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The Advice Goddess: November 2019
Sunday, 03 November 2019 13:46

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One of my best male friends is in a super toxic relationship. I’ve told him to end it many times, and he does, but then he gets roped back in. At this point, I don’t want to listen anymore, and I’m tired of saying the same thing. How do I convey that without blowing the friendship?
— Earache


If you wanted to repeat yourself constantly, you’d get a side hustle as a parrot.

 Let’s be honest. When a friend puts their relationship issues on endless repeat, it’s tempting to put the phone down while they’re talking and go prune your ivy. 

It’s tempting for anyone but probably more so for you because you’re a woman. Women, in general, have a tendency to be indirect — to hint at what they want rather than coming right out and stating it.

 Women’s hintishness is often viewed as a flaw, but as I wrote recently, the late psychologist Anne Campbell, who researched female psychology and behavior, viewed it as an evolutionary feature. 

Campbell believed this indirectness evolved as a way for women — the baby carriers and primary child carers of the species — to avoid physical confrontation that could leave them hurt or dead. (If you don’t quite say something, somebody won’t quite have the ammunition to clobber you for it.)

 But a tendency is not a mandate. You can understand why you, as a woman, might feel uncomfortable being direct — stating exactly what works for you —  but you can decide to be direct despite that. 

To help keep the guy from seeing you as mean, unkind, or a crappy friend for saying “no mas” on hearing the sameoldsameold, explain, “I care about you, and it’s really painful to hear about you continuing to let yourself be abused.”

 Follow this up with something like: “My advice has not changed, and I hope you’ll eventually take it. Until then, I’m sorry. I just can’t hear about this situation anymore.” 

Difficult as this might be, it’s less invasive than the next-best option: having a string installed in the back of your head that you pull and out comes “So sorry to hear that” over and over and over again.


(c.) 2019, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ( Weekly radio show:


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