Is it a bad thing to be the "therapist friend?"

Let's be real: No one really wants to be labeled as the therapist friend (ya know, when everyone drops their problems on you and expects you fix them). Totally unfair—especially when most of us would agree that one of the main points of friendship is to have fun together (which is kinda hard to do when your girls are constantly dishing about their problems).

You don't owe your besties anything here, right? Or is that actually true?

What is a "therapist friend?"


A therapist friend is someone who other people go to when they need emotional or mental support. This can come in the form of venting or asking for advice.

If you've been designated as the therapist friend, you probably know it already: People come to you when they need someone who'll listen to their problems and give them some guidance.

If this is a reciprocal dynamic and you can also trust your friends to give you the same empathy when you need it, then there's nothing wrong with being labeled as the therapist friend. It means that your friends trust you enough to confide in you, and they know you're wise enough to give them more solid advice than they'll find anywhere else. In this case, being the therapist friend is kind of a compliment.

We owe love and support to our friends


Some people will say that BFFs shouldn't talk to each other about the heavy stuff, because your friends don't owe you emotional support. But isn't that a pretty selfish way to approach friendships?

Of course, you should have fun with your besties, and hanging out with them should make you happy. But if you can't also go through the rough patches in life together, you're not true friends—just acquaintances.

But sometimes, boundaries need to be drawn


If your friends expect you to help them with their problems but aren't willing to do the same for you, that calls for a serious reset. Friendship is something that should be mutual—without anyone taking more than they give back. If you feel like your empathy is being taken advantage of, it's time to have a chat with your friends.

First, try to pivot the convo to something else. ("Ugh, so sorry about your sis causing that drama. Wanna go play mini golf to get your mind off it?")

If that doesn't work, you might need to take a more direct approach. ("You know I love you and am always here for you. But hearing about all this drama is taking an emotional toll on me—and I just don't always feel like I get the same support from you. Mind if we try to forget about it tonight and go grab pizza?") Your friend should pick up on the clues and put the complaining aside, at least for the time being.

If you talk things out with your girls and nothing changes, it might be time to reevaluate whether your friendships are totally healthy. You deserve the same support that you give to others, and there's no point in sticking around when someone doesn't treat you like an equal. You can always leave the door open for an apology, but don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. Life is too short to let people get away with using you.

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Top image: @momonatamada
Slider image: @avantika


by Hana Tilksew | 4/28/2024