When it comes to helping a friend going through a breakup, there is inevitably a point where we all cross from “Oh sweetie, tell me all about it,” to “Good God, if you don’t stop talking about this my ears are going to start bleeding.” Heaven knows I’ve been on both sides of the problem, as the patience-tested listener and as the obsessed mess who knows she needs to let it go but just can’t.
There’s no rule for when patience runs out, but one thing is clear: For the majority of us, it eventually does. According to Pearl.com, 64 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds have ditched a friend who constantly talks about their relationship problems. Ouch. (Interestingly, women and Southerners were just slightly more likely to do the ditching!)
In my experience, here are some signs you might want to watch for if you’re worried you’re becoming That Person:
- You know you’ve repeated the story you’re currently lamenting at least four times already, but you tell it again anyway.
- Your friend keeps changing the subject or suggesting activities (like going to the movies) that don’t involve talking when you go out.
- Glazed eyes in the faces of all your nearest and dearest when you’re speaking.
- A conversation divide that is 80 percent you, 20 percent them. Or worse.
- You can find a way to relate any topic to your relationship, no matter how loose the thread of connection.
If you’ve experienced two or more of these, you might be in danger of running your friends off.
Of course, a good friend will understand how hard these things are and be as patient with you as possible. But sometimes, an objective, neutral party can be helpful to you and a welcome relief for your friend who might feel your issue is out of her support league. In that vein, pearl.com is offering launching a “Love Is a Battlefield” relationship care package, which provides three online conversations with a professional counselor or therapist for $39 (way cheaper than in-person therapy, trust). Could be money well spent if it keeps both you and your friend feeling sane, right?
See more information and a full infographic from Pearl here.