Why do people tell me their problems if they don't want to hear my honest feedback? I have some friends who value honesty and want to hear what I think even if it's I think you're overreacting and need to take a step back, or I think you're making a really big mistake. I love people who are honest with me in return, as long as those criticisms or observations are given in a non-threatening way from someone I know has my best interest at heart.
I just pissed a good friend off, though. I guess I should have just listened, said, "Yeah, your family sucks," and let it stand there. The problem is this friend has become very negative and angry, and I can see it is impacting her whole life. She is quick to see the worst in almost everyone she encounters and harbors anger for people over things that happened years ago, red hot seething anger that is eating her up. I spoke up for someone who had angered her stating that I could understand why they reacted the way they did, and that I would probably do the same, and I guess that was the wrong answer.
This particular friend really has me tied up in knots lately.
When I find myself tied up in knots I ask myself why? What is it I need to change in myself?
The answer is, I need to stop trying to be this person's savior. And yes, for those who are wondering, this person is Gigi. She draws me in by crying to me, telling me how she has no support system, how disappointed with her life she feels, how alone she is, and I want to swoop in and fix everything so I can just be super awesome!
But if I tell her the truth. If I tell her maybe she needs to figure out how to stop being so pissed off all the time, how maybe she needs to give up all of her expectations, how maybe she needs to make better choices for herself and not take it so personally every time someone tries to make the best choice for themselves, I become the shithead. It's a fucked-up codependent relationship, and I didn't think I did those, but it looks like I do.
So I'm asking myself questions. What do I get out of this relationship? I get to feel wise. I get to feel like the one who has it most together. I get to redeem myself from those other relationships where I was dumped for not being a good enough friend. (And thank God I was dumped or I'd be in another big fucking mess!) That last one is the answer. I need to be better than that other friend. Gigi picked me over her. She fucked both of us up, and I need to be better than that. (Sorry, it's a very specific episode and I can't share the whole convoluted story right now.)
I've decided to stop offering Gigi advice. I'm going to create a little distance between us too because I'm not ready to do what I probably should, which is be honest about my feelings and tell her that her angry energy is having a negative impact on me, and I need to end our friendship, or at least change the terms. I need to remind myself that it is not my job to save her. I've tried to be there for her over the years. I've done my best. Now I have to realize that only she can save herself.
Update: Just read an article that fits in with the lesson I'm learning from this experience and a couple of others in the recent past. Love-Fu: The Martial Art Of Dealing With A Very Challenging Person