Have you had friends come to you with their marital or relationship issues?
They tell you all of their problems and the next thing you know you are telling her things like:
- “You deserve so much better.”
- “He doesn’t deserve you.”
- “He just doesn’t know how to handle a good woman.”
- “What a loser!”
Then you post Beyonce’s youtube video on her Facebook page belting the tune of “To the left, to the left” encouraging her to find someone who is more deserving of her heart. Of course it was probably her third failed relationship within the year or your married friend’s sixth argument in the past month with her second husband. Or maybe you are the woman going to your friend.
These statements actually perpetuate your friends sorrows. Where we think we are comforting or being comforted, we are actually doing more damage. Call it justification, ego-boosting, flattery, enabling; it’s not in the best interest of your loved one.
First, no matter how well we know our friend, we do not know what goes on behind closed doors nor do we understand the feelings that they have for the other person. If we give a biased opinion and they end up back in the arms of their boyfriend/husband then she will remember the advice and more than likely tell their significant other which will cause animosity.
It’s far more effective to use that conversation talking to our friend in transparency and authenticity. Ask them to consider looking at how they contributed to the situation. They can’t change anyone but themselves. If they are finding themselves in one toxic relationship after another then it may be times to spend time alone and work on self development and introspection. It’s not the man’s fault that you keep choosing toxic men. Why would he care? He’s toxic. He probably needs help too. I mean if you can’t stand spending six months alone then what makes you think anyone else would want to spend time with you?
Having a friend that strokes your ego during a break-up is much like having a friend that brings you jelly donuts while on a diet or calls you to go shopping when you are trying to save for a home. They are not helping your situation. In fact, they are holding you back.
When I was in a period in my life on the roller coaster of toxic relationships, the best advice was always from those who asked me to look at myself, not the other person. When my friends would flatter me and stroke my ego and play songs of “I Will Survive” and chant “to the left, to the left!” It was nice and funny but at the end of the day, I went right back to that toxic relationship blaming the other person with my chest puffed out, avoiding what I was clearly missing and needed the most–a reality check.
The best friendships that I have had are the ones that helped me grow and develop as a woman. At some point, you have to stop finger-pointing after you get hurt, again and again and look in the mirror and question your own judgment.
A true friend will have your best interest at heart. Love is transparent. It protects, covers, redeems and will pour life into the potential of the one that they love, helping remove the shackles. It’s walking through the mud of life together, hand in hand.
…and it doesn’t hurt to also have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in hand as well.
Copyright © 2011 by Katrina Smith
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