My friend is leaning on me too hard to solve her problems. Being a supportive friend is a great characteristic, but what do you do when the friendship is one sided in the “help” department?
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Brenda from Redford: I have a friend who has a meltdown about two or three times a week. I’ve become her go-to person because we both have kids: a boy and two girls, but mine are a few years older. She asks me for advice, I’ve suggested different things that worked with my kids, but all she does is tell me why my suggestions won't work. When I was going through some of these "trials of motherhood" myself, I would have liked to have had a friend to turn to outside of family. I try to be the friend that I'd like to have.
But what has been happening in the past two years is bonkers. She calls or texts me at all hours, even 3 a.m. The other night her baby was crying and she called me at 3am! When I didn’t pick up, she left a message saying I wasn't a supportive friend.
I’ve already had conversations with her. I also get why she is stressed out and don’t want to be an additional source of stress for my friend. But I want/need the unreasonable behavior to stop. Help!
DONI'S ANSWER: I feel it is your duty to stop helping your friend.
Does your friend ask you about your problems or offer you assistance with anything in your life?
I'm concerned that she asks you for advice, then dismisses it without trying. It seems to me that your friend is showing herself to be dependent on you. You're doing all the "work." She needs to try. Either listen to the advice she asked you for or find her own answers.
It's great that you are such a good friend: being supportive, but how good a friend is she being to you? You HAVE to set boundaries. Calling you at 3am because her baby is crying is absolutely unacceptable, in my opinion. You need to have a direct conversation and let your friend know how YOU are feeling about this.
Here are some alternative answers that I researched on the Internet:
If you want to help your friend, I would suggest that you stop rewarding her with your attention and friendship each time she decides to wallow instead of getting tough or resourceful. Since the hard part usually isn’t whether to extract yourself, but instead how to do it, here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Tell her it’s clear to you that you’re not helping her; if she doesn’t agree with you… tough. This is about changing what you do, not about changing what she thinks.
2. Offer two possibilities. The first is that the solution is within her, and has been all along, and your involvement has only interfered with her coping process, which includes identifying, cultivating and drawing on her own resources.
The second is that the stress is merely a symptom of an underlying, diagnosable problem, for which you are also not the answer — and possibly, again, a well-meaning obstacle in the path to one. Suggest a full physical and mental-health screening, just in case.
Jennifer in Dearborn Heights contacted us to ask if she was over-reacting to this situation: Her 7 year old son loved the "Lone Ranger" movie. Jennifer bought him the "Big Tex Holster Set" (picture left). When Jennifer's son went for a playdate and took the toy gun, her son got sent back home... because of the toy gun. Jennifer is struggling with how she feels about this situation. How would you react?
To hear the conversation, click the arrow: Toy Guns
I gave Jennifer the best advice I could... HOUSE RULES RULE... It probably wasn't easy for the other mom to send Jennifer's son home with his toy guns, but Jen has to respect the house rules when her son is having a playdate: the same goes for when Jennifer has kids over for playdates at HER house. Respect the house rules.
As for the toy gun issue in general, I'd say education is KEY. I'm not here to tell you guns are bad. I will tell you that education is ESSENTIAL. MY OPINION: make sure your kids are old mature enough to understand toys from not toys... regardless of your feelings on the issue of toy guns in general.
To listen to the conversation, click the arrow: Baby in bed
CLICK HERE for Doni's blog on this topic. Doni turns the tables and asks YOU for help.
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For real? This woman made Doni GO OFF!
Kristen from Livonia calls in to ASK DONI what she should do. Kristen's husband has gained 40 pounds over the last few years and Kristen is NOT HAPPY about it. Is Kristen worried about her husband's health and well being or is she being shallow? Kristen, a NY native, even takes a shot at Michigan as a whole! WHAT?!? Check out what Doni has to say as Jay tries to keep the peace and Fresh listeners 'weigh' in.
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Gisele Bundchen posted a picture of her and her baby daughter with pierced ears. Some people complained that they thought Gisele's baby was TOO YOUNG to have her ears pierced.
What would you do? ASK DONI, of course!
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"I belong to the community pool. There’s a family of more than 12 that keep coming to the pool and treating it like THEIR PRIVATE POOL rather than the community pool. They take over a bunch of tables and their kids are out of control. I just want to swim my laps and relax, but I can’t with this 'family reunion' going on every time I’m at the pool.
Doni… what should I do?"
1) SUCK IT UP. It is a community pool. I know it stinks, but it is a community pool… it’s not your private pool either.
2) MEET THE NEIGHBORS. Talk to the family. Introduce yourself. If they get to know you and you get to know them, maybe this will work itself out: you’ll have more tolerance for the antics and they’ll be more considerate.
3) HEAD ON! I believe in direct communication. If the kids are jumping in your lane while you’re doing laps, remind them that their behavior is “against the rules” or let the life guards know about the issue. They should be policing the kids getting in the lanes while people are trying to swim laps.
A) Settle yourself. There are, no offense, worst problems to have. You can afford the community pool! CONGRATS! A lot of people would love to have your problems.
B) It takes “a village to raise a child.” If the kids’ behavior is truly unruly, don’t feel bad politely reminding the youngsters of the rules. If that doesn’t work, take it up a notch. “You know the rules right? Cause if you need a reminder, I can go ask your parents to give you one.” Chances are your neighbors don’t know that you feel they are being discourteous.