Helping my friend while saving my sanity -- I'm about to lose it
December 11, 2012 11:47 AM Subscribe
How do I support my friend with her relationship problems while still keeping sane myself?
posted by bonifate to human relations (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My friend [19/f] is going through a pretty bad relationship crisis, and she is understandably really upset. Like all the time, compounded by some school difficulties and being in the middle of finals week.
It feels like every day is a new crisis of some sort that I [also 19/f] have to talk her down from. I get panicked text messages every few hours (along the lines of "I just can't do any of this," or "Hiding in a corner crying" or telling me about how the stress is making her stop eating and throw up when she does). I've started dreading seeing her because she asks me to talk for "just ten minutes," which turn into hours. Every conversation has turned into talking about her problems, and even short ones with other people have references to how sad she is.
I've tried pep talks, and being comforting, and not responding (although I do, 90% of the time). I've given her all the advice I can, which she doesn't take, so most of our interactions have turned into her crying and me sitting there because I've run out of things to say.
The problem is that I'm one of the few people she's come to heavily depend on. Most of our other friends don't get as much of it as I do. I don't want to be a jerk and cut her off when she really needs a friend, but I'm so tired of trying to make sure she's okay all of the time and I'm coming to resent her. I'm stressed out because of my own personal problems and finals and I cannot be her caretaker anymore. I am normally happy to listen to and help my friends, but this is too much. I'm about to lose it myself.
How can I support her without hearing every detail about how sad she is? How do I disengage without completely cutting her off?
The obvious solution is to cut her out of my life, but that is really not an option -- she has been a great friend otherwise and I love her dearly.