Friendships are tricky. Throughout the course of our lives, we may encounter many kinds of Friends, and whether it be long-term or short-term, all such relationships leave a trace on our personality and character.

During difficult times in our life, we rely on our friends to help us weather the storm. Even if they cannot be of any concrete help – sometimes all we need is a shoulder to cry on, and someone to listen to our troubles. But what happens when all a friend does is talk about their problems? When every outing turns into a therapy session with you in the role of a pro-bono Therapist? When you start to dread going out with them because you are all out of helpful advice?

It is perfectly okay to feel this way – and no, it doesn't make you a bad friend.

You are a friend – not a therapist

We have all been there. A close friend is going through a bad break up, experiencing family problems or problems at work, and they have told you all about it. Multiple times. Each time you tried to give some helpful advice, it's been ignored, and now you are all out of ideas of what to say. When you try to change the topic, your friend is either uninterested, or switches it right back to what they were talking about. And it's becoming draining.

Slowly, you may feel like you want to avoid your friend, which in turn makes you feel guilty. In such a situation, you might feel stuck.

Don't worry – there are ways you can fix this problem.

Honesty is the best policy

Honesty is the best policy, at least in this case. Sit your friend down and tell it like it is. For example, you could say: “I know you have been having a hard time lately, and I have listened to you and tried to be of help.

But it seems to me like this issue is out of my hands, and you might want to talk to a professional about it. It makes me feel bad when I cannot help you, and because of that I haven’t enjoyed spending time with you lately, and I don’t want to feel that way.” Your friend might feel angry or offended at first.

However, you should not back down. There are certain problems which can only be solved by talking to a therapist, and that is not your job in a friendship.

Friendships are based on reciprocation – and if you feel like you are doing all the giving and someone else is doing all the taking, you will slowly start to build resentment and that might completely ruin your relationship. Just like a romantic relationship, friendships need work, but remember that some are beyond repair. It is perfectly normal to feel that you have outgrown the friendship. If talking does not fix the issue, it might just be time to move on.

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