You love your friend but your exhausted…
You’ve known and cared about your friend for awhile now. You honestly do want to help but you also are done hearing about their issues and you feel guilty for wanting to avoid them. This isn’t the first time you’ve felt like this and it likely won’t be the last. But what do you do? Sometimes friendships do need a break, but breaking now could hurt them more.
We have all had friends that seem to consistently make bad decisions. I think we get into relationship with them because of how fun they are! Often they are willing to do really whacky things that we would probably not do but are curious about or maybe would only do with a good excuse…that friend provides one. This is the “drama” friend.
The exhaustion however may be more your fault than theirs. Maybe not…But if it is then it would be worth NOT being exhausted to at least think through it. First thing to ask yourself about the situation: Who is doing the lion share of the work to rectify the situation your friend has? Sometimes our friends are hurt or injured and really can’t do anything. Sometimes our friend just wants to be heard and is really not doing anything. There are other possibilities as well. But the bottom line is that you cannot be more invested in solving their problem than they are!
Second: Is your friend implementing your suggestions (assuming they asked)? If they are not implementing your suggestions they both don’t agree with them and are going to do something different or have no capacity to rectify the situation. If your friend ultimately does not believe in themselves there is nothing THEY will do and therefore nothing YOU can do to help them. It is frustrating to watch someone spiral into a chaos. Especially when it seems avoidable. You can help them to believe in themselves but if they are determined not to then you need to disengage.
Third: Did your friend actually ASK for your help? It may be that you saw a situation they were in which could be handled differently or better in your opinion and so you started giving them suggestions. Often time these friendships are such that your friend will not say, “no I am good I am going to do it my way.” Rather your friend simply nods or says, “oh yeah good idea!” BUT they have no intention of operationalizing your thoughts. If this is the case it is you that needs this to happen more than them. You are exhausting yourself selling it to them.
In my practice I deal with these situations all the time. In helping people find their way out of exhaustion we go over the Fear Triangle and process different ways to handle the problem. Disengaging your efforts to “help” will often cure the exhaustion without needing to avoid your friend. You simply stop suggesting things and just listen. Your frustration is your frustration. But as you begin to honestly stop and pull back your emotional need to fix it you will see it easier to be there for your friend and keep a closer account of your emotional energy!