How To Tell Your Friend Her Boyfriend Is A Douche

It seems like I have so many friends right now who have other friends who have boyfriends that are complete douche canoes. Some of these guys keep promising marriage proposals and then putting them off until the next year, or until they graduate from underwater basket weaving school, or until their brothers/sisters get married first, or until Jesus comes back (because Heaven is really the best place to have a wedding). Other guys berate and turn otherwise strong intelligent women into weeping masses of “He didn’t mean it.” and “I know he loves me despite that fact he just called me a stupid cow.” Others are just controlling, manipulative, charming, smooth talkers who can finesse their way out of any lie and make their girlfriends apologize for catching them lying. What has happened to these women? These beautiful, wise, witty, brave, compassionate, brilliant women who we became friends with years ago because they were so unarguably fabulous? Where are our friends of yesteryear? I don’t know. I truly don’t. But I can’t tell you how much I wish I did.

I know we as the friends are getting more and more tired of the drama and tears. We all want to be good friends but their tumultuous relationships are emotionally draining to us as well. We are exhausted from giving really quality advice and then having it ignored and then the same problem happening over and over again. We are heartbroken and frustrated to see these formerly amazing women reduced to being someone’s pathetic girlfriend. And they are pathetic- and that kills me to say. Why aren’t they listening? What can they possibly be gaining from this toxic relationship?

I also know that we must absolutely stick by them through this. Even if we are throughly sick of it. If we are their friends, their best friends, we have to be there for them no matter what as long as they let us. No matter how much we loathe their boyfriends very existence and want to take a time machine back to the day of his conception and make sure his Mother remembers to take her birth control- we have to support her. Even though I’m sure we would feel a lot better if we could just take a sledgehammer to his crotch, we have to refrain (and if you do end up doing that please don’t say you got the idea from me). We don’t have to keep our mouths shut though. We just have to be delicate about the way we approach the subject of her boyfriend being a douche. Although, we probably shouldn’t call him a douche in front of her. We can, however, mention the changes we have seen in her and the way we worry because she doesn’t seem as happy as she did before. These are valid feelings. She needs to know we have them. We shouldn’t feel like we have a gag order on us just because she is dating an awful person. We also shouldn’t let our friend treat us poorly just because she gets treated poorly. If she isn’t there for you when you need her, or she forgets plans you made, or she hasn’t called you in ages because she is so wrapped up  in the soap opera that is her love life, then she isn’t being a good friend to you. You have to call her out on it. Nicely. In a calm way that doesn’t immediately put her on the defense. And she might hate you. And she might not want to be friends anymore, and she might turn the entire thing around on you and make it all your fault. She might do those things and that sucks. Actually, she probably will do all those things and again, that sucks.

I also think it’s important to (delicately) let her know how you feel because she is an adult and no matter how much we want to blame him for who she has become, it wouldn’t be fair because she has always had a choice. She chose to let him treat her that way, and she chose to wait around for him to change and while they may be poor choices, we can’t ignore the fact that they were choices nonetheless. It’s his fault he is a douche but it’s her fault for letting a douche in her life. It’s not an accusation or condemnation (seriously, we have all made bad choices before) it’s just an acknowledgment. She needs to acknowledge her boyfriends (or hopefully ex-boyfriends) douchebaggery and she needs to acknowledge that she tolerated that douchebaggery.

And maybe this is all terrible advice but I just couldn’t/can’t not say something when I see this happening to a friend. Realize, please, that if you take this advice there is a chance that she may hate you for a while or forever. Don’t say anything if you don’t want to take that chance- but it’s going to be hard not to say anything. This is a very precarious place to be in a friendship and what happens next will show you how close you truly are. I just have to say something, I tell my friends who are asking my advice on this to say something, but I don’t know if that’s the perfect answer for you and your friend. You know, you know what’s right for you and your friendship. I just wrote about this today because it seems to be a very prevalent topic of conversation amongst my friends and I these days. The moral of this post is if your friend is in a relationship with a douche then tell her that, nicely and also maybe don’t say douche (even though he is one).

Thursdays with Grammy

When I was little, I took piano lessons. For three years I dutifully spent half an hour every week at a lesson with one of the best pianists in my city. I also spent countless hours attempting to perfect what I learned in my lessons. I got pretty good for a ten year old, not a prodigy, definitely not a prodigy, but I did display a certain amount of talent. So, I quit. I totally rocked every recital I ever had, but I didn’t love it. I mean, I loved (LOVED) the attention and the compliments but I didn’t love the music. So, I quit. I knew it broke my Grammy’s  heart, after all she had spent many of my practice hours with me, pushing me, urging me to be a perfect pianist. My Grammy has played the piano for most of her life and she plays beautifully- she has always loved the music. When I quit she didn’t fuss at me or tell me I was making a mistake, she just accepted it and we moved on.

I discovered a complete and undying love for music when I was in University. I mean, I had always enjoyed music, but something in my mind or attitude shifted after I had matured a little bit. University was the first time I remember feeling emotionally connected to music, not all music (no offense but death metal doesn’t really do it for me), but many different types of music all of the sudden hit the heart of me. And I LOVED it. Unfortunately with my new love came regret. I deeply regretted quitting my piano lessons- and I have continued regretting it for the last six years. Despite the fact that I now had an intense desire to learn, I felt that piano lessons were out of the question- I convinced myself they were too expensive but the truth was I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to be the weird old girl taking elementary level piano lessons. Then, it hit me, my Grammy had given piano lessons all the time when my Mom was growing up and she had been the one to practice with me all those years ago. So, I asked her if she would give me refresher lessons (…for free…) and she agreed (because she is awesome).

Every Thursdays from now until I play better than Mozart, I will be taking lessons from my Grammy. Not half-hour lessons either- more along the lines of an hour and a half. Today was my first lesson and I actually surprised myself, I remembered quite a bit more than I had expected. In fact, it should only be a couple of weeks before I am playing at my former level, which, is not particularly impressive, but at least I’m not starting from scratch. An hour and a half is a long lesson but I enjoyed every second of it today. I even played a duet with my Grammy that sounded pretty terrific. Also, the memories I’m making with my Grammy are pretty extraordinary. So, no more regrets about quitting when I was ten- in fact, I think now is the perfect time for me to be re-learning and then pushing past that and learning more. I love the music, I love to practice, and I love love love my Grammy.