Home Culture How Do We Help The Friend That Won’t Listen?

How Do We Help The Friend That Won’t Listen?

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By now you’ve heard about this little pop tart moment Chris Brown had on Monday. If you’re not familiar, take a quick look a  post on Madame Noire here. In a nutshell the ladies of the talk show “The Real” on Fox were having a roundtable discussion about  what they called “inter-friend-tions.” This is when you tell a friend your opinion on a person that they’re dating. Whether or not you think that the person is good for them. Some would call this a slippery slope. Approaching this stuff can be tricky.

We have all been there.

I know for myself, I’m a pretty good judge of character. Whenever I thought someone wasn’t the right fit for a friend of mine I pretty much just knew. But how do we express displeasure without coming off as jealous or hating? There’s two choices that we all have. We either say what feel is to be true, or we shut up. There are pro’s and cons to this as well. If we speak our minds as “good friends” then at least we get it off of our chest. We’ll run the risk of being a Debbie downer or a hater. In that case we have to know that in time our friend will soon find out what we tried to point out. Hopefully apologies will flow as needed.

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Conversely, we also have the option to say nothing at all to our friend. I have had experience in that case as well. It’s probably one of the more difficult things to hold your tongue on something you think needs to be said. It’s nothing short of agonizing seeing someone be treated in a fashion that’s so substandard to how you know they should be treated.

It’s that point that I think the ladies of  The Real were trying to get at.

They see Karrueche and they see a woman who is picked up and put down by  Chris brown like a bottle of Coke. They see her as a woman who is conflicted. She’s a woman conflicted with the life that comes with fame and what is actually compromised by dating Chris. The ladies of The Real explored  the reasons why Karrueche’s friends maybe haven’t told her that Chris isn’t good for her. The point was made that maybe those friends benefit from those two being together. This all can be true. But whether it be in a highly publicized relationship like this or any of our own private ones, the formula is the same. There is always the risk of the friend in question being in denial.

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What do we do with a friend that is in denial?

We let them learn. As friends we have to give our friends the room to grow, make mistakes and be humbled in the process. We can give some people all of the answers and they still won’t take your advice. That just seems to be a human dynamic, we don’t learn until we live through the experience. In a way, it is this principle that allows me to write freely about anything. I can reveal all these things about how men think. I may believe them all to be true. I can put it on here on SBM. The words that women read may speak directly to a situation they are in. Then and still they may not heed my words. They may not heed it till they know for a fact that they’re true.

So accept what it is.

You are being a friend by warning a friend about someone they date. You have to know that once you express concern, that’s it. You leave the rest up to them and continue being the friend that you’ve been. You can always take horse to the well, and shoot the horse might be thirsty. But that horse still may not drink that water. This calls for a Kanye shrug. Have you all ever been in this situation? How do you handle warning a friend about someone they’re dating? Let’s get into it.

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These are my words and I make no apologies.

DamnPops is a writer on the staff at SBM: “I’m not a biter, I’m a writer for myself and others. ” Brooklyn born dude trying to figure out this life just like you. Come on this journey with me. Follow me on Twitter @DamnPOPS 

Comment(14)

  1. I had a friend who was dating this persian guy. WHen we got to talking I realized that since he was about 17 all his girlfriends had been black. Not a single exception and he dated A LOT. THen I come to find out he’s from one of those families where his mother drove down two hours every weekend to do his laundry. I realized then that there was no way this dude was ever gonna settle with a black chick and speaking to him I knew he knew this too. He treated black women the way you would treat some really high class prostitutes. Nicely and respectfully but still a like a prostitute. And wouldn’t you know he was a cheater too? I brought this to my girls attention before I found out about the cheating and she pretty much blanked me. Gave him her virginity, introduced him to her family started planning the wedding… basically handed him everything. When I found out about the cheating I let her know that too. Oh boy! She blew her top. Accused me of all sorts of shit, started a fight, called the cops on me, moved out the apartment and erased me from her life. The damn boyfriend had the nerve to call and threaten to hurt me if he ever saw me again.

    Five years and two abortions later, she gets an invitation to his wedding to a nice persian girl whom he’d apparently been betrothed to since before college even.
    I was completely right and he f*cked her life up but that didn’t make her (or me) feel any better. I would have been better up keeping quiet about the situation and being there for her to pick up the pieces when the whole thing went to shit.

    So I learnt from that. Be quiet, be supportive and drop as many hints as you can when you can but some people just don’t want to know what is obvious to the world and will turn on you real quick

      1. Nope. She never spoke to me again after the day she called the cops and moved out. Saw her once with mutual friends and she acted like I didn’t exist. Said hi and she just blanked me, Oh wells

        1. She was no true friend to start with, so don’t worry about her. It would take me no more than two times of being ignored for me to give it back in return.

          If the friendship is meant to be then she’ll eventually express her issue or apologize. Life is too short to have words left unsaid, but I wouldn’t beg.

  2. For the Female and (few ) Male Friends I have this post is a perfect example of the Universe that is Friendship. Trying to explain to Women EXACTLY How Men Think/Feel is like trying to keep Water in Place- you Can’t and Never Will. Either I’m Hating, a Hypocrite or Cosigner. And WHEN it comes that I Was Right there is No Apologies, just Side-Eyes and “Y’all [email protected] All the Same”, though I’ve Never identified as one.
    Same for Guys trying to “Help a Brother(a) Out”, its like hearing Charles Barkley speak about Blackness with some of them. Apathy is Too Easy for me to do and yet I rather do that and be seen as a Hands-Off Friend than Negative Nancy that was Right, smh

  3. What I’ve learned is you’re damned if you do.. and damned if you dont. If you tell a friend you run the risk of them “shooting the messenger”… but if you keep it to yourself and they find out you knew all along they blame you for not being a “true friend” … I’ve been on both sides on the coin… I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons.

  4. This is a tricky situation. I feel you really need to know the person you are trying to warn. We never fully know how a person will react but you have to have experienced their behavior in similar situations before. I have friends who have told me they flat out don’t want to know, so I will never tell them a thing. I’ve also had friends who claim they wanted to know only to get upset once the words were spoken. I deal with some genuine people who I respect and wholeheartedly remind them of their words.

    In the past I’ve had this type of situation arise with good and bad outcome. Good means they respected my warnings. I never state any more than I know or have heard. If I saw something I let them know specifically. If it’s something I’ve heard, I tell him/her that truth as well.

    Bad outcome resulted in arguing, friendship ending, but mostly distancing. I am honest and I choose my words carefully. I am also very direct, but very respectful to my friends emotions. To the weak people I know, I have to be super subtle. For example: her man of two weeks (who lied from jump about being Jamaican, working for IBM, & having a Computer Science degree) was manipulating her. She was so desperate and lonely. When she would bring up points that she felt were brag worthy, I’d question his actions more and call out the red flags she was missing. I also would warn her on his controlling overbearing behavior. She would smile and profess to love the attention. 7 yrs later they’re married and she’s separated from this jerk, but we’re still friends. A little strained due to their tumultuous relationship but still friends.

  5. I’m currently in this situation with a good female friend of mine, who happens to be “dating” another good male friend of mine. Honestly, I just don’t give a damn anymore. When she says it’s over, I support her. Inevitably though, she continues to sleep with him. When she complains about him yet again, I become deaf. I completely ignore texts about him or change the topic of conversation. I no longer discuss my own love life with her because I don’t want to give her the opportunity to discuss hers and hear complaints about him.

    At a certain point, you just stop caring because once the relationship has gone on 3, 4, 5+ years, the friend is completely aware of the type of person s/he’s dating, and just enjoys the drama.It’s sad but I refuse to give more energy to a black hole.

  6. We all have our own lives to live, so we can’t go on trying to live someone else’s. I personally don’t poke or prod, but when asked of my opinion, I give it. Some people like drama, and want to enroll others in their “black hole” as @disqus_urEyTZWiqC:disqus stated. I don’t get caught up in all that negative, backwards steps rhetoric. It’s about building and growing.

  7. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that some people just don’t have a desire to listen to sound advice or wisdom, let alone apply it.

    Therefore, I refrain from advising friends about their relationships, unless they ask me to share. Even in the instances when they ask me to share, I’m still cautious about what I share, especially if they have a proven track record of not heeding wise counsel.

    Some people prefer to learn lessons the hard way, at least that’s what I’ve found to be the case with friends and people I’ve encountered.

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