I've cried over plenty of men. My text messages have been referred to as scriptures.
I have tried to rationalize why what is happening is okay, even if I feel like sh-t. Most importantly, I've done it more than once. Sometimes it seems like I have never learned the lesson despite how much time has passed. Knowing this truth about myself makes it much easier to not look down on or feel indifferent to other women struggling with the same thing.
But goddamn, have you ever been peacefully chilling after a long day and then BAM, here comes Stacy ready to talk your ear off for an hour via phone call about her dude? The worst part? You knew that's what she was calling for when the phone rang because this is nothing new. I've definitely been there and if you have "that" friend, I'm here to tell you it's okay to feel bothered. And it's definitely okay to want to tell her, girl, leave him or me alone.
Even in the 6th grade, I was sitting on three-way phone calls listening to my best friends and their significant others fight and make up. On my friendship resume, you can find "third wheel" under my skill set after "virgin until after high school." While my best friend and her boyfriend were having sex on the couch next to me, I was simply enjoying ice cream and reruns.
Unfortunately, when you ride or die for your girlfriends, that isn't always the most viable response. So we sit through, follow along, and get emotionally invested in their dramas. In turn, we usually end up secretly hating their partner (if not them). I had to make peace with this being a part of my friendships with people in relationships. Especially since, in retrospect, I too find myself venting about my relatively dry love and sex life, which is sometimes on baby daddy repeat.
So I've compiled a few thoughts and recommendations about ways to deal with your friends or family members who always come to you to talk about their relationships.
You Can Take A Rain Check
In an effort to put yourself first, know that it's okay to tell your friends that you're just not up to taking on anything other than yourself for the day. It's especially easier to do this if all they want to talk about is the same thing they always talk about. Do take caution here and use proper discretion as to not leave someone who REALLY needs someone there hanging. Just know that not responding, answering the phone, or rescheduling for a brunch or dinner does not make you an awful person- it means you care as much about yourself as you do anyone else.
Lend A Quiet Shoulder
There really is nothing worse than offering advice to someone who wants to argue with you about why your advice doesn't make sense for THEIR situation. Sis, nine times out of ten, as a single person, I don't think your situation makes sense at all but whatever. Depending on the kind of friend you're dealing with, they might not want any advice and just need to blow off steam. This is also totally fine, just try to suppress your urge to scream "ABANDON SHIP" and "RUN B-TCH" as often as possible.
It's Okay To Say "I Don't Know"
It's flattering having a friend that wants your advice and values your opinion, but you can only do it so many times. After you've given the same advice upwards of three times, it's time to throw in the towel. Having no advice at all is ok and "I don't even know girl" is my go-to line for these situations. Eventually, they will pick up on the idea that you no longer have much to say about it and will stop asking for your input. They might even stop venting altogether.
Keep It Judgement-Free
If someone in your life is coming to you with their most vulnerable frustrations it means they trust you and deserve to be treated with love and respect. The best way to maintain that is to keep it a judgment-free zone. We can sit around and talk about how we think we would never do this or that, but until you're in that situation you never really know. Give your friends the same safe space you might need when you try to make things work with your baby daddy for the 27th time- not me...I'm just saying.
Always Be Supportive - She's Grown
You ever listen to your girl cry for a few hours on the phone the night prior to waking up and seeing her dude as her MCM? It happens all of the time. My number one rule for this is plain and simple - if she is not in any imminent danger or suffering from some form of abuse that was disclosed to me, then it's just not my business. Everyone is an adult and everyone gets to make their own decisions pertaining to how they want to spend their lives. All you can do is be supportive of your friend and refrain from any "I told you so" verbiage if they circle back to your line a week later.
Relationships may come and go, but sisterhood SHOULD be forever. Try your very best to establish boundaries for your girlfriends, as well as yourself in order to maintain healthy long-lasting friendships.
It's important to stay gentle, but remain true to what you're feeling and things will eventually balance out for you.
Whether you're on the receiving end, or the one doing the venting, keep in mind that the most important thing is that you love each other. Know your limits, advise only when asked, support your friends no matter what, but be ready with a bat when they are finally ready to tear his car up.