Friends Don’t Let Friends Play Psychoanalyst

I’m slowly learning a life lesson that I had to figure out the hard way. If you are a sympathetic or sensitive person, please keep reading. Perhaps, I can save you some grief, too.

I have a tendency to want to help people and fix their problems. I’ve done this my whole life. I’m a professional “fixer” who naturally pulls from her resources and comes up with solutions. Being a problem-solver is great for business. However, it seems to attract some less than ideal friends.

I recently had a business relationship/ friendship unexpectedly turn sour. This particular person had relied on me considerably for business and life advice, and I gave them a tremendous amount of my time. Unfortunately, they also continued to make the same errors in judgment over and over. When I finally expressed that I wasn’t going to support them in their poor decisions, the relationship rapidly deteriorated.

I was a friend as long as I had the time to play psychoanalyst. However, once I no longer had the patience to be a sounding board, this person had no more use for the “friendship”.

This prompted some soul-searching. Guess what I discovered? This recent relationship and its outcome are really no different than several others that I’ve had over the years. It’ a pattern. People with “problems” are drawn to me because I try and help them. And, I’m equally drawn to them because I like to help.

However, these people who so readily seek out my help for their problems are typically not facing real life challenges. Instead, they are those who are chronic complainers, poor decision-makers, and selfish of others’ time. They are not the friends who are facing major illnesses or other life-altering situations who are asking for help. Nope, it’s those who simply have a need to complain about everyday situations and believe that they can dump their challenges onto someone else.

Well, with a busy family, a business, and a home, I honestly don’t have time to play psychoanalyst anymore. I figured out the pattern, and now, I’m hoping to be able to identify it before I pick up another wayward “friend” who just wants to bitch about their situation. Of course, I’ll be there enthusiastically for anyone who legitimately needs help, but I’m going to be much more cognizant and dismissive of those who just want to hire me as their free mental health advisor.  

I’ve been to over 50 countries, and I’ve got a pretty clear idea of who needs help and who doesn’t. And, I think I’d rather donate my time to helping homeless victims of a natural disaster who can actually use my help than devoting countless hours to those who have everything and have the nerve to feel no sense of appreciation for it.

If you truly want to help someone, I whole-heartedly suggest donating to Unicef’s efforts to help the 14 million people affected by the flood in Pakistan.

Let’s file this one away in the “Lessons Learned” category. On to more positive posts this week!

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