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'My words of wisdom fall on deaf ears': The friendship 'loop' Shelly wants out of

By Shelly Horton|

I feel like I'm in a never-ending advice loop C my friends ask for my guidance and wisdom, but then they forget to press "apply".

It makes me furious. My friendships are incredibly important to me.?I'm known as the one who hands out tough love, but also the fiercest and most loyal in the group.?

So, what should I do when my friends seem to have a case of "advice amnesia"??

You know the drill: they come to you seeking guidance, you pour your heart into offering solutions, and they nod along enthusiastically, promising to follow your advice.?

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Shelly Horton
"My friends ask for my guidance and wisdom, but then they forget to press 'apply'." (Instagram/Shelly Horton)

And yet, time and time again, they seem to forget that magical step of actually implementing it. It's enough to make you question the limits of sanity and wonder if you're caught in an infinite loop of advice-giving and advice-forgetting.

Take my friend Emily*, for instance. She's a workaholic and constantly stressed to the point of tears.?She asked my advice on finding work-life balance.

"I've played the role of amateur couples' therapist more times than I can count."?

I spent hours crafting a master plan, filled with self-care routines, boundaries, and time management strategies. She soaked it all up like a sponge, swearing she would make changes.?

Fast forward a month, and I found her buried under a mountain of work, bleary-eyed and exhausted after taking on two new clients.?

When I gently reminded her of our conversation, she looked at me, bewildered, as if it had never happened. It was like Groundhog Day, but without the comedy or the catchy soundtrack.

Two women talking
"I'm known as the one who hands out tough love, but also the fiercest and most loyal in the group." (iStock)

Psychologists might say Emily's case falls under the "analysis paralysis" category. She was inundated with so much advice, she couldn't decide which path to take. It's as if her brain turned into a labyrinth, endlessly wandering in search of the perfect solution.?

Or perhaps it was a fear of change that held her back. Implementing my suggestions would have required her to step outside her comfort zone, and as we all know, comfort zones can be as cosy as your dad's old jumper.

Then there's my friend Sam*, who constantly seeks my input on her relationship woes. I've played the role of amateur couples' therapist more times than I can count.

We've analysed every text message, dissected every argument, and devised foolproof strategies for effective communication.?

But my words of wisdom fall on deaf ears. Not only does she refuse to leave the douche canoe, she continues to repeat the same patterns.?For years.?Yes, years.

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I'm so frustrated.??

Psychologists call Sarah's behaviour "validation-seeking." Deep down, she already knows what needs to be done, but she craves external confirmation. Or she wants him to magically "change", which we all know won't happen.

So, she's on a journey of seeking advice, hoping to hear the magic words that align with her desires. And when she doesn't hear them, it's as if our conversations evaporate into thin air, leaving me with a bewildered expression and an unused arsenal of relationship wisdom.??

I'm an unfulfilled Dr Phil.

So, where does this leave us? Can the never-ending advice loop be a friendship breaker??

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Shelly Horton
"I'm an unfulfilled Dr Phil." (Instagram)

Sometimes it feels like it.?I feel like I pour so much into these long conversations, and rather than building on a mutual journey of discovery I feel like my friends can be energy vampires, sucking me dry.

As frustrating as it may be, I try to remember everyone has their own journey, and change takes time.

Instead of feeling exasperated, I embrace the humour in the situation.?I share a light-hearted anecdote about advice amnesia, and let them know I genuinely want to support them.?

Who knows C maybe they'll have a moment of self-awareness and break free from the loop, or maybe we'll both share a good laugh and continue down this yellow brick road of advice-giving and advice-forgetting.

*This is obviously none of my real friends because they are perfect and I certainly have no problems of my own.

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