What To Do When Your Best Friend Won’t Listen To Your Advice

Hey Heather,

I’m a junior in high school and I’ve been best friends with two girls, Olivia and Alex, since middle school. Alex has always been super obsessed with her guy crushes, but it hasn’t been bad until a month ago when this guy messaged her on Instagram. Ever since, they’ve been talking over the phone on FaceTime and text. Olivia and I think the guy is pretty fishy, but Alex doesn’t listen when we tell her she should be careful. Oh, and they haven’t even met in person yet! They aren’t dating, but Alex really likes him and he seemed to really like her, up until a few days when he willingly kissed another girl. He said he enjoyed it and now Alex is miserable, but she hasn’t cut things off with him.

She’s letting him decide what they’ll do, when really she should be deciding! Olivia and I try to get through to her, but Alex insists she needs this guy in her life and she really likes him. I’m desperate. I can’t deal with her sadness and emotions over a guy she hasn’t even met in person. I need your help. How can we get through to her when she won’t listen? It’s starting to make us not even want to be around her anymore because she’s always miserable. Please help!

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It’s beyond frustrating to watch a friend get hurt and refuse to listen to anyone else. Unfortunately, it’s also an important part of being a friend to someone. In fact, this is the moment when your friend needs you more than ever, even though it seems like she doesn’t want your help. That’s exactly what makes it so frustrating: you know she needs you, but she doesn’t want to admit that.

It’s understandable that you’re so frustrated with Alex that you’re on the verge of blowing her off. It sucks to sit around and listen to someone be miserable about something they could change if they wanted to. The thing is, though, Alex doesn’t feel like she can easily change her misery. The solution seems very simple to you and Olivia (i.e. dump the dude and move on), but it’s not that simple to Alex. Despite the fact that she hasn’t met this guy, she feels some sort of connection to him, and breaking it off clearly isn’t easy for her. So while you’re feeling frustrated that you’re saying, “end it!” and she’s not listening, she’s feeling heart broken, because this was something she really wanted.

I don’t know Alex, obviously, but it seems to me like she’s insecure, and so she feels dependent on this guy. Girls who become obsessive over crushes often feel as though they aren’t good enough or are lacking something (a feeling we’ve all had before). They latch onto someone else because that person makes them feel good about themselves. This guy has probably been telling Alex exactly what she wants to hear. He’s probably been making her feel good, and when you don’t know how to feel good on your own, it’s hard to just walk away from that. I know you’re annoyed with Alex, but you also have to think about this and kind of feel sorry for her.

So, what should you do? Unfortunately, you can’t make Alex listen to you or do what you want her to do. These are decisions she has to make on her own. You can, and should, give her the real advice that she needs to hear, but do it in a gentle way. Instead of being mean and saying things like, “He doesn’t care about you! Get over him!” be nicer. Being forceful is only going to make her defensive and might cause her to hold onto him more. Have a serious talk with her and tell her you love her and want her to be happy and you don’t think this guy is good for her.

Honestly, that still might not work. I understand that you don’t want to be around her while she’s miserable, but think about how you would feel if this was happening to you. You would probably want your friends around. Try to hang out with her, and if she’s acting sad, try to lift her spirits. If it really doesn’t work, and you can’t handle it, fall back a little, while still staying in touch with her. Be there for her when she really needs you, but also don’t let her situation run your life. It’s tough, but it’s part of being a friend!

take care,
Heather

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com

 

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