Friday, October 29, 2010

Advice Please!!!

I have this friend...
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She is very dear to me. She is stuck in this terrible rut and keeps going around in circles. She won't speak to me for weeks, and then when things get bad, she'll call me and ask for my advice. I will give it to her and she will aknowledge that it's all correct, but then she'll hop right back onto that train of destruction and start the cycle all over again.

Another few weeks will go by and I won't hear from her. She doesn't answer my texts or emails, and often her cell phone message service is so banked up that there's no room for me to leave a message. But then eventually she'll call me, and it will be because things were worse off than the last time she called me, and she'll want my advice again. I then give her the exact same advice I gave her the last time, and again she agrees with it all, and even tells me that many others have given the same advice, but then she goes right back into her rut.

This cycle has been going on for months and months and months.

What do I do?

(PS. On a brighter note, the winner of the Yevgenia Giveaway is Shealennon).

31 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

hmmm I always think people listen to advice better when it's in person. You can only calm someone down so much on the phone. Yes your friend's phone might be busy but do you & her have email or facebook because I'd say contact her & do a major girls day lunch or go out to dinner or a shopping day so you could talk to her & maybe if she can see the concern on your face for her she'll realize how important the advice you are giving really is. Also a hug helps & a comforting hand on the shoulder. She can see that you care.

Hope it alll works out!

Dionne said...

Thanks Melanie. Unfortunately all my major advice IS given in person and it never works :( I am just praying for her. Thanks for your advice, hun, I appreciate it!

Nicole-Lynn said...

Sometimes, it's best to just lead by example and give the advice you give her every time. If her friendship becomes too exahusting I would let it fade out. It doesn't seem she appreciates your friendship or advice.

In time, it will all work itself out! Pray about it! ;)

Nicole said...

I'm going to say what everybody else is saying. Pray for her!

Apparently, things are not going to change for your friend until she realizes the cycle she is in and wants to change. I would suggest lots of prayer and patience. In time, I am sure things will improve, especially if they are left to God.

AMKreations said...

Wow, that's a tough situation, which I've sort of been in before...but on a different level.

I think you can only do so much. You share what you feel is right and the decision is up to her at that point. If you can, I would be long-suffering with her...your friendship might be the only ray of hope she has...sometimes it's very hard to do what is right. Just keep praying that she will make the right choice.

Signe said...

Gah, I hate it when things like this happen :(
I have a friend that has been trying to break up with this guy she has been in a very destructive relationship with for years. Yeah - years! And whenever we have a conversation about it it feels like I am on repeat, I just keep saying the same things over and over and over again but it does not seem to sink in.

In the end I don't think there is anything more either of us can do. My mom once said to me 'you can't help a person that does not want to be helped' and I think that is what it's all about. All you can really do is to keep up being a good friend and hope that they one day will break free.

Hugs,
Signe

VivatRegina said...

Here's what I would do;

When she calls and starts pouring out all her worries and asks for advice, instead of giving it to her right off the bat, I would ask her what SHE'S doing about the situation. What plans SHE has. If she's doing absolutely nothing or has no plans, I would ask her why. How does she think the problem(s) will be resolved is SHE doesn't start doing something about them? Once she starts talking about what she knows she needs to do, I would have her start small or start HUGE, depending on her personality. I'm the type of person, I have to start small with things, my friend has to quit cold-turkey, she's all or nothing. Sooo... depending on the type of person your friend is, I would have her begin that way. If she was a start small person I would have her (and help her) come up with her Plan of Action and make an appointment to speak with her again in one week to review.

But, I'm sure in a perfect world, that would all work. And since this is not a perfect world, I wish you all the best. :)

(((HUGS)))

cookie said...

you already know the answer...

letting go of what has become one-way friendship is difficult work

lisaroyhandbags said...

You're a great friend and I can see why you're frustrated. No one wants to see someone they care about going through things and what she's ultimately doing is bringing you down with her in her way of falling off the radar. As much as she asks for advice, it seems as though she's not really ready to do anything about her situation yet and as long as that's the case, nothing will change.
Perhaps you will need to be quite frank with her and tell her that as much as you would like to help and you have offered your advice, she really needs to do something about it if she wants you around for support. It may be just enough for her to realize that her actions and inactions are unfair to you. And pray. :)

Nicole said...

Hello dear! I'm so glad that I found your blog. I love the look of it and all that you share!

Anyway, I think you're being a great friend to her. You obviously care for her very much. I think the fact that she comes back to you after weeks shows that she trusts you. Perhaps she knows you're right and just doesn't want to do it.

Pray for her! Pray that she will have a change of heart. Pray that she will seek Christ... Perhaps you could also offer her accountability?

CaraBella said...

I've learned you simply can't live someone's life for them (even though there are certainly times I wish someone could live mine for me :D)! Unless this situation is something like dating violence (in which case my advice will be different), the only suggestion I have is to take a counselor's approach: don't give advice. Ask questions, along the lines of, "What do you think is best? What options do you see? What sounds good? What do you know is good? What's good about each? Bad about each?" etc. And assure her that no matter what she chooses, you have confidence she'll make the right decision -- and if it's not immediately the right decision, it eventually will be. Also, because I'm old + selfish, I'd consider letting this one go. I am all about only surrounding myself with people who make me feel good -- time is way too precious to waste, especially if it's with someone who honestly doesn't appreciate me or my love. I know, how un-Christian of me. I get being supportive, and sometimes people need a rock -- but sometimes, your love is worth more than that. But, if this is a dating violence situation, I got a whole nother book on that one, and we should chat elsewhere!

Christina- floresdelsol said...

pray for her!

or maybe let her know that you are praying for her. it could make a difference for her knowing that you care about her that much to bring to to the man upstairs :)

Paula said...

Hi sweet Dionne! that's really a tough one, wish I could say I've never been there. I like to tell my daughter, who is 17 and seems to always have girlfriend issues...honey, you can only love your friends so much, and you can't change them to your liking. Learn to just be there and focus on the part you love about them, let the rest go. You'd be surprised to learn one day they were actually doing the same for you:) -I'm a 'preachy mom'! lol!-
Hope it goes ok...lot's of love to you!
paula:)

Vanessa Mala/HeightofVintage said...

Dionne,

i agree with nicole-lynn...seems she doesn't appreciate your friendship. I would just let the friendship fade, i was in your shoes about a year ago and had to end a friendship, it just wasn't healthy at all.

hope you figure it out...you will with time.
best
Vanessa

Tali Schiffer said...

That is so frustrating when you know someone close to you is doing something or going down a path that won't do them any good, but they won't change it no matter how many times you try and advise them... You can't force people to change their way. Even if you succeeded, unless it was truly their decision they will go right back to their old habits... (I have a very similar problem with my mom, and it pains me that I can't make her 'see the light"...). I can only say that there is just so much you can do, and at some point you have to just let it go!
Stay strong! xo

photojoy said...

Dionne, you are so generous. I think all you can do is just listen to her and I presume all she wants you to do is to listen to her. I believe she has no body else to listen to her but you. I have no way to know her situation but maybe you'd better not try to make her mind change or talk into her. Just let her speak out. That's probably the way she'll feel all right. Of course, I know this is so frustrating and make you feel so worn out. I might leave her saying "I'll call it a day for now since I don't want to leave my husband alone at home." or something that does not hurt her feeling. Gee, Dionne, hope you won't be tired out.I really wish she can control her mind pretty soon all after the talk with you.

Meghan said...

It sounds like she needs to WANT to change, if that makes any sense. I have a similar friend, and I have continued to give my advice, but ultimately, she continues to make the same mistakes. So I pray for her and the day when she actually wants to change her life:) Good luck - you are a great friend!

Tender Branson said...

I'd just tell her that you are not going to continue to have the same conversations over and over. Either she goes through with the change or you won't talk to her about these issues again.

Gaia said...

Stay there . She will call you you will give her advices, she won't follow it and then in circle she'll be back. Stay there for her till you can then let her go, maybe she will understand that you were right and she'll be back!
Have a great weekend!
G

cupcake studio said...

Sounds like you've been a very good & patient friend! Maybe a sit-down conversation with her? Tell her how much you care about her, but that it hurts you to see this pattern of destruction. A friendship is a two-way street and it seems to me that maybe she needs to know straight-up how you're feeling.

Carissa said...

I know that is a frustrating situation! Because I have been there, on both sides! I've had friends who never seem to listen to my and others sound advice. But I know I have also dumped my issues on a friend and when they tell me what I should do, I agree, and then I go on doing the thing I know I shouldn't be doing! and it frustrates myself! But I think in times like this, it really doesn't matter what anyone tells that person seeking advice. until they decide on their own what they need to do or change, it's just not going to happen. that being said, you are a very good friend and I'm sure she knows it. I think you've done all you can ... I agree with some of the other posters that maybe you should tell your friend that you can't talk about that subject anymore because it hurts to see her not follow your advice and keep doing the same destructive thing. that will be hard to say, but maybe it will be the wake up call she needs.

a whole lotta love said...

i agree with cupcake studio and what many of the other commenters are saying. even though its hard, at some point you have to give the tough truth and show tought love. she needs to be at a place where she wants to change. be there for her when she needs it, but maybe you don't need to struggle as much to text or email etc. i know this might be hard because you might feel like a bad friend (and many of us nice girls have a savior complex), but trust me.. it will be better for both of you in the long run. and always pray. my thoughts are with you and your friend.

Courtney said...

Surprisingly, I actually feel the opposite of a lot of the comments. As tough as it may be for you to feel like you're repeating yourself and that it seems like a one way street, I would encourage you to continue doing what you're doing, being supportive and providing advice when asked. Sometimes it takes many, many times for things to get through to people. And from being in tough situations in the past personally, it's the friends who stood by me, even providing advice that I didn't take at the time who I so greatly appreciate and value now. Just keep trying, it sounds like she's going through a rough time & knowing she has a loving, supportive friend may be just what she needs when she's ready to take that first step toward making a change.

Torie Jayne said...

Great advice here, I hope it all works out, Loving your illustration as always, Have a sweet day!

Nicole Marie said...

i know exactly how this is. it's so hard to sit back and watch your friends make bad choices and try to give them advice but they never listen. i honestly don't know what the answer is.

pve design said...

Perhaps you should step back, not be available for her. You are allowing this treatment and she has been trained to treat you like this .....and get away with it.
NOT fair at all!
I do think we can re-train those to give us the kind of love and respect that we so deserve. Bring her flowers and chocolate, have a heart to heart, and see what happens. Set limits!
Hope this helps and I love your work!!!
pve

Notes from Holly St. said...

it sounds like this friend doesn't appreciate you enough. maybe you should take a step back and not be so available the next time she needs your advice and she will see how valuable you really are.

or, you can tell her exactly how you feel and get it off your chest. this is what i would do :)

good luck!

Phoenix said...

Get her pissed (angry, not drunk. I'm never sure you Aussies don't assume everything has to do with alcohol.)

Hear me out here on this: If you want to break someone out of their pattern, out of their box, do one of three things: get them to laugh, cry, or get angry.

Sounds like she's already crying, and laughing takes perspective (which it sounds like she doesn't have.) So go tough-love on her (Dionne, I KNOW you can do it) and rip her a new one. Tell her what you just told us and then tell her that it's HER responsibility to fix her life, not yours, that you care about her but it's frustrating that if she's gonna ask for advice, she should actually take it; and tell her DO something (a verb, preferably) to make her life better and not put it on you.

If all else fails... and I know this is hard...but then you have to break off any emotional attachment to how her life is going. I've had friends who are bound and determined to be miserable, and as I helped them and held their hand time and time again just to watch them throw themselves off the lifeboat back into the water... I had to check out and stop worrying so much about their lives.

I know you're a big softie who wants to fix the world (hi, I'm the same way) but you have to focus on your sanity too - and it sounds like you're pretty wound up about this.

Lots of love and hugs.

Lovely Scribbles said...

Prayer really does move mountains. I've found that having a prayer partner and taking the time to pray together once a week has done powerful things in our lives as well as in the lives of those we pray for. Only God can break through these types of destructive patterns.

Hugs,
Nikki

Barbara said...

I'm sorry to have to say this, Dionne, but it looks to me as though you are batting your head against a wall. Some people are in destructive mode and there's not a thing you can do about it. If it were me, I'd listen when I must, suggest counseling but work very hard to stay uninvolved.
What is it that men do very well? Compartmentalize.

GloamingDesigns said...

you've had so many wonderful comments from the other lovely readers of your blog, i'm sure i can't say anything that they haven't already. but i agree that you can't do it for her.

a wonderful friend of mine had finally broken up with her boyfriend and she said to all of us "why didn't you tell me he wasn't good for me?!" to which we replied "we did!!" she even repeated this cycle with her next boyfriend. but all we can really do is suggest paths and pray, as you have been doing.

do be careful of yourself, though. you are such a giving friend!