My best friend won’t stop texting their ex and they aren’t even together anymore, what should I do to help my friend get a grip?
Do you have a best friend who is hung up on their ex and can’t stop texting (emailing or calling) them? Here are a few ideas for how to help your friend out. Remember that while this post sounds rather funny, your friends obsession with their ex is not to be taken lightly.
Sometimes humor can help diffuse a stressful situation. If you and your friend can laugh together you may be able to lighten up his or her misery. At a certain point you have to laugh about it. Invite your friend to a movie, party, shopping or fun activity to get their mind off temptation to text their ex.
If your friend really wants to stop themselves from contacting their ex you can use post it notes to remind them not to text, call or email their ex. Post notes like “don’t text”, “don’t do it”, “don’t you dare”, “be strong”. Use smiley faces or stop signs. This will probably make your friend laugh about their texting addiction.
Have sympathy until you run out of it
If your friend really can’t control their behavior very well then they might be more upset than you imagine. Try to have sympathy for your friend. At a certain point though, you are no doctor and can’t give them psychiatric advice. If you think your friend is going too far, getting too upset, and downright bent out of shape, you can let them know and then back off. If things get dicey with your friend, you might have to take a break from your friendship with them for a while.
Don’t get too involved
If you start to seriously weigh in your opinion with your friend, they may start to rip you up for it. Think of them as needing a chew toy. Don’t become the chew toy. Since they can’t get through to their ex they may start using you as a scapegoat of sorts. If you feel yourself becoming a scapegoat more than a sympathetic ear you might want to stop talking with your friend for a while. If you find yourself walking on eggshells in fear of saying something insensitive or saying the wrong thing that will upset your friend then you may want to opt out of endlessly discussing their ex with them. Their ex is not your problem.
Don’t tell them what to do lest you get blamed for your advice
Giving your friend advice can be dicey too. Common sense advice such as letting them know that they should let some time pass and find other outlets is all well and good. Yet what if while they are taking your advice their ex finds and falls in love with someone. All of a sudden they could turn on you and blame you. I should have tried harder not let time pass as you suggested. Why did I listen to you. You get the drift. You don’t want to give advice then turn around and be blamed for it.
A dash of tough love
If you see your friend start treading into territory where they are becoming a stalker it may be time to back yourself out of involvement. For example, if they keep texting their ex nonstop they might get their number blocked. They might force their ex into having to change their number which is surely to infuriate the ex. Their ex might consider taking legal action even.
Remind your friend that they definitely don’t want to slide into being a stalker or being guilty of harassment. Let them know about restraining orders. If you see them taking things too far you can gently let them know there may be serious consequences to their actions. After that, just disengage and remember to mind your own safety by backing off.
Obviously if you think a situation is critical and someone is in danger of getting hurt you should take all safety precautions and inform whomever you feel is necessary about the problem. Think of an alcoholic and codependency. You can’t control someones drinking anymore than you can control someones obsessive texting. If you fear for your friend suggest they get some help. Since you are not a doctor you can’t really help them get over an obsession.
Change the subject
Sometimes you can steer to different topics and activities and keep your friendship going. If that’s the case you can gently encourage your friend to think about and do other fun activities with you. That should cause a good distraction from their obsession with their ex.
It can take a long time for your friend to get over an ex or an obsession with a relationship. Consider one month for every three or four they were involved. Another thing to note is that sometimes the relationship really didn’t exist at all. It may have been more in your friends head. For example lets say they thought they met the one when in reality it was just someone they dated briefly and it fizzled. You may wonder why they got so obsessed over something so fleeting. The point is that your friend may have pinned a lot of hopes on that relationship and even if it didn’t really exist or was brief or was casual, or ended badly, your friend can still be every bit as upset as someone who was married!
Regardless of what the relationship was, your friend might be heartbroken or obsessed all the same. Be patient since it will take some time for your friend to move on.
Sometimes you tolerate hearing about your friends ex and the gory details or their relationship which no longer exists and doesn’t matter. You tolerate it for so long, then you snap. It goes from being relationship gossip to pure torture. You might be driven to snap and chide your friend to just get over it and you belittle them and say you need help and get into a fight with them over their inability to move on. This is a mistake. Try not to be patient and then all of a sudden snap on your friend. This can ruin your friendship. You friend doesn’t need to be losing any more friends than they need to right now. Sometimes, a little distance from their persevering is better than snapping on them.
Don’t lose the friendship over it
Be sure that you don’t start using your friends obsession over their ex as entertainment for yourself. If you’re bored and you start to spend too much time hand in hand with your friend analyzing and dwelling on their obsession, you might lose your perspective entirely. You might even become part of the problem. If your friendship with them is in danger because they are obsessed with an ex be careful. Taking a break from the friendship for a while might be the best way to save it. Try to hang in their for your friend yet opt out if their obsession with an ex starts to erode their friendship with you to the point of no return.