It seems like I have so many friends right now who have other friends who have boyfriends that are complete douche canoes. Some of these guys keep promising marriage proposals and then putting them off until the next year, or until they graduate from underwater basket weaving school, or until their brothers/sisters get married first, or until Jesus comes back (because Heaven is really the best place to have a wedding). Other guys berate and turn otherwise strong intelligent women into weeping masses of “He didn’t mean it.” and “I know he loves me despite that fact he just called me a stupid cow.” Others are just controlling, manipulative, charming, smooth talkers who can finesse their way out of any lie and make their girlfriends apologize for catching them lying. What has happened to these women? These beautiful, wise, witty, brave, compassionate, brilliant women who we became friends with years ago because they were so unarguably fabulous? Where are our friends of yesteryear? I don’t know. I truly don’t. But I can’t tell you how much I wish I did.
I know we as the friends are getting more and more tired of the drama and tears. We all want to be good friends but their tumultuous relationships are emotionally draining to us as well. We are exhausted from giving really quality advice and then having it ignored and then the same problem happening over and over again. We are heartbroken and frustrated to see these formerly amazing women reduced to being someone’s pathetic girlfriend. And they are pathetic- and that kills me to say. Why aren’t they listening? What can they possibly be gaining from this toxic relationship?
I also know that we must absolutely stick by them through this. Even if we are throughly sick of it. If we are their friends, their best friends, we have to be there for them no matter what as long as they let us. No matter how much we loathe their boyfriends very existence and want to take a time machine back to the day of his conception and make sure his Mother remembers to take her birth control- we have to support her. Even though I’m sure we would feel a lot better if we could just take a sledgehammer to his crotch, we have to refrain (and if you do end up doing that please don’t say you got the idea from me). We don’t have to keep our mouths shut though. We just have to be delicate about the way we approach the subject of her boyfriend being a douche. Although, we probably shouldn’t call him a douche in front of her. We can, however, mention the changes we have seen in her and the way we worry because she doesn’t seem as happy as she did before. These are valid feelings. She needs to know we have them. We shouldn’t feel like we have a gag order on us just because she is dating an awful person. We also shouldn’t let our friend treat us poorly just because she gets treated poorly. If she isn’t there for you when you need her, or she forgets plans you made, or she hasn’t called you in ages because she is so wrapped up in the soap opera that is her love life, then she isn’t being a good friend to you. You have to call her out on it. Nicely. In a calm way that doesn’t immediately put her on the defense. And she might hate you. And she might not want to be friends anymore, and she might turn the entire thing around on you and make it all your fault. She might do those things and that sucks. Actually, she probably will do all those things and again, that sucks.
I also think it’s important to (delicately) let her know how you feel because she is an adult and no matter how much we want to blame him for who she has become, it wouldn’t be fair because she has always had a choice. She chose to let him treat her that way, and she chose to wait around for him to change and while they may be poor choices, we can’t ignore the fact that they were choices nonetheless. It’s his fault he is a douche but it’s her fault for letting a douche in her life. It’s not an accusation or condemnation (seriously, we have all made bad choices before) it’s just an acknowledgment. She needs to acknowledge her boyfriends (or hopefully ex-boyfriends) douchebaggery and she needs to acknowledge that she tolerated that douchebaggery.
And maybe this is all terrible advice but I just couldn’t/can’t not say something when I see this happening to a friend. Realize, please, that if you take this advice there is a chance that she may hate you for a while or forever. Don’t say anything if you don’t want to take that chance- but it’s going to be hard not to say anything. This is a very precarious place to be in a friendship and what happens next will show you how close you truly are. I just have to say something, I tell my friends who are asking my advice on this to say something, but I don’t know if that’s the perfect answer for you and your friend. You know, you know what’s right for you and your friendship. I just wrote about this today because it seems to be a very prevalent topic of conversation amongst my friends and I these days. The moral of this post is if your friend is in a relationship with a douche then tell her that, nicely and also maybe don’t say douche (even though he is one).
Zoe had been in love with Frank her entire life. They met in elementary school when he tripped her on the playground- she broke her arm and lost her heart all in the same day. From that day on Zoe had only one mission: marry Frank and spend the rest of her life making him happy.
Zoe knew all about how to make a husband happy. She had watched her Mother cater to her Father’s every wish her whole life, and she didn’t know anyone happier than her Father. Her Mother made him three meals a day, washed and ironed his clothes, rubbed his shoulders every night, and she even bathed him. Her Father always had a smile on his face, and who wouldn’t in his position? He went to work every morning, although, if you mentioned it Zoe could never remember what it was he actually did for a living. Zoe always had a notion that he managed some sort of cosmetic factory because he always smelled like perfume and had lipstick smeared on his shirt collar when he came home at night.
Occasionally, her Mother would make a mistake and rub her Father’s shoulders too hard and then she would feel so bad about making that mistake that she would be sick and have to spend a few days in the hospital. One time, when she burned the potatoes, Zoe’s Mother was in the hospital for a month. When her Mother came home she made sure to spend extra time with Zoe, teaching her how to make her own husband always happy when she grew up.
Zoe made sure to always do whatever Frank wanted. She even did all of his homework in high school and is probably the reason he graduated. Frank left her once, to go to college, and Zoe didn’t leave her bed for three months. He came back though, because he loved her and also because he had a little “trouble” with a girl at college and also he never went to class and even if he had wouldn’t have been able to pass the class. Frank wasn’t intelligent but Zoe loved him anyway. So, Frank married her and Zoe’s Father gave them a house and a car and gave Frank a job. Although, Zoe was never quite sure what the job was. It didn’t matter though because Zoe kept Frank happy and she was fulfilling her life’s goal and using every trick her Mother taught her.
Zoe made a mistake with Frank’s dinner once and she felt so bad about it that she was in the hospital for two weeks. When all her bones healed from being sick Zoe came home and promised Frank she would never make a mistake like that again. Frank was happy and Zoe kept him that way.
Poor Zoe wasn’t able to keep her promise. The dry-cleaners lost one of Franks shirts. When Zoe told him about what happened Frank lost all his happiness. He was so sad about his shirt that he took one of the kitchen knives and began swinging it wildly at Zoe. For the first time in her life, Zoe’s first thought wasn’t about Frank’s happiness, it was about keeping the knife away from her. Frank swung and swung and hit Zoe in the shoulder and the leg, then Zoe did something her Mother never did, she fought back. The neighbors heard the ruckus and called the paramedics who walked into Frank and Zoe’s house and saw an awful scene. Zoe seemed to be bleeding from everywhere and Frank had wounds on his ankle and arm. Before Zoe lost consciousness she implored the paramedics for one thing.
“Save him!” “Save him!” she begged.
And they did.
There once was a girl who cried at just about everything. Movies, books, weddings, people yelling at each other on the street, old people eating alone, getting valentines from boys she liked, getting valentines from boys she didn’t like. She would bite her bottom lip and a few tears would escape from her eyes. She wasn’t loud, in fact, she tried not to draw attention to herself. Everyone in her town knew about her and everyone had the decency not to stare when she cried and to keep all of their judgement to themselves until she left and then they freely discussed her predicament. Some people called her an empath, others a nutter, and a few people called her Lou. This last group were people who actually knew her and spent time with her everyday, they called her Lou because her name was Louisa although no one in the town had ever called her that.
So, Lou cried and people talked about it. Who wouldn’t? No one knew why everything made her cry, Lou didn’t know why. Whenever she felt any emotion that was stronger than indifference she would bit her bottom lip and the tears would flow. She used to try and prevent it but that only made her cry harder. It was just her way. She knew it was considered abnormal, but what was to be done about it?
One day, when the time was right, which is to say, whatever time it was at the time, Lou met a boy she liked very much. She liked him because he stared right at her while she cried and always asked her what it was she was feeling that had caused her to cry. No one had asked her that since she was a little girl and when she was a little girl she hadn’t had the vocabulary to describe what she was feeling as she did now. Of course, it only makes sense that when she couldn’t describe it she was asked to, and when she could describe it no one cared to ask. That’s called life. Life was, coincidentally, what made Lou cry the most. It all makes sense you see. So, Lou and her inquisitive boy fell in love. He always asked and she always answered but she cried the exact same amount she always had and nothing really had changed for Lou except that everything had changed because she was in love. They went on like this for some time until the boy told Lou he didn’t love her anymore and was moving to Decatur, Georgia because that was where he wanted to move. Lou said she understood and then stared at him with perfectly dry eyes.
“Aren’t you going to cry?” the boy asked.
“Am I not?” asked Lou.
“No.” said the boy.
“Oh, sorry.” said Lou
The boy moved to Decatur, Georgia. Lou never cried again.