I always get annoyed with my friends who ask for my advice and then don’t take it. It’s really hard to watch your closest friends be in upsetting and confusing situations that will likely end with them getting hurt if they don’t get themselves out of it. Generally when they ask me what to do I say: try to abort the mess. End friendships with people who don’t appreciate you, stop letting that dbag who wont commit to you string you along, etc.. Of course that kind of advice is always easier said then done. When one of your friends is constantly telling you how the same guy isn’t ready for a relationship or is lying to her or is being possessive/jealous or has know idea what he wants and is just using you to figure it out. It is always obvious that they shouldn’t be worrying about someone who treats them that way. Those are toxic relationships and they most likely are not going to get any better. So by sticking with it you’re only prolonging the inevitable: you are going to get hurt, whether it’s now or later, it’s going to suck for awhile.
So many of my close friends have encountered the exact same problems and when they ask me what they should do, I tell them bluntly and honestly what I think and it’s usually the same thing: move on. But they never listen, well they do at first. They all say “you’re right, I’m ending it”. And then it never happens, they let themselves be strung along until the whole thing blows up in their faces. And what could have been a tiny hiccup in their emotional state, easily fixed with some ice cream and dancing has become a life altering heartbreak, or at least that’s what it feels like at the time. I’ve watched this happen to so many of my best friends and I always think, why couldn’t they have just listened to me? Not just me but so many of their friends or the mom or sisters who told them the exact same thing. It’s heartbreaking to watch a friend be heartbroken, especially when it was obviously preventable. The problem is that it is only obvious to those on the outside, never to those on the inside.
Now that I think about it, about how irritated I get at my friends for not taking my advice when they’ve solicited it, I realize that I don’t take my advice either. It’s easy enough to tell someone what to do when you’re on the outside. When you have no emotional investment in the person that is causing their hurt, you can say fuck it, never speak to them again. But when you are the one seeking the advice, the one who needs to cut ties with someone for your own sake, it is nearly impossible to do what everyone tells you to do. Because no matter how sensible you are, there is always that tiny voice in your head telling you things might change. He might realize he loves you too much to take you for granted, your best friend might realize how self absorbed she’s being, whoever is not appreciating your presence in their life might wake the fuck up and treat you the way you deserve. And the hardest part is that sometimes that happens, sometimes if you hold on long enough everything changes for the better. But that doesn’t seem to happen very often. The people who want to be in our lives will make the effort. If you pull away from someone who doesn’t realize how awesome you are, they might put in the effort to keep you in their life. But if you pull away and they let you go, you know they don’t deserve you and you can start the process of moving on from whatever relationship you had.
But if you don’t take the advice that your true friends give you, you’ll be stuck in the quicksand that is a deteriorating friendship/relationship/job/whatever the issue is. And the final outcome will be much worse than if you had just listened to the people who care about you when they offered up their sage wisdom. The mark of a really good friend* is someone who will tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear.
*Someone with good friendship skills, not just someone you’re close to. Some of my closest friends actually suck at being a friend. It’s an acquired skill.