We’ve heard it all in our live Marital First Responders workshops. In the worst situations, people secretly (or not so secretly) want their friend to get divorced just so the whining stops!
The question is: how can we be a good friend to someone who seems relationship-drama filled and unwilling to do anything but complain?
There are a few issues going on. Let’s start with the one you have the most control over:
YOU and YOUR boundaries.
You are making choices to engage, either by going out for coffee with the friend knowing what’s going to happen, or responding to texts or otherwise letting yourself be invited into what can sometimes be hours of one-way complaining.
“But she’s my friend! I can’t just not talk to her.”
Sure, we’re clearly talking about someone important to you who, before the marriage drama, was probably enjoyable to hang out with.
But now you are feeling pain. Annoyance.
You are feeling a desire to distance.
These feelings are important and they can be the leverage you need to walk into a potentially stressful conversation with your friend.
“NOTHING I do or say will change my friend. She’s been in this situation for years and I don’t see anything changing no matter what I say.”
Here’s the great news. We’re not asking your friend to do anything. Beyond the lack of a magic wand in our possession, the “problem” isn’t actually your friend. Yes, SHE may report having problems, but your exhaustion about her isn’t one of them!
You, however, can have one new goal in mind: reclaim your boundaries.
Reassert how much you’ll engage and on what topics. By doing so, you may find your old friend back, or, maybe you need to distance for a while and wait for her to miss YOU and YOUR friendship.
Either way, we have a lot of support for you. In fact, we have an audio that get you started, so that you hear the right tone of voice and really get a sense of what it sounds like.