When Divorced Girlfriends Offend: Too Quick to Criticize Love & Men?
Recently a divorced woman named Sue found herself in a “gross” conversation with her divorced griflriends. Not “gross” as in the subject matter was lude or disgusting; rather, the conversation left her feeling gross. For somehow, her friends’ conversation had shifted to her relationship with her boyfriend – and as she put it, “It was like watching a feeding frenzy. They were chewing into him and my relationship like a pack of wolves. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Worse still, this wasn’t even a topic I wanted or needed to discuss with them!”
Without a doubt, girlfriends can be our life source as we navigate divorce hell and do our best to move on. Without a doubt, our friends have really good intentions too – they offer counsel and strongly opine because they care; they want us to be happy and don’t want to see us ignoring red flags.
But on the heels of Sue’s story, I want to remind divorced friends to check in with themselves. Cause perhaps their tongues need to be held in check a bit more, too.
Your job as a friend is first and foremost to do what great friends do — that is, make your friend feel understood and loved. Without those two components first in place, your quick and fiery opinion around any issue is probably a lot more about you – you revisiting your past, you dealing with your fears, anger and unresolved emotions – than her.
Secondly, don’t take the liberty of tabling what you perceive as someone else’s relationship “issue” in front of a group. I don’t care how open and close you and girlfriends are, it’s disrespectful to the woman in question if she didn’t ask to be before a ‘forum.’
And thirdly, remember that just because your friend isn’t married doesn’t automatically qualify her love relationship as fair game for attack. Do you recall back when you were married and you were very respectful not to probe too deep or overly criticize someone’s husband? For you knew that regardless of his shortcomings, this was a man your friend loved and had committed herself to. You had BOUNDARIES back then, and didn’t assume you could open fire with your tongue whenever you wanted…
Alas, it may do divorced women well to remember two things:
1) all relationships are flawed in some way, just as are all men and women. But that doesn’t mean these relationships can’t be fulfilling, long-lasting, and deeply loving. (Yes…even if you haven’t found this to be the case); and
2) biting one’s tongue can be a sign — and act — of respect.