Supportive friendships are a lifeline for many of us, especially when we face various challenges in our love life. Friends offer us much-needed perspective when analyzing too much, reassuring us when we feel insecure, and building us up when others fail us. And we strive to help each other out with our relationship problems, as mutual support is essential for strong and healthy friendships.
But sometimes we feel that the help we offer is insufficient, unsatisfactory, or does not help our friends. No matter how much we try, the time and energy we invest will not improve the situation and deplete the resources we need for our own wellbeing. Perhaps every night we stay late on the phone with our troubled friends, cancel our appointments to be available when a crisis arises, or invest in a plan of action they don't embrace. Perhaps our determination to fix their love life even leads to discord in relationships with the friends we want to help.
Because of these pitfalls, we need to set boundaries and provide meaningful support to our friends. Boundaries allow us to watch out for our own emotions, time constraints, and energy levels to ensure we don't get frustrated, disappointed, and alienated by our friends. Fortunately, we can accommodate both our needs and the needs of our friends by making some adjustments to our response: