Cancel My Invite: What To Do When You’re Caught In Someone Else’s Pity Party

January 30, 2013  |  

You know that strange feeling you get when you answer a call from one of your best friends and then all of a sudden, there’s that eerie silence.  The air around you gets stale and then the sounds of muffled sobs get louder, and then your friend is hyper ventilating on the phone.  Before you can react they begin to tell you what’s wrong.  It’s happened to all of us, and there were times that we were even the crying voice on the phone, so you know how the routine goes, right?  Well, every now and then we can fulfill our friendly duties of “just being there,” and other times, it’s a little bit harder to endure.  With this post, I’m going to give you, you wonderful readers, a few tips on how to deal with being forced into a pity party that you might not be prepared for.

First, let’s just call a pity party what it is.  It’s a time that your friend might need to vent and to feel sorry for themselves.  We’ve all had our moments where trying to be overly strong can be taxing, and being able to put your guard down and for once feel like someone cares about you is an attractive option sometimes.  However, that’s all it should be.  So when your friend is calling you and their cries are interrupting their words, remember that maybe all they want to do is just let their burdens go.

Secondly, just because they’re letting their burdens go doesn’t mean that you need to pick them up.  Sometimes people stress themselves out because they feel like they need to fix their friends’ problems, or make their problems their own.  No, you don’t need to do that, and anyone who is asking you to do that isn’t a good friend.  Your only responsibility is to offer an open ear, or at the very least, the appearance of an open ear.  Let’s be honest, you have your own life, and you might not want to hear about someone else’s troubles when you’re trying to decipher what to do with your own.  In those times you can mentally check out, because like we’ve already discussed, your friend probably just wants to vent, so let her/him.

Finally, have you ever had a friend that deals with the exact same thing over and over?  Well, here’s what you can do to try to help limit that particular themed pity party.  Encourage a change in said friend.  Sometimes people overthink their situations, and can’t look at the situation logically.  If you see that your friend is suffering in something that has a simple solution to you, maybe try to offer the solution to you friend.  A caveat though, don’t insult your friend, or point out how obvious the solution was, because crying to someone can already make a person feel like their depreciating in life, making them feel like an idiot for not fixing their problems on their own might exacerbate the feelings.

Friendships can be hard, but so is life, so you have find ways to deal when you’re thrown into less than ideal situations.  These are just some tips, and if you have your own, feel free to add in the comment section.

Kendra Koger is all about that solution life.  You can tweet her about her normal life too.  @kkoger.

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  • York

    Back in the day I had a friend who would pull that foolishness at 3am…the 1st time I listened, the 2nd I gave advice.

    But the 3rd time?? Went something like this:
    Me: same dude?
    Her: yeah, he [insert multiple repeat offenses here]
    Me: you already know how I feel. Call me back when you stop wasting time and dump him. *click*

    Ain’t nobody really got time for that. If I want to watch the same drama over and over I’ll watch the Jacksons movie.

  • I had a friend who would call me up all hours of the night crying that her husband had whipped her azz AGAIN! At first I was shocked, devastated, outraged, and ready to take her down to the police station right then and there. But she always went back and insisted he loved her. After the upteenth time of this nonsense I told her straight up, “Look, I love you and it pains me to see you get your clock cleaned every other week and its exhausting and stressful to be the other ear listening to this sad situation that I cannot fix. I’m here for you I support you and the second you get serious about ditching that loser let me be the first one to know. Until then please do not tell me about anymore of the abuse you’re going through.”

    She got mad for a little while, but years later after he ran off with some barely legal idiot she thanked me for taking a hard line with her. She said losing the support of her BF helped her realize how crazy and dangerous her situation was.

    • MlS2698

      Hope she took time to work on herself after he left. If not, she will just pick up another loser. Clock cleaned every other week? SMH

      • She hasn’t learned much. She’s currently working on her third marriage . . . she’s barely 30. Which is why I had to dial our friendship back to an occasional acquaintanceship. I ain’t got time for all the theatrics.

  • kierah

    When you are guest at a pity party, you always have the option of leaving. Don’t be an emotional hostage.

  • anon

    I’m usually the one calling, and its a depreciating feeling, instinctively, that the person on the other end, be it mom, relative, friend, really can’t give 2 -ishes about your pity. Imma stop calling, and they better not call me.

  • IllyPhilly

    I’m a terrible friend because I’ve never got these calls.