AdviceHey, Bonita!

How Do I Help a Hurtful Friend?

I have a friend. We met over a decade ago and have stayed in touch through jobs, boyfriends, moves, worse jobs, family deaths and everything else. I’ve always been able to reach out to her when I’m in need, and I always offer her the same.

Things have changed over recent years. She’s always been more successful in… well, everything! She’s prettier, for sure, and works more white-collar jobs than me, and she’s always been OK with me being a bit of a slouch. But she has bought a house she can’t afford, and her love life is in the dumps right now (she recently ended an engagement), plus other stuff.

She’s not talking to me so much anymore, and she’s kinda throwing side-shots at me. She makes little snide comments here and there about how easy my life must be. Well, it’s not, and I don’t appreciate that. I told her so, and she really blew up at me, and now we’re not talking. We live states apart, and I’m worried about my friend, but I can’t take her bullying. I want to help her, but not at this cost. Any advice would help.


At a Loss

If you’ve been friends for this long, and she’s at house-buying age, then I’m guessing you’re both past your mid-20s and possibly into your 30s. You’ve been there together throughout the tough times, sure, but “tough times” in your 20s tend to be more relationship-oriented—terrible roommates, nightmare bosses, cheating partners, etc. It’s a semi-charmed life in the respect that while these things can be trying, they’re really not things that create permanent impacts on our lives. I thought there was nothing worse than living with not one but two drug dealers when I was in a big city, until I started seriously pursuing buying a home. Now THAT is stress. And sure, boyfriends can be a headache, but she had a fiancé and purchased a home. She probably saw that as the home in which they’d make a life together, but not anymore. That sucks.

One might say that your friend is going through a quarter-life crisis. She’s wondering what the hell she’s doing and where her life is going. She’s on a sinking ship in an empty house that’s going to bankrupt her, and she’s wondering how she got there. She might feel so helpless by her financial straits that she’s doubting every move she’s made in her life up to right now. And then she looks at her friend, living in a college town with pretty cheap rent and doing OK in a blue-collar field, and it burns her up. Societal norms dictate that she’s supposed to be the one who is unbothered and doing well, not you.

I’m also a slouch in comparison to my oldest friends, most of whom are some combination of married, parenting and home-owning. I’ve got none of that going for me, and I’m OK with that. I live a great life, and my tied-down friends notice that. They say how they wish they could go out for a beer on a whim or buy lingerie instead of Baby Bjorns. Your friend might have a great job, but mortgages aren’t cheap, and neither are car notes. You might make less money than her, but you probably have more disposable income because you have less, and smaller, bills.

Your friend is a drop in a flood of people who have bitten off more than they can chew in the current housing market, plus she’s recovering from heartbreak. She doesn’t have healthy coping skills, and she’s lashing out at people who are just trying to be supportive. She should look into subsidies for first-time home buyers in her state to help relieve the financial pressure she’s under, or maybe get some roommates or do Airbnb.

I recommend breaking the silence and reaching out to her. Go ahead and forgive her for her outburst. She’s stressed out, dude (but she’s still responsible for her words and behavior). She needs to be encouraged to get out of this funk and work proactively to fix her financial problems. She can do it. Be the one to say these words to her, and tell her you love her and appreciate her. Be the friend you’ve always been.

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