Your Friends Don't Make Good Therapists


depression call friendsWe've all been there. Whether due to a particularly bad break-up, a death in the family, or just a general feeling of malaise: You're in a funk and it's incredibly difficult to shake the feeling of sadness no matter how many scoops of ice cream you consume. Usually it's a great idea to get out with your friends and have a little talk therapy.

While it's true that there are some things that a night out with friends can cure, other times it's deeper than that. Of course when you're in the middle of it, it can be difficult to figure out if it's time to hit the couch, or head out for ladies night.

Here are four signs that you need to head to a therapist, and let your friends go back to their day jobs.

1. You Don't Think Anyone Can Help You

If your mood leans more to hopelessness, and less to circumstantial sadness, you need help. If this goes on for two weeks or more, you need to pick up the phone to the therapist -- immediately.

2. You've Told Your Friends the Same Story More Than Twice

Sometimes just getting everything off your chest is the perfect antidote. But if you find yourself repeating the story of how horrible your ex is over and over, it's time to stop looking to your friends. A therapist can help you when you feel like no one can, a friend will just be overburdened by your never ending complaints.

3. No Matter What She Says, You Can't Take Your BFFs Advice

Another sign that it's time to go pro is if you keep rejecting your friend's advice. Especially if her advice is, "Go see a therapist." Being closed down to help is a huge sign that you really, really, need it.

4. Your Friends Aren't Returning Your Calls

If you can't seem to get your go-to friends on the phone anymore (or if you start calling mere acquaintances to tell them how upset you are by losing your job), you may have exhausted your friend's ears. Everyone has their limits, and you need to respect those limits or risk losing a friendship. The next call you make should be to a therapist, not the lady you met in line at the 7-11.


Image via Ron Bennetts/Flickr

emotional health, mental health, relationships


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Pooob... Pooobaihr

Those same things can happen with a therapist.  I'd rather get my bad advice for free than to go and get bad advice from someone i gotta pay.

ameri... americansugar80

i have a friend that talks about how her boyfriend treats her with so much disrespect. if there is good days then fine, i would love to hear about them too but jeez louise, DO SOMETHING about the jerk since you made him out to be such a bad person. i agree...i can only handle to give out so much advice before you say "there's nothing i can do about it".YES THERE IS!

I would like to talk about me and her but for some reason its her and her boyfriend problems.

nonmember avatar Marla

After telling your deepest, darkest secrets, are you absolutely certain your friend won't gossip or start avoiding you? And if you're just using a friend as a therapist because it's free--don't forget, you get what you pay for. Your friend can only give advice from their experience as opposed to sound advice a professional can provide based on years of training. Isn't it better to have a few therapy sessions and solve a problem instead of letting it nag away at you for years? Being cheap doesn't always pay off!

jessi... jessicasmom1

haha well said , I do not confide in my friends.

Marga... Margaret3000

I am in this relationship with my friend where I am therapist. I hate it there is no balance to the relationship but I am torn because she has lost just about everyone else in her life. It is frustrating but I am slowly distancing myself.

Emera... EmeraldSwan


Tell your friend your boundaries. You can say things like "You know I love ya. All our time together is taken up with talking about him. What happened to our time together?"  It's important to tell your friend up front how you feel. It's worse when you slowly lose connection to the point where your friendship doesn't  exist at all,wheras if you'd told her up front, there may be things to work through, but a friendship could be saved. 

Being a friend means knowing life isn't always pretty, it's not manufactured  and shipped to you perfectly processed and sealed tight, it's more than an ad on tv, it's more than a perfectly scripted movie. On the other hand, some people need to stop manufacturing drama.  If you're someone's friend, you need to know what you're going to say, isn't going to end up as gossip fodder.  


Roles once fulfilled by people who formed our network of support in our community, our friends and family, have had their roles farmed out to therapists, who hear our most vulnerable moments, and we pay them to listen to have a safe, expert opinion on our lives, because people are neither willing or competent enough to, evidently   Friends need to be loyal to each other, build trust and intimacy so that when it's our turn to go down that rabbit hole -- and it will happen-- they're there for us, too. 


count... countrymama6608

Technically a therapist isn't supposed to give you advice but to talk about the issue and help the patient realize what is wrong and how to fix it. I know I'm a psychology student. Although there are many different types of assesments and treatments you have to find the right therapist or it just won't work. 

As for those friends who confide in you but aren't there for you when you need them even the best people end up like that at times. Set your boundaries and let your friends know these boundaries ahead of time so there is no miscommunication. I would suggest if your to the limit of hearing about their issues especially if all they ever do is repeat one over and over change the subject. one can say I understand that is still bothering you but lets not talk about it for a change and get your mind off of it for a bit. thus they feel like they are being helped while your also helping yourself. after all instead of dwelling on something changing thoughts is one of the first ways to help relieve the stress. 

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