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Friendship burnout

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    I got two friends who I interact with the most. It has been kind of intense friendships. Both of them have been in a constant crisis for years. I have tried to be there as much as I can over the years. But last couple of years they have been stressing me out enormously. Just spending a day with one of my friends makes me feel completely drained and blurry around the edges and it takes two days to get back to normal afterwards.

    I try to not talk so much about myself with them because I do not feel that they are interested at all and I am partly relieved and partly frustrated over it. And I need to have something for myself. Like a secret little life or something away from them so that I can remember who I am. At the same time as I do this the inbalance of our friendships frustrates me.

    The more distance I put between one of my friends the clingier she gets. I want to be there for her because she is going through a tough time but at the same time she will ALWAYS go through a tough time. It just takes such a toll on me energywise. I sit and worry about her and the other friend and nitpick what I said and what I didn't say and how I could do it better. I don't want this. It's like I am living my life through their problems. It is not good for any of us. And it feels dishonest.
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    Hey Johanna,

    Thanks for reaching out to us with this. I think that at one point or another, we have all had friendships where we come away feeling drained. I guess that although your friends are going through a tough time and need support, you still have to look after yourself. Your mental health is important too. Are your friends being supported by anyone else? You should not feel like you have to carry all of this weight.

    I think that the distancing is a good idea and will help you to feel better. I do believe that if you felt like you could talk about yourself more and that they were interested, then you'd probably be more positive about these friendships. Have you spoken to them about how you feel when you talk about yourself? They might be interested, but they just don't realise they are coming off as being unbothered.

    I must say, from everything you've said, it sounds like you're a great friend. Instead of thinking about everything you didn't say, why don't you try to focus on all the good things you do for these friends? No one is perfect, and I'm sure you're doing a top-notch job.

    With all of this in mind, I think it's useful to consider what you get out of these friendships. Do you feel that they are serving you in a positive way? In life, people often come to a point in a friendship where they have to think about whether it's right for them or not. As I said at the beginning, your mental health is important too. You might find this article helpful: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/are-th...est-otherwise/

    To finish off, it does sound like you're getting stressed about this and it might even be causing you some anxiety. What do you do to help yourself when you're stressed? You could work on trying to immerse yourself in something you enjoy/find relaxing when you start feeling worried. Here are some useful support guides too:
    https://www.ditchthelabel.org/99-ways-to-combat-stress-during-lockdown/
    https://www.ditchthelabel.org/25-ways-practice-self-care/


    Let me know what you think about all of this. If you don't find it helpful, we can figure out something else. Speak soon

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