It seems that she doesn't really take advice or do anything to change her situation.
Listening to her has really worn me out. Should I let her drift out of my life and no longer feel responsible?
A: I admire your patience and desire to be of support to your friend. It’s a blessing to have a friend like that.
However, giving advice is one of the most difficult (yet very common) things to do in a friendship.
As a friend, you want to help. As an advice giver you expect results. Misunderstanding can easily mushroom!
With the shoe on the other foot, we often find ourselves resentful from advice given too often (nagging) or advice that we interpret as judgmental (especially from a mr/ms “holier than thou!”)
As Christians, we seek to
“love our neighbor as our selves.” We want the best of them.
When we see them doing something damaging we want to help them change their ways. That's what friendship is all about.
Finding the best possible way is the challenge.
Your friend may act this way for many reasons.
She could be oblivious and have no desire to change.
She could want change but find her habits and circumstances too “fixed” to change.
She could have a borderline emotional/mental disorder that prevents her from changing even if she wanted to.
The first step is to discern her heart.
Gently remind her that she has been talking about a problem for years.
Ask her if she really wants help. (Many people complain simply as a matter of conversation, not a cry for help.)
Coaching her though a problem solving process instead of simply giving an answer might be helpful.
Finally, know your own limits. Your friend may need professional help. Helping her get help is a big help!
It’s hard to say what will work best and you may have already tried a lot.
Sometimes the most loving act is to know when you’ve done all you can, and for your health and well-being, when to pull back.
It’s a tough call, but it’s one only you can make.
Before giving up, I always try to refer people to someone who might help him or her better than I.
I also know that ultimately they have to make the change, I can’t change them.
May God be with you. You are in my prayers. This is a most important challenge.