Will you babysit your self-destructive friends?

@maezee (31558)
United States
July 5, 2009 10:48pm CST
This probably sounds like a weird question. But it's true. I have a couple of friends who are totally in a self-destructive rut, and have been for the past 4 or 5 years now - and by self-destructive, I mean the whole deal: drinking, drugs, getting fired from jobs, stealing, and so on - and these are friends that I've known for YEARS and YEARS. But I honestly can't stand to babysit them for any longer. We're all adults now, and I just feel like I need to drop some of the baggage - and that includes those that bring unnecessary drama and complication in my life. Is it wrong of me to want to drop "friends" that only call you when they're in trouble? Is it wrong of me to be so insensitive about these things? I honestly miss their friendship (back when they were clean/sober), but I honestly don't want to wait around for them to change. I feel like they have the ability to STOP being so self-destructive. I know some good friends would probably encourage them to start being more responsible and in-control of their lives, but I don't know if I can really be that person. I think the only people who can take responsibility for them is themselves. I don't know if this makes any sense, but I'm upset about it. I want to hang out with my friends, and have fun with my friends, and be there for them - but I just don't know if I can continue to babysit my friends who insist on leading such self-destructive lives. What do you think? Have you been in a similar situation? What would you do?
2 people like this
7 responses
@PeacefulWmn9 (10424)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Hi Maezee. No, it is absolutely not wrong of you to eliminate what I call toxic relationships from your life. People with addictions and self-destructive habits only get help and get clean when and if they are truly ready to, and it takes a lot of work and effort on their part. In the meantime, they have a tendancy to hurt everyone around them. Again, never feel bad about seeing to your own well-being, even if it means dropping negative people you care about from your life. This is your on go-round on earth, after all. Karen
1 person likes this
@maezee (31558)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Thanks for giving me such a great answer. In a way I feel selfish about it, but I really just don't know how much more I can take without going insane. Thanks again for responding to such a long and boring/complicated discussion.
• United States
6 Jul 09
You're welcome, but there was nothing boring at all about it. It is something many of us wrestle with at some point. :)
• United States
7 Jul 09
Hi, my name is Jason and I hope I can help you. First of all, you should not feel as though you are a bad friend for feeling the way you do. I've dealt with similar situation a few different times in my life. What I have found is, in the end only they can decide they need help. I would confront them about it once. I would be as honest as possible telling them how you miss their friendship and worry for their health. If you've already done this you've already done all you can. I hope this was helpful as I feel strongly that if you continue to babysit them they may never get the help they need and it will drain you emotionally which is unhealthy.
@FFFrocks (306)
• Canada
7 Jul 09
Hi there. Friendship is a two way street. You can't keep trying to maintain a friendship if you are the only one putting any effort into it. It sounds like they are bringing negativity into your life and using you. No one deserves that maezee! You said that you are being insensitve about these things but that isn't true at all if they have been going down this path for the last 4 - 5 years! You HAVE been there for them and for quite a while too. There is nothing wrong or shameful about cutting them out of your life. And cutting them out now doesn't mean forever. If they change and clean themselves up there is always the possibility of renewing friendships. You might be surprised at how much less stress you have in your life if you do. Follow your heart!
@rsa101 (13336)
• Philippines
7 Jul 09
Oh I think if they are not doing any good with you and they seem to be abusing your friendship, it might be better to let go of their friendship already. I think that is already not considered friendship if they continue the things that you despise them. But to be courteous enough you might try to inform them why you are abandoning them for them as a wake up call for them to reform themselves.
@pickoy (734)
• Philippines
6 Jul 09
Oh its perfectly fine. You owe your happiness to yourself and if it really affects your mood its okay to keep your distance for a while. It's not your responsibility to change them, its their own. It's really hard to get along with people with crazy habits like that, it upsets me too that instead of having a good day I'm stuck with people who always whine about their current situation but are not willing to change it. That's alright maezee...
@jesssp (2742)
• Canada
6 Jul 09
I know it makes you feel guilty to cut people out of your life but sometimes it is necessary. Unless these people are actually to the point of needing an intervention there is really little you can do to help them and it isn't fair to expel so much of your energy trying. It sounds more like they have just adopted a lifestyle and aren't interested in changing it. If that's the case then it isn't fair for them to be trying to drag you down with them and using you. I would talk to them one last time, try to get your point across, and if that doesn't work then just stop answering the phone. You're 100% right, you shouldn't have to babysit adults.
• United States
6 Jul 09
I had to give up my bad friends. I was just sick of being judged by their actions, and their own personal problems were spilling into my life. I miss my friends sometimes but I feel like now I am able to focus on new things. My relationship is better, I have new friends with similar interests, and I'm pursuing the things I'm passionate about not worrying about them.