The Best-Ever Solution for a Friend Issue
Dear Selfless Esteem,
My friend is complaining about her “problems” that are not problems, and she doesn’t recognize the fact that I am in a worse situation as I live in Kyiv and hide from bombs and rockets all the time. What should I tell her?
Dear Friendship Dilemma,
How horrific that you’re hiding from bombs and rockets! 😦 Around here, we’ve finished our complaints with the phrase “but at least I’m not in Ukraine.” Yet your personal friend isn’t mindful of the severity of your situation. It behooves her to acknowledge that you’re suffering an unimaginable tragedy and ask if there’s anything she can do to help.
God cares about all our troubles, big and small (1 Peter 5:7), but He also wants us to keep things in perspective. When Jonah was upset over a withering plant yet heartless toward the lives of 120,000 people, God called him out on it (Jonah 4:5-11). I’m not saying your friend is heartless because she most likely cares; however, she does seem to be inconsiderate as she complains about trivial problems. Here are some suggestions for dealing with this friend issue.
Consider Your Options
A few of your options are to either assert your needs, take a break from contact, or do nothing. If you choose the first option, here’s an example of steps.
- State what’s happening, e.g., “You’re describing your troubles to me.”
- State what you think about it, e.g., “I think they’re minor compared to my circumstances.”
- Tell her how you feel about it. “I feel…”
- Listen respectfully to what she has to say thus far.
- Make your request, e.g., “Please refrain from sharing your problems at this time. I’d appreciate just having a listening ear.”
For more tips on assertiveness skills, see “Learn Assertiveness Communication in 5 Simple Steps” by verywellmind.
Then be prepared for a variety of reactions from her just in case she doesn’t do or say what you’d like. At that point, you may consider the second option of taking a break from contact or at least asking to resume the conversation later.
Get Professional Help
At the same time, I recommend you find a competent therapist to help you decide how to handle this friend issue. (See “What Is Wise Counsel and Good Therapy?” and “Why You Need a Therapist ASAP.”) Some therapists offer telehealth so you can have sessions online if needed.
Furthermore, therapy could be a good outlet for your thoughts and feelings. The therapist can also help find a support group of people, who are experiencing the same astronomical hardship and can relate to what you’re going through.
Take Care of Yourself
Be sure to do self-care at this time. For example, build a helpful support system and maintain contact with them. See “6 Effective Ways To Manage Stress” for more ideas.
And regarding your unfathomable circumstance, God’s your protector (2 Timothy 4:18) and there’s nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17). His love is like a shield (Psalm 5:12 NLT). Bible teacher, Derek Prince, gives an encouraging commentary on that verse in “The Shield of God’s Favor” in Inspiration Ministries. (For more details about God’s amazing love, see “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem” and “The Real Truth About God.”)
In summary, my heart goes out to you. (Please see the post, “Finding Hope in Difficult Times.”) My prayer for you is Numbers 6:24-26 NLT. “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.” 🕊️
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
If you’ve found this blog interesting, please share it on social media. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest content.
Click here to ask a question about a life stressor you are facing. Your question and Selfless Esteem’s answer could be featured in a blog.