Are We Too Enabling When it Comes to Our Friends?

23 01 2013
Photo:Idiva.com

Photo:Idiva.com

We’ve heard it all before – the different ‘excuses’ women make when talking to their friends. You know what I’m talking about, the ones like, ‘Girl, he’s just really busy,’ or ‘He’s scared to love you,’ or, ‘But when he decides to settle down, you KNOW it’ll be you!’ Maaaybe even ‘yea girl, you look GREAT in that dress!’ Yea, those things we say to each other.

But even if you’ve never been involved in any of those woman to woman conversations, chances are you’ve found yourself either trying to make your girl feel good about something she’s done or just all out avoiding conversations you think will make her feel judged. Don’t lie – you know its true.

Mostly, these conversations are harmless.¹ I mean, if you can’t go to your girls to co-sign on ridiculousness sometimes, then who can you go to? Saying some ratchet hoe ish is going down in Vegas doesn’t have the same effect if your friends don’t agree, right? (Not that that’s been said around these parts or anything… ahem.) It’s when the enabling becomes too often or occurs after your friend has asked for an honest opinion/reaction that the little white lies become problems.

Cosmo calls it ‘sidestepping the truth’ and says women do it all the time.

Sidestepping the truth with friends is a natural instinct. “Women have been taught to keep the peace in their friendships rather than to be completely honest,” says Ellen Connell, PsyD, a relationships therapist. And if you’ve ever given your honest opinion to a friend only to have it backfire, it can be scary to go there again.

But how do you combat all that? Do we all commit to telling each other the ugly truth no matter what? Can you imagine how that would go? ‘Uh yea, I honestly think you need to get your ish together instead of worrying about doing ratchet hoe ish in Vegas’ or ‘actually, he probably doesn’t want to be with you because you keep giving him everything he wants without making him work for it sometimes’ or ‘yes, your arse is a grade-A certified clinger. Stop that.’ Eeeek! I can feel the glares myself and these were just hypothetical!

But maybe a little more honesty is what we all need. We are supposed to be friends right? Who tell each other ‘everything’? The thing is, if we commit to no longer sidestepping the truth or enabling bad decisions, we also have to commit to accepting those opinions without blowing them out of proportion. Like they said in the article, sometimes the potential backfire is what holds friends back. And honestly, I can admit to being on both sides of the truth gone wrong. I’ve felt judged by a friend (wrongly – I should’ve just taken it as her honest opinion), and I’ve been accused of butting in where I wasn’t wanted (wrongly – because she asked for my honest opinion).

Anyway, what do y’all think? Do you think that women enable our friends too much? And if so, is there anything we can do to limit that enabling?

1 Well the dress one isn’t – don’t tell your girl she looks good when she doesn’t. That’s just wrong.

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4 responses

23 01 2013
Brenda

Sigh. I’ve been there. I moved in with a girl that I was really close with and when she started to participate in activities that I thought was unsafe, I told her. She didn’t like my delivery and we stopped talking. We do enable our friends too much and whenever I see a woman doing something crazy, the first thing that comes to mind is, “where are her friends?” The answer is; they were right there with her. We just need to treat our friends the way we would want them to treat us. With the truth. All the time. Great post Darby!

24 01 2013
dbaham

Thanks Brenda! And you’re so right – I’m definitely working on this as well. There’s no point in saying we’re friends if we can’t be TRULY honest with each other, right??

25 01 2013
29tolife

I’m struggling with this. One of my friends who came to visit recently. Let’s just say he did a number of things that annoyed the entire group, for the entire visit. These are problems we knew he had before, but now folks are fed up, but not sure how to address it because he gets super defensive if you try to correct him about anything.The group would love to do more trips and outings in the future, but because of problems on the last three trips, no one wants him to ruin future outings and are considering just not telling him about stuff. Ugh.

25 01 2013
dbaham

Ugh. I’m so sorry you’re going through that. I can only imagine how much of a bummer that is. But you actually bring up a good point – it’s not really that women are too enabling just for women. It’s hard to be brutally honest with any of our friends because the last thing you want to do is hurt that person’s feelings. I mean, they’re your friend so you obviously care about them. It’s tough!

But, I do think when it all boils down to it – most people would rather hear the tough stuff come from someone they know cares about them. So it’s kind of our duty to be honest before someone else is. I wish you guys luck! And I pray that your friend is able to receive the comments for what they’re meant to be, not as judging and critical for harms sake.

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