Here is the thing about relationships. They’re complicated. They are full of endings and beginnings. They are full of expectations and letdowns. Promises being broken. Lies being told. And make ups being had. But what usually happens during the anger stage, right before the make up or break up? We lay it all out to our best friends and ask for advice.
The problem is, MOST people closest to you, do not give good advice. They might give good advice to a total stranger, but not to you. Why? Because they are also in a relationship with you! Your best friend, your sister, your mother. The thought of you being hurt, the sight of you crying, the idea that you are not getting what you deserve, is too painful for them to be logical and emotionless.
But let me not leave out the other kind of “therapists” we seek. They may not be our best friends, but they like to pretend to be. And this is the sad friend. The friend that kind of feeds off your troubles because it makes them feel less bad about what’s going on in their own life. Suffering loves company. So there will always be someone who holds on to the fact that you don’t have happiness cause if you find it, you might not need them anymore and they’ll wind up alone with their own problems to fix.
So who do we talk to? We can’t all get therapists. But some ways you can help the people you love to better help you is by;
- Telling them the whole truth or nothing at all.
Often times we leave out the wrong things we did and said, in order to inflate the situation making your partner look worse. That is why it’s probably not a good idea to talk to anyone in the midst of your anger.
2. Tell your friend exactly what you need from her or him. If you just need to vent, tell them “I don’t need advice right now, I just need you to be here for me.”
3. Know what kind of outcome you want to have after speaking about it.
If you know you still want to be with your partner after this problem blows over, than speak from a loving place. Don’t tell your friend how much you hate this guy or girl, and the next day say, “Oh I didn’t mean it I was just angry.” Because at some point your friend will call bullshit and will not support your relationship.
Now coming from the other side, what can (best friend) do to properly help a friend having relationship problems?
First just listen and don’t give any feedback or advice unless your friend asks for it. Sometimes we want to be able to say something (less than kind) about our partner and that doesn’t warrant you to do the same.
2. Give support.
Essentially all your friend needs to know is that you support their decision whether that means staying or leaving. When we have relationship problems, the last thing we need is to have friendship problems at the same time.
3. Use your better judgment.
If you know Sally and Harry are great for each other and they’ve spent 5 amazing years together, you don’t encourage the ending of it just because of one bad slip up. Nobody is perfect. At the same time, if Sally cries every single weekend to you, it’s ok to say “I know better than you right now, and this way that you’re feeling all the time is not ok. We need to figure it out now.”
Lastly, sometimes it’s better not to talk about everything. That doesn’t mean holding it inside and letting bad feelings build up. But try to talk about the problems that truly matter- and not every little problem. Instead expand your perception about your partner and yourself. Learn what YOU could work on and be better at. Focus on speaking more with your partner in hopes to fix the situation instead of asking everyone outside the relationship. Treat your relationship like a baby. Don’t put it in the wrong hands.