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Thread: How do you tell a friend they need to get help?

  1. #1

    Default How do you tell a friend they need to get help?

    I'm having some problems here. One of my friends, we'll call her Ali, comes from an extremely dysfunctional family. Her parents are divorced. Her Mom is a whore--every kid in that family has a different father, and none of these fathers were married to their Mom. Her Dad is an ass--he's extremely sarcastic, he's overbearing, and he's always dragging down on her. She's always arguing with her sister, mostly in part because her sister is incredibly immature and obviously didn't receive the attention she needed when she was little.

    Currently she lives with her Mom and visits her Dad every other weekend. In this house, this small two floor rental house, her Mom, her sister, and her Mom's friend as well as her Mom's friend's two children under the age of five live in this house, with another on the way. So, a total of five people, six if you count the unborn baby. It's generally crowded, but Ali is always taking care of the children because both of the adults in the house are too damn lazy to get off their asses and do anything. So on top of her working full time, she takes care of all the kids, which includes cooking and cleaning.

    A while back in March, she was severely depressed and started cutting. The only reason she stopped was because her boyfriend at the time (who has long since dumped her) convinced her that it was stupid. However, her depression (not clinically diagnosed) has continued on. She's now dating a 26 year old who has herpes and a child, and she insists he's 'the one' even though she insisted that her previous boyfriend was 'the one'. However, before this, she was having sex with whoever she could get her hands on.

    This isn't all that's wrong, but long story short, she's headed down an extremely destructive path and is expecting me to help her. However, the help she needs is at a professional level, and though I have experience in the area, I am far from a professional and there's no way I can be the help she needs.

    The last two texts she sent me were as follows (translated from text lingo):
    "I just feel like my life is falling to pieces and I'm just afraid to make people angry because I don't want to lose anybody because I think it would push me over the edge. I'm just scared because I'm working all the time and I have the kids and I don't have time for anybody and I'm just scared that people will misinterpret it and push me away and I hate being afraid of rejection but I always have been and now it scares me even more."

    I want to suggest that she get help, but I'm not sure how I can because last time I did, she freaked out on me. However, I don't want to be stuck in the situation where she's always dragging on me with texts like that, because I myself have recently recovered from depression and I really, REALLY, do not need to head down that road again.

    So, does anyone have any ideas of what I could do?

    P.S. I haven't responded to those texts yet either. Anyone have any idea how I should reply? I don't know what to say.

  2. #2


    the best thing you can do is be a friend and support,a not so wise guy once sed "you can lead a horse to water but if you force it to drink it might just drown". dont take it apon yourself to fix them or there life,work on yourself and if they like what they see they might do the same.

  3. #3


    I would reply with something along the lines of "I really feel for you and wish I could say some magic words to make it all better, but the truth is this is outside of my capacity to help. I will always be here to listen to you and offer the shoulder to cry on, but I can't offer any actual solutions. I hate having to be the one to suggest this, but I feel it's a lot healthier if we work to find you some professional help. I'll support you emotionally the best I can through it, but a professional will be able to help you turn your life around."

    Obviously I don't know the depths of your relationship with her, so it might need sugar coating more. But if you explain to her you're not going to push her away, you just want her to start to feel as good as she deserves to feel - and the professional can help her on that path.


  4. #4


    Thanks eeyore. I just replied to the texts now. I realize it's quite a bit later, but I explained why and I hope she gets it. I left out the part about suggesting therapy simply because I don't think it would do any good to suggest it right now. But if the time ever comes again, with a very opportune moment, I would definitely reply in the way you suggested.

    Our relationship is...interesting. Coming from my point of view, I can honestly say that I'm just friends with her, and that I try not to be too close. However, she believes we are best friends and that we're the closest in the world, but I don't have the heart to tell her that I refuse to be close with anyone. So, there's kind of a break in our relationship, so to speak.

  5. #5


    The harsh reality is that, until she is ready to accept help, she will continue her self-destructive route no matter what anybody does.

    Gently tell her that you cannot shoulder all of her burdens for her. If she freaks out again, you can't blame yourself - you've done all you really could, and the rest is up to her.

    I know all of this sounds horribly brutal, but the reality is that people in that state of mind will continue to act that way as long as they can get away with it. I know this because I used to be one of them. I had to get as close to rock bottom as I was willing to get before I finally reached out for the help I needed, instead of milking sympathy from everybody around me. It sucks to see other people going down that same path now, but that's the way it works.

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