Dear Lulu Jeh: A lot of my friends come to me with their relationship problems. It would be fine except for the fact that they don’t seem to listen when I give them advice. I’m getting tired of it. There is also the added emotional burden of feeling like I have to tread carefully when I criticize their spouses, because more often than not they make up soon after a fight. I have my own problems to deal with, and don’t have time to take on everyone else’s. How do I stop this? — Not Everyone’s Love Doctor
Dear NELD: I get a lot of questions as an agony aunt, but I guess you have the added problem of having to listen to how the other side reacts — and there’s nothing worse than “ask-holes” (people who ask for advice but just do the opposite to what you tell them to).
Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do in this situation other than walking away, or keeping interactions with these people to a minimum. Listening to people’s problems and trying to come up with solutions for them, when you are not a trained professional or getting paid for it, can be extremely draining.
Don’t snap at them — that won’t really help anyone. Just tell them you’re sorry to hear about what they’re going through. Sometimes, maybe all your friends want is for someone to lend a listening ear. You don’t necessarily have to be their Oprah — just be there, and be a shoulder to cry on.
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