Make It Stop: “My Best Friend Won’t STFU About Her New Boyfriend”
My best friend is in a new relationship. I’m really happy for her, but it seems like she ONLY wants to gab about this new fella, who I’ll call Louis. We talk about Louis for—I’m not kidding—hours on end. She doesn’t even ask about how my day’s going, she just talks endlessly about this guy: basically what she loves about him (his wicked sense of humor and kickass bedroom skills) and what she’s hesitant about (his exorbitant student loans, his ex-girlfriend who he swears is “crazy”). Her thoughts on this guy are a faucet that I can’t turn off. These conversations are taking up a lot of my time, which is a problem because between work and school, my free time is at a premium. Louis is sexy! Louis is great! Louis wants to name their (hypothetical children) Clementine and Zachary! That’s all fantastic; but I’d rather be catching up on “Homeland” episodes than hearing about the ins and outs of her new relationship for the millionth time. Please, make it stop!
I understand the rush of finding a new love. You want to scream it from the rooftops: “I found someone who doesn’t suck! Life is good! Now I can one of those people who write #blessed at the end of status updates unironically!”
But, after a certain point for certain people, it can escalate from excited gushing to hardcore obsession. And it sucks to be on the receiving end of someone’s obsessed rants. That’s why people pay therapists, because it’s not fun or easy to listen to someone’s obsessions for hours on end. It’s exhausting.
This might be hard because you’re so used to volunteering your time to be her sounding board, but I would stop being so available to her, at least until she settles down.
You say that you’re busy, then be busy. Stop dropping everything to listen to her gab. You don’t have to pick up every time she calls you. You don’t have to respond to every text right away. I give you permission to be a bit of a flake here. She’s demanding too much of your time and you have to be better about asserting your boundaries and not making yourself too available to her.
Try only calling or texting her back when you’re mentally ready to have a longer conversation. Be like, “Alright, I’m all settled in with my cat on my lap and a mug of peppermint tea by my side. Give me the latest.”
Or, if you can’t spend hours talking but you don’t want to blow her off altogether, say, “I only have a few minutes to talk. What’s up?” When she starts going on a tangent about whether she thinks she could get along with his mother if they ever met, just say, “I’d love to talk more about this, but I need to get going. I just got home after a long day and I gotta get a jump on making dinner. I’ll talk to you soon and keep me posted with how everything goes!”
Hopefully this is just a phase and you’ll have your friend’s attention back in no time. But for now, take a baby step back and advocate for your schedule a bit better.
I have a friend/neighbor in my building and she pops-in all the F-ing time. Reasons for showing up include: her dog meeting another dog at the park, a new omelet special advertised at the diner and a squirrel in my yard. She would stay for an hour and I would have to make hostile awkward conversation. How do I get her to scram?
Oh man, both questions today are about how to assert boundaries. There really should be a class about this in high school. Like, they teach us to memorize the quadratic formula by heart, but no knows how to politely tell people to bugger off.
I have no patience and occasionally lack tact, so that actually comes in handy for situations like this. I was recently writing in a coffee shop (yes, I’m THAT girl writing in a coffee shop) and the guy next to me started talking my ear off about he he really wanted a truck like the one parked across the street. No kidding, I turned to him and said, “My interest level in this conversation is low.” Is that not the most polite way to phrase, “Fuck off!” ever? I was so proud of myself. He seemed taken aback at my bluntness, but I secretly high-fived myself and laughed about it for days.
Listen, you gotta lay it out for this neighbor but in a jokey way. “I love your constant yard updates, but I can’t hang right now. Talk later!”
Or, “You know how much I love a terrific omelet special, but it’s not the best time for me to socialize. See you around!”
Keep it short, firm, vague and upbeat. That’s your best best. Good luck!
Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — the blogger behind Shmitten Kitten and Shlooby Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected] with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.