bad friend + mefi = better friend?
May 8, 2012 2:40 PM Subscribe
How do you manage feelings of frustration when someone in your life is behaving in a self-destructive way?
posted by prefpara to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This can come up in a professional context (e.g. I may, in future cases, represent a victim of abuse who returns to the abuser or maintains contact with the abuser despite this being against their best interests). I am asking, however, because it has come up for me in a personal context. Someone who is a friend and with whom I would like to maintain a close and lasting relationship is behaving in a way that is fairly self-destructive. I've tried being a sympathetic listener and I've tried giving concrete advice, but there has been no change in this person's consistent behavior. That is, my friend consistently makes choices that result in their feeling miserable. In addition, I believe these choices are likely to have negative career repercussions.
My problem is that I have become incredibly impatient with this person because I see them making the same mistake over and over again and then feeling terrible as a result. I find myself judging my friend very harshly, and I really don't like having these cruel thoughts in my head.
I am worried that this is already impacting our friendship, because as soon as I sense that my friend is feeling terrible I react by wanting to wall myself off from it (especially at times when I myself am stressed). This is not the kind of friend I want to be. I also like to think I understand that people are flawed and accept them as they are, except that's clearly not happening in this case.
How do I get over my frustration with my friend for not making a change, not taking my advice, and constantly inflicting their misery on me? I realize that sounds selfish. I am trying to be honest about my feelings. I suspect ego is part of the problem (since obviously my advice is perfect and would solve all problems so why not take it).
My goal is to be able to interact with my friend without being overwhelmed by irritation and judgmental thoughts.
Thanks in advance for your help and advice.