When a friend falls on hard times, it can push their loved ones to walk on egg shells for awhile. A subtle, but palpable sense of guilt underpins any positivity felt by those friends and family.
A recent post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit demonstrated that dynamic in action.
The Original Poster (OP), known as Malibu921 on the site, shared the thrust of the conflict right in the post’s title.
“AITA for ‘bragging’ about how good my relationship was going?”
OP began by setting the stage.
“My [38-year-old] friend is in a deep relationship rut. They don’t really spend a lot of time together and physical affection is basically off the table.”
“I get WALLS of text from her complaining about it.”
Fortunately, not everyone is in the same, tough place.
“I am in a relationship that’s still fairly new (only 3 months in), but going super well, and this is huge for me because I’m super picky and I’ll bail within the first few weeks if there’s no vibe.”
“This is literally the first guy that I’ve actually called my boyfriend since high school. All I want is some time to sit there and just gush about it with my friends.”
OP opted to talk to her friend as a, well, friend.
“But when I did this with her this weekend, because boyfriend did something so stupidly adorable… I was met with ‘Okay, you don’t have to brag about it, that’s kind of a di*k move.’ “
“I said I’m not bragging, I’m just sharing something cute.”
But now OP’s been left turning it all over in her mind.
“Logically… I know this is just her sort of lashing out because of their rut… But now I’m like… I told other friends, maybe I didn’t need to tell her, knowing she’s going through something?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Once the responses began to flood in, OP realized she needed to include one pertinent piece of information.
“Edit: It was asked, so I want to clarify, no, I didn’t tell her about this right after her venting. It was a brand new day, start of a new convo.”
With all that in mind, a hefty majority of Redditors confirmed that OP was not the a**hole in this situation. People worded that assurance in various ways, however.
Many kept their feedback simple and straightforward.
“NTA So as long your love life is worst than hers, you are allowed to speak about it… she is a shi**y friend. You are happy, you don t have to apologize for this. Friendship ain’t competition.” — Daffodilzilla
“NTA If she’s allowed to complain about her relationship, you should have the opportunity to celebrate yours, especially if you’ve listened to your friends for years and now want the opportunity because you are in a happy relationship!” — Spotzie27
“NTA. Unless you wrote that immediately after her complaining about her relationship, I think it’s pretty normal to share nice episodes with your friends.”
“I can understand she’s not in her best period of time, but if she can’t be happy for you, I’m wondering what kind of friend she is….” — mau2891
“NTA. She sounds like a friend who wants you to be miserable with her.” — awkward-velociraptor
“NTA A real friend shares lows and highs. A real friend is happy for you. She wants you to join her in her rut until she gets out of it.” — CinderDroplet
One person even took the incident as a red flag.
“Well that’s not fair is it? I guess your just supposed to let her dump her crap on you, however you keep your happiness to yourself and be miserable with her. I won’t tell you she’s a bad friend and you need to get rid of her.”
“But I would gently let her know how you feel. And if she can’t be bothered to be happy for you in this great time in your life, there is no reason for you to sit and be miserable with her.”
“I had a friend that was ALWAYS calling about her problems. My mom said once, distance yourself from her, she is bad luck and it WILL rub off. I thought she was insane for saying this. Let’s just say I got out of that friendship in the nick of time.”
“Just something to think about. Definitely NTA” — Whoopty-E
Others, while they did fully support OP, offered some suggestions for the future.
“NTA but always good to assess what you say according to what people are going through” — ducksthefu**s
“NTA: but you should really know you audience. Don’t tell jobless people how great your job is. Don’t tell people on a diet how good your lunch is. And yes don’t tell a person in an unhappy relationship how great yours is” — OneMikeNation
“NTA – good friends share the good and bad in their lives. That said – there is a time and a place so if you shared this right following her telling you something negative about her relationship, that might change my judgement” — patioliving
“NTA but maybe don’t do that with this particular friend? My husband and I have a really, genuinely great and healthy relationship. A lot of my friends aren’t as lucky and I know they compare and can often feel bad – I’ve adjusted so I rarely talk about my relationship with them unless they ask or I have a reason/need to.”
“I talk about my husband normally, but unless asked directly I won’t randomly mention the cute things he does or the way we handled money or conflict or parenting, etc. I do have friends who are in similarly great relationships where we’ll text each other to share a cute thing our husbands did, but only people I know it won’t make them feel bad to hear.” — grequant_ohno
Fortunately, thanks to plenty of internet support, OP can feel permission to be proud and excited about her healthy romantic life.
But only she knows if she plans to make any changes while chatting with her struggling friend.