Where is the line between supporting a friend’s viewpoint through thick and thin, and telling the hard truth to protect their best interests?
A recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit offered one possible answer.
The Original Poster (OP), known as lovesubecake on the site, titled the post with a question for readers:
“AITA for giving my friend a reality check instead of an optimistic pep talk about the girl he likes?”
OP began by describing a well-worn friend dynamic.
“My [29-year-old male] friend Danny [32-year-old male] has hung around our friend Gwen [30-year-old female] for almost 10 years.”
“Sadly for him, Gwen always turns him down when he makes a move.”
“Danny does date other girls when Gwen is in a relationship or is dating a guy, but the moment she is free he immediately goes back to her.”
OP has even pushed to be sure he has all the variables right.
“I’ve talked to Gwen before and asked her what she thinks about Danny since he obviously carries a torch for her, and she told me that he is not attracted to him physically nor does she like his ‘sad boi’ personality.”
“Gwen even told me that her dad likes Danny for her because he is kind and financially stable, but Gwen told her dad that even though she knows she will have a comfortable life with Danny, she just doesn’t have any feelings for him.”
Recently, the cycle was initiated.
“Gwen recently broke up with her ex and as usual Danny is energized and thinks this is his chance.”
“He has been messaging her a lot and asked me for help with calligraphy to make a card to go with the flowers he wants to send her.”
“I told him to slow down because it’s just been a month since the breakup and we know Gwen it took it hard (she is on therapy) so maybe this is not the best time to try to woo her.”
But old habits die hard.
“Danny was insistent and thinks that if she’s there for Gwen on her lowest, she will realize that he is the one who has never left her side.”
“I told Danny ‘But Dude, you haven’t left her side for 10 years. If she was going to have feelings for you don’t you think it would have happened already?.’ “
OP went even further than that.
“I told him that honestly I think he should really find someone who likes him for who he is, instead of waiting for Gwen who has made it clear that she doesn’t want anything romantic from him by turning him down multiple times in 10 years, and who is currently not emotionally available anyway.”
For Danny, that was a lot to hear.
“Danny got angry and said that he thought I would be more supportive, and that as his friend I should be building him up instead of tearing him down. He hasn’t spoken to me since then. AITA?”
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
Most Redditors assured OP they hadn’t been an a**hole.
“NTA. You did the right thing. Danny should have moved on years ago. This reeks of ‘nice guy’ energy. Also, he shouldn’t be using other women as distractions while Gwen is dating someone.”
“I would give Gwen a heads up about the card and flowers. She’s in therapy. She doesn’t need this right now. Maybe it’s time you both evaluated your friendship with Danny.” — ConfusionExact7663
“Nah dude you were being supportive. People think that being supportive means going on with what they want even if it’s bad for them. Being supportive is being honest.”
“You said positive things and he didn’t like hearing she isn’t for you. You shouldn’t be supportive of his creepiness either. That is being an enabler, not a supportive friend.”
“Being a real friend isn’t always telling people what they want to hear. NTA” — Keepmovinbee
“NTA Someone had to tell him to stop mooning over someone who has shown zero interest in ten years. Sadly, if he wants to waste his life pining for someone who had no feelings for him, it’s his life to waste.”
“You tried to lay it out for him but he won’t listen. Flowers and a card will change a darn thing.” — highwoodshady
Others qualified Danny’s behavior as needing more than a reality check.
“NTA. The lady has said no, and no repeatedly. Your friend needed the reality check and needs to back off. In my opinion, Carrying a torch for someone in this manner isn’t romantic, it’s borderline obsessive” — W4rd3n21
“NTA this dude is the ‘nice guy stalker’ that watched his target from afar, won’t take no for an answer, stalks her social media, harasses her with ‘hangout invites’ when she’s vulnerable and forces all kinds of unwanted ‘romantic/invasive’ displays on her.”
“Bro, let reality hit him hard. Talk with Gwen, warn her and tell her you have her back. Then just let it happen, because she’s gonna hit her breaking point and snap soon. If she flips out on him this time he deserves it.” — spitefulsundew
“NTA. The thing that almost makes you an ah is the fact it’s been 10 years and no one has said anything to Danny prior. He’s acting like a predator and it’s creepy. He should’ve been called on it hears ago, no means no. He needs to back the F off man” — chipperhipper
One person even shared their own relevant, personal story.
“When I was younger, I had a male friend who liked me. I knew he liked me but had made it clear I was not interested in dating him, multiple times.”
“And then one day, a mutual friend came up to me and told me I needed to stay away from him. At first I thought she was just being a protective jerk, but then she was like, ‘No, girl. He’s obsessed with you. Stay away from him.’ ”
“She was younger than me so I thought she was being silly.”
“I later found out that he had drawings he’d made of me and pictures of our Facebook messages printed out and hung around his room.”
“Be that girl for your friend, dude. I know you’re a man. But it’s time to be. that. girl.” — welliwasemily