You notice a self-destructive behavior pattern in a friend who is clearly unaware of it. Would you point it out?
I would probably try to point it out, yeah. Because if it’s someone I care about and they’re doing something that’s unhealthy or unsafe, I’d want to keep them from harm.
However, I would only try to point it out once. Because the cynic in me is of the belief that when one tries to point out another’s self-destructive behavior, that other is likely to lash out. I feel like the most common response you would get is something along the lines of, “Mind your own business,” or, “Butt out!” If that was the case, I’d give them what they want. I’d butt out. You’re an adult, clean up your own mess.
And then there’s the tiny optimistic voice inside me (that usually gets drowned out with a healthy dose of realism) that would love to believe that this friend would thank me for my concern and would take my advice into consideration. At that point, it’s still up to that person to make a change or not. If they make that change and work toward climbing out of that spiral of self-destruction, I’d be more than happy to provide whatever support I’d be able to provide. If they choose to keep sinking further, I’d probably wind up pulling away. Why should I be dragged down because of someone else’s negative choices?
I hope that doesn’t make me sound heartless. When it comes to my close friendships, I’m loyal to a fault (and I’ve taken the personality tests to prove it). Relationships like that have to be give and take situations. If I offer a friend my help and they reject it out of some sense of pride or addiction to a destructive habit, do they really view me as a friend anyway? Or am I just someone who’s trying to tell them how to live his or her life?
But what would you do? Let me know in that nifty little comments section down below! Do you think I’m a bad friend? It’s okay, you can be honest.
*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.