Hands up if you have sat, sympathetic look on your face, trying really hard to say something comforting to a friend who is dealing with what, the way she describes it, is a relationship problem as catastrophic as the sinking of the Titanic and as historically important as September 11?.
The first couple of times this happens, you do actually care, and you will happily sit up at three in the morning, trying to decipher her words through the sobs, and you do try to contribute something helpful, something supportive and something with definite anti-male undertones.
The next few times, your patience is wearing thin, you are inwardly fighting the urge to shake some sense into her, slap her a few times, and scream ‘Wake up sista!!!!’. Instead, you calmly question her, ‘if he treats you so badly, why are you still with him?’, now obviously less comforting, but you believe anyway, more constructive.
When that falls on deaf ears, and the next week she is right back with him and crying to you again, you try to tell it to her straight. You tell her that even though you might love him, you fight all the time, you are always crying, or angry, or hurt, and no, a box of chocolates, or a bouquet of flowers, should not be enough this time, regardless of the fact that it is imported Swiss chocolate, or your favorite long stemmed roses. You believe, with the overwhelming amount of evidence to support your theory, that they are not right for each other and you think that finally, you have gotten through to your friend and she now feels the same, and is on er way home to once and for all end the drama.
…but surprise surprise, the next thing you know, you receive a text or a tweet gushing about how good everything with him is again, and you sit there frustrated out of your mind, but hoping that they actually have sorted everything out, that the 3am phone calls are a thing of the past, and that from here on in, everything will be coming up roses.
But no. The next week, after a night of cocktails, the tears and the drama starts again. This time you lose the plot like you’re the illegitimate child of Lil Wayne or a certain JetBlue flight attendant. You remind her of everything she has complained about, everything you have witnessed, you re-read texts she has received, you remind her of the promises she has made to herself that ‘there will be no next time’….But worst of all, you make the cardinal mistake of telling her that you never liked her boyfriend anyway, and proceed to list everything about him that you don’t like, have never liked and will never like about him. Eventually, your serious list starts getting petty, and you passionately rant about how he wears sport socks with suit pants, is unresponsive to your chatter during basketball games, or wears his pants too low.
In the cocktail induced haze, this seems like a great plan, and you at least feel better to have everything finally off your chest.
BUT BEWARE! Although she will forgive her boyfriend, (as we have established by now, she is bound to do), and conveniently forget everything that happened in their relationship which led her to be so upset, she will not so easily forget those things which you said to her about her boo. From now on, every time something goes wrong with her relationship, any opinion you put forward will be met with an ‘oh, but you just don’t like him’ or ‘well of course you’re going to say that, you’ve just got it in for him’, not to mention the classic, ‘if you just got to know him…’.
So my advice to you is this; Never rag on your girl’s guy, unless she is too, and even then proceed with caution, don’t appear overly enthusiastic in your abuse. Know when she just wants you to listen to her, when she doesn’t really care about your opinion and just do yourself a favor and shut the hell up! Reiterate the point that you will support her, with whatever she decides to do about the relationship.
And finally, but perhaps most importantly, exercise caution when cocktails and deep and meaningful conversations are involved.