DAME’s Friendkeeper guides a good listener to get help of her own and tells a woman what to do about the bestie that’s iced her out.
I am a good listener, discreet, and a problem solver by nature. So you could say I am a good friend and I have many of them. Many people have confided in me and it genuinely warms my heart to know that so many people I love and admire trust me. But the thing is, I need to let off some steam because I have fallen into a bit of a depression lately, and I can tell I am boring the shit out of people when I start talking. And then I am seething inside. I am not someone who believes in quid pro quo but … it sure would be nice if someone would return the favor, right? Do my friends suck or am I just being unfair?
Stuck in the Mud
No one’s problems are inherently interesting to anyone else—unless they are Douchebag Kardashian or on trial for murder. The thing that a good listener does is they hear the pain that’s causing the problem and they empathize and problem solve. Here’s what I think, though. You aren’t used to being on the other side of this role. You may be presenting the problems as if no one is going to listen and kind of setting your friends up to fail and piss you off. This is what I am going to assign you to do. Take a friend who you feel has the most likelihood of “getting it.” Tell her that you are used to being a listener not a talker and you feel like you might not do such a great job of sharing and ask her what she thinks. I was very much this way—and it took being in a therapy group for a long time to realize that a) it was hard for me to share anything that I didn’t see an answer to and b) I tended to share when the problem was already solved. My concern here is that you may need more than a friend’s ear. If you are indeed in a depression, you might want to talk to a therapist, or even join a group therapy. I know it’s not a quid pro quo thing but any good friend deserves to be heard and any feelings are valid and should be expressed.
One of my closest friends who I have known since I was 17, who I traveled with, who I taught to drive, who I was always there for, recently had a baby and did not let me know. I felt very hurt and now wonder what I could’ve done for her to not want me to be part of that new stage in her life. A while back when she first told me she was pregnant I asked her if there was a reason that I was the last one to know. She said everything was fine but that we both had different lives and that our friendship would bounce back to normal because that is how strong our friendship is. Well nine months and a baby later we are still distant. I don’t know what to do since I have feel like I have always been the one to initiate contact. I know that actions speak louder than words and her actions speak loud and clear. I guess I am just stuck feeling confused and hurt. I did the right thing and I sent her a text message congratulating her and the new baby. She texted me back something brief and since then we have not spoken. Why am I still left feeling like I did something wrong?
Three’s a Crowd
Dear Three’s a Crowd,
I seriously haven’t a clue what’s going on in her head—though I do know that baby-brain is a real thing. But it doesn’t mean shutting out an old friend. She clearly thought when you asked her why you were the last to know about the pregnancy that your friendship was off track. I don’t know why. I am sorry that you have had to deal with her inability to be direct, she has gone off somewhere and now you need to take care of yourself. I’d write her an email because it’s very hard to say these things, that it seems for some reason that she’s not wanting to include you in this part of her life and you’d like to know why, because all you feel is hurt by it. She says relationships bounce back—some do but some don’t. And her abrupt departure may not leave you wanting to bounce back with her. As hard as it is, try not to ruminate on it too long. You’ll say your piece and if she has a response you’ll deal with it. If not, move on to other friends who are more direct and supportive.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
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