Kate Feldman was relieved when her friend decided to dump his girlfriend — until he asked her to do it for him.
“I finally convinced him that she was the devil … but he was too chicken to [end things] himself,” the recent University of Florida graduate says. “So I had to sit in the middle of the student union and break up with her for him.”
Now, when friends bombard her with relationship drama, Feldman, 21, ignores the texts and rejects the calls.
A recent survey conducted by Pearl.com and Wakefield Research shows that 50% of American adults have avoided a friend who won’t stop talking about their relationship problems.
That number is even higher among 25 to 34-year-olds: 64% admit to ditching a complaining pal.
Most respondents say close female friends are their first choice of confidant.
But for those enlisted to analyze every detail, the drama gets old, says Jennifer Kelman, a life coach and Pearl.com relationship expert.
“It’s like, ‘We’ve talked about it Get over it. Move on,'” she says.
Camille Stelly, a Louisiana State University junior, gets frustrated when a friend’s former flame becomes the focus of every conversation.
“Your ex is not the reason we became friends,” the 21-year-old says. “I know that you have plenty to talk about besides your stupid ex, so remind me of why I enjoy your company.”
However, in the age of online dating and self-help books, hyper-analysis comes with the territory.
“Our culture is based on personal fulfillment,” says Kelly Campbell, California State University, San Bernardino associate professor of psychology. “People want to find their best possible partner.”
As a result, young adults are staying in the dating game longer as they hunt for the perfect match. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the median age of first-time newlyweds reached an all-time high in 2011 — nearly 27 for women and about 29 for men.
Charles Hill, a Wittier College psychology professor who studies interpersonal relationships, says putting off marriage in favor of more dating experience leads to stability later on.
More time spent playing the field also leaves more opportunity for turmoil, he says.
According to the Pearl.com survey, the most common dating issues are when to end a relationship, how to heal after a breakup and whether a partner is faithful.
“Among a circle of friends at any given time, someone’s always dealing with one of these problems,” Hill says. “It’s very common to get tired of listening.”
Todd Crooks, 22, says he’s asked for relationship advice once a week, if not more. He’s usually willing to listen — as long as his friends reciprocate.
“I often get annoyed when my friends ask for help and then immediately strike down my opinion,” the University of South Florida junior says. “Or when they ask me about the same problem repeatedly, especially if they’re ignoring my advice.”
Campbell says that is the reason people with constant relationship problems cause irritation.
“It’s not that they’re asking about relationships specifically, but that they’re asking over and over,” she says. “They’re not valuing your opinion.”
Eventually, Kelsea Hanks, 22, just tells friends what they want to hear.
But it’s not always enough.
“I usually try to steer the conversation into something else they’re obsessed with — like their latest splurge purchase,” the recent Bentley University graduate says. “But a few times, my ‘mom’ has called me.”
Kelman says this kind of avoidance is only natural.
“Relationship problems tend to drag on a bit,” she says, “and people like action.”
Source: USA Today