone that implies you want a real answer.

Otherwise, I like this one:

"You've asked me this question in regard to seven different guys. My answer has never changed. I'll give it again, if you'd like, but honestly I'd prefer not to repeat myself again."

And I like this:

Well having been that person for many years I would say, stop being so lax in your advice.  I don't know you in real life but I bet you get all soft and warm and friendly and advice her with this comforting soft voice, because you seem like a good sweet person on here and thats what good sweet friends do.  Let me tell you, it just sounds like comforting murmurs.  And its not really pushing someone to change, but its just nursing their wounds.

Have you ever heard of a winning teacher or coach inspiring positive growth with a soft, "there-there, perhaps if you tried..." approach?  Nope.  Change gets rallied in.  Get harsh, get serious, get [metaphorically] loud and in her face about it.  Don't feel bad for her and commiserate with her.  Tell her its her own darn fault and to man up and own that she caused this situation and if she wants something different she better start doing something differently because its her life and her relationships and the power to change any bit of it lies with her.  Don't sugar coat it and don't put up with it.  Use strong words, even if they upset her to hear them. If she makes the same dang mistake again tell her "I don't want to hear it" in a tone that says you mean it and change topics. Make her change (ok you can't make her change, but I mean take that kind of stance with her), be the friend that inspires and encourages change, not the one who listens and comforts.

Be cause its really hard to change your base relationship patterns. Really hard, and really scary and really lonely.  Sometimes people a push instead of a coaxing.

(And thank you both for typing out such cogent and well-constructed answers so I didn't have to!)

Amara

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Re: How many times do I have to patiently give her the same advice?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2012, 10:00:18 PM »
I agree with WillyNilly. You need to take a different approach. Believe me, I know what of I speak.

It might damage the friendship temporarily but if your friend likes you as much as you do her I don't think the damage will be bad nor do I think it will be long lasting. By taking the road you currently are on with her you are encouraging her, in a way, to not change. She has you to lean on and to "support" her current actions, and you even provide comfort when it comes to its predictable end. Understand, please, that I am including no blame when I say that you are not only enabling her but you are literally encouraging her.

She might not change now, she may never change. All you can do is change how you react. I think you should take on some of that harshness that WillyNilly mentioned. Or use, as someone else posted, the e-Hell phrase, "What are you going to do about it?" Force her to heal herself; it's the only way she will find the courage and willingness to change whatever she is doing that is making her unhappy.

After all, the classical definition insanity is, I believe the saying goes, doing the same thing and expecting different results. That applies not only to her behavior but to yours in the way you are "helping" her. (Please understand I am not saying anyone is insane here, only that repetition begets repetitious behavior.)