Pallas asks: A girl and a guy were harbouring a crush for each other. Then the two started dating. However, once they started dating, the guy started ignoring the girl. The girl was worried that he might not be in love with her anymore so she asked him through a text “Do you still love me?” The guy replied, “Of course I do” The girl was happy but each time they see each other, the guy would always ignore her. He would run off somewhere and start flirting with other girls. The girl was upset and went up to me crying over how sad she was. She took out her phone and asked the same question. He replied with the same answer, but this time she didn’t believe him. So she wanted me to ask him instead and when I did, he replied with the same answer again! I asked him why he was ignoring the girl but he said he wasn’t. He kept looking for her whenever she wasn’t around. I’m seriously confused, Shirelle. I don’t know how am I supposed to help my friend with her complicated love life. I really need to know what I can do to help these two.
Hi Pallas –
There’s a funny thing about humans. When they’re really little, of course, they don’t have a strong sense of right and wrong, or especially of fairness. But by the time they reach around five years old, they become obsessed with fair treatment. If you go to a playground, the kids from five till around eight will argue about rules, check rules, create new rules, and talk about what’s fair and what’s not all the time.
Then they grow up a bit more, and accept the rules that are out there more (or break them, but know they’re breaking them!). And then they start to date.
And suddenly, all the self-care they used to have, all the concern about whether or not they were being treated fairly, goes straight out the window!
Pallas, I have no idea if this guy is just playing mean games with your girlfriend, or he’s actually unaware of the pain he’s causing, or if he’s just an inept boyfriend. But whatever he’s doing, she’s allowing it! It’s as if I was at the dog park and a dog kept running up and biting me on the leg… would I ask other dogs why they think he’s biting me? Of course not! I’d either run away whenever he showed up, or, more likely, I’d bite him back!
This is actually a great opportunity for your friend to learn about standing up for herself. She’s feeling really bad because of what someone’s doing. And anything she does would be better than this. She could break up with him, she could yell at him, she could stop texting him, she could flirt with other boys right in front of him and let him see how he likes it, she could tell him that she’ll leave him if he doesn’t change his ways… ANY of these would be better than what she’s doing.
See, it’s that funny rule. If you don’t think you deserve really good treatment, those around you won’t treat you all that well. She has to realize that she truly does deserve to be treated better – whether it’s by him, or someone else.
Now with this couple, we’re talking about pretty simple, minor stuff. But what if this girl later finds herself with a boy who really cheats on her? Or hits her? Or is married to a man who hits her?! She needs to learn to stand up for herself. The sooner the better.
So what can you do, Pallas? Well, the first thing you could do is to tell her “Honey, I’ve been so concerned about you that I had to ask someone else for some help. And I’d like you to read what she said…” and then show her this letter.
But then, it’s really up to her. She has to want to change. Once she does, you can be the best friend in the world, by supporting whatever she does, and being there for her if things don’t go well (like if the guy proves himself a jerk by refusing to change and saying “okay, well then I guess you’re not my girlfriend anymore!”). But until she chooses to change things, all you can do is quietly encourage her.
People tend to change when they’re ready. If I were her, I’d be ready now! But maybe it’ll take her a bit more mistreatment to get there. Luckily and unluckily, he seems just the guy to give it to her!