“Dude, she’s not that into you.” I feel like that’s a sentence every guy either has to say or hear at some point. It’s probably best said over a beer. Most of the time it needs to be said more than once.
I’ve been on both ends of this statement. Most recently, when one of my roommates was dating a girl who obviously wasn’t as interested as he was. It seemed like she only went out with him when she couldn’t find anything else to do. Whenever they’d talk about their relationship, she’d be non-committal. She would even get mad if he asked her to clarify her feelings.
But he was really into her, so he always explained away her behavior and made excuses for her. He wasn’t seeing things clearly. Because I had been in his position before, I knew that I’d have to be patient in helping him see their relationship for what it was.
It wasn’t easy for me to hear someone complain about the same things month after month. I found myself listening to his struggles, sympathizing with him, and trying to offer him advice. Our conversations were often difficult. He would get defensive at times, and even mad at me if he felt like I was being too critical.
But we stayed friends. Even when he disagreed with me, he knew that I just wanted what was best for him. Plus, he needed someone to complain to.
It took time but eventually they did break up. Afterward, he thanked me for being there for him during a difficult time. Sharing that experience made us better friends than we were before. We’re more willing to listen to each other now because we know we have each other’s back.
Being “in love” is a powerful emotion and is important to any romantic relationship. But it can put blinders on people and make them settle for less than they deserve. Our friends and family can see things that we can’t; so it’s important to have the advice of people we trust and be open to listening to it.
It’s equally important to be careful how you offer that support. If you come off too strong in offering advice to someone, you risk losing their ear. But if you don’t say what you know they need to hear, then that’s not good either. From that experience, I’ve learned that sometimes the best thing you can do is lend them your ear and help them see what they already know.
There’s really no avoiding the fact that these conversations can be difficult at times, and they might even put strain on our friendships and family ties. But I am grateful for those who have been there for me when I’ve been in bad relationships, who have told me the hard truths even when I didn’t want to hear them. And I felt that I had an obligation to do the same for my friend. If we really believe in love, we need to be willing to be there for those who need us—and be willing to listen.