Tell her.Honesty is the best policy, so this is the first place to start! If you’ve found that she is coming back to the negative parts of her life in every conversation, gently make her aware of it. The potential exists that she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it! A simple comment like, “Wow, that is tough. Now that we’ve discussed some options of how you can address it (because like the good friend you are, you will help her figure it out!) what’s been going well for you recently?” By switching gears in the conversation you can steer her to the positive.
Change up your activities.If the entire conversation still revolves around her problems (we all know how easily this can happen, even when you point it out to someone), it may be time for you do switch up what you’re doing. Coffee dates are perfect for continual complaining, but try complaining while going to a yoga class or seeing a comedy show. You simply can’t. These sort of friend dates can help to take her mind off of things while also given you a much needed break. If the negativity persists, you can always go solo to give yourself a little break and focus on you.
Listen and help, but only for so long.Getting sucked into the drama and issues of a friend’s life is sometimes inevitable. However, you are in charge of how long you stay there. Just because a friend is going through something, it is not an excuse for her to make you feel bad about yourself or for you to be constantly plagued by negative vibes. We all know when a subject has been beaten to death, so when that happens give your girl some space and allow yourself to have a good day. It’s a challenge, but YOU are in charge of your own happiness.
When you take the time to listen and provide constructive advice, your friend will appreciate it. What’s even more important is that you take steps to remain your happy and optimistic self so you can continue to be the friend that others know they can turn to.
How do you support a friend without letting it negatively affect you?
This was originally a guest post on the Wonderforest blog.