Confession: I’ve been watching The Hills on Netflix lately because, well, I have no excuse for myself. It’s a guilty pleasure and yeah I know it’s scripted, blah blah blah, but hear me out.
As much as I loathe myself for talking about Lauren Conrad’s life that MTV depicts so well, it’s a life that represented my early twenties/late teens all too well: boys, drama, parties, and school. Most importantly, the drama. MTV liked to focus on her drama of not liking her best friend’s boyfriends and trying to bite her tongue about them, which brings me to this post: who hasn’t had to bite their tongue about a boyfriend you’re not in favor of?
I’ve had friends come to me with their boy drama, and me, being the listening ears I was, thought I was giving really great, “go get em’” advice, when really, I probably sounded mean and heartless and I know the words I used didn’t leave make my friends fond of my opinion of their boys.
I was, at the time, immature to say the least – I mean, I watched The Hills and believed it – I didn’t understand love and how crazy that can make a person and I definitely didn’t think about my words and how they could affect someone.
I loosely tossed terms like “@sshole” “idiot” “jerk” “I can’t stand him” and “why are you with this guy?” and told them they deserved better, which they did, but buffering those statements with names didn’t remedy the problem, ever.
So here’s my advice on how to GIVE advice/be there for people in sticky relationships:
1. Do not attack: Attacking makes someone feel threatened and when someone feels threatened, they defend themselves. The last thing you want to do is come at your bff with mean words leaving an opportunity for fights. You don’t have time for that. She most likely already feels bad and only hearing negativity won’t help.
2. Help your friend understand: The number one thing your friend needs is a level head. When you’re in love and the relationship takes a sharp turn, it can be really hard to see the signs for where it went wrong and why it has stayed wrong. You, the level-headed friend, can help her see all this in a nice, CALM manner.
3. Lose the name-calling: Just don’t name-call her boyfriend. It’s bad enough she’s in a crappy situation and/or heartbroken, so hearing that the guy she CHOSE to be with is an “idiot, jerk” will make her feel worse.
4. Be supportive: it takes time to build courage to get out of something bad and it takes time for a person to see that something isn’t healthy. Love is a messy thing and I strongly believe people have to figure it out on their own. All you can do is be patient and supportive.
5. Don’t ignore her: please don’t disappear from her life because you’re “sick of hearing it.” I know it can be tiresome giving the same advice and hearing about the same bad actions that make you despise the boyfriend even more, but what type of friend does that make you if you leave her stranded?
I hope this helps, and if any of you have better advice of your own that you find works, please share!
Get in touch with me @JessicaDruck
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