Get A Grip, Girl! How To Be A Supportive BFF To A Fickle Girlfriend With Too Many Dreams And No Job

October 15, 2012  |  

In every circle of girlfriends, there’s the one who has it together, the one everyone looks up to. She reminds of you Shanté Smith, Vivica A. Fox’s character in Two Can Play That Game. Perhaps that is you. She keeps it together for everyone, doling out valuable advice, providing moral support.

Then you have that one friend, the one who is full of lofty ideas and crazy notions. She’s like Lynn Searcy on “Girlfriends,” always chasing the next big dream. One day she wants to be a teacher. The next day, she wants to become a PR maven and start her own public relations firm. Just as you think she’s found something she can settle into, she tells you she wants to be a chef. Soon, she’s off to something else. Being the loyal friend that you are, you listen to her talk about her grandiose visions. You see the sparkle in her eyes and you share in her excitement initially. You watch as she puts her all into the latest idea, only to watch her interest fizzle. But after she’s gone through a dozen great ideas, you begin to wonder, will she ever get it together? In the middle of one of your conversations, you just want to shake her and say “Get it together, girl!” You don’t know how much more of this you can take. What are you supposed to do?

It would be easy to ignore your friend and all her fickle ideas, but that’s the wrong thing to do. A supportive girlfriend is there for all the ups and downs, ebbs and flows in her friend’s life. She’s there to cheer her on, and to offer encouragement and guidance when needed. So despite all the changes, all of the frustration, as a real friend you have no choice: be there for her.

You don’t have to co-sign every idea, or listen to every idea that spins off on its own tangent. But you know your friend; you know what she’s capable of. You know what she’s good at. Certainly, during some conversation over coffee or at happy hour, she’s bounced a realistic idea off of you. Maybe it was something she mentioned briefly. As a supportive friend, you should steer her in that direction. Help her connect with people and resources that will give her the support she needs to follow through on this one true idea.

The next time your friend starts telling you about her latest outlandish venture, don’t just roll your eyes and nod your head. Stop her and give her a reality check.  Don’t crush her. Just help her keep her dreams in perspective. Maybe that idea she has to start a cupcake business would make for a great side hustle eventually. But for now, help her focus on career opportunities that are stable and profitable.

If all else fails, then it’s time to set limits. Tell your friend that you will continue to be there for her, but that you can’t continue on her career roller coaster ride. As harsh as it might sound, setting limits on your friendship will help preserve it. Real friends are there for each other in crisis, so if your girlfriend finds herself in such a situation, you know you will be there for her.

It isn’t impossible to keep your friendship in tact and keep your sanity at the same time. It’s just a matter of setting limits and expectations. But at a time when your friend seems the most vulnerable and confused about her future (or his), I wouldn’t recommend bailing on them now. Remind them of their passions, the things they are truly good at to help them get off on the right foot, but when all else fails, an attentive ear and some understanding always helps.

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