Anonymous: How do I tell if my problems are actually bad enough to warrant any attention? I have a close friend who I tried to confide in because someone close to me was accused of sexual assault, but they made a big speech about their problems being worse because they are LGBTQ. They say that because I’m white and straight I have no right to complain. I don’t want to burden anyone with my issues, what do I do?
Although everyone has problems, your problems are bad enough for you, so of course they warrant attention from your loved ones. We all have problems and there will always be others that have more severe problems than us and there will always be a case of you having more severe problems than someone else.
And when it comes to this friend of yours, are they actually your friend? Wouldn’t a friend want to listen to your problems, help you figure out solutions and just be there for you. It seems this ‘friend’ wants you to be there for them but for them not to have to reciprocate being there for you.
And I do want to acknowledge that people of color and members of the LGBTQ community have problems, like we all do, but they have a second dose of problems because people will judge them and do judge them and choose to not be accepting of them and their truth because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation.
So, I do understand where your friend is coming from, but it could have been worded better or stated clearer. So, just to recap, everyone has problems, but people of color and members of the LGBTQ community have a second dose of problems that people who are non-people of color or heterosexual do not get to experience.
And that’s the thing, you aren’t a burden when you share your life and your experiences with your loved ones. And sharing what’s going on in your life is not complaining. Sometimes we have to talk things out with others to find solutions to our problems. Maybe your friend is too focused on his or her problems and comparing their life situation to others, such as yours, that he or she may be too blinded to be there for you.
And maybe they feel that you’re not there for them or aren’t able to empathize with them because your life has been and will be easier just based off the fact that you are White and heterosexual. But it still was and is not cool to negate the fact that you have problems, like everyone else, and that you would expect your loved ones to be an ear to listen or a shoulder for you to lean on.
So, I believe that maybe you both could communicate better and try to see the situation from each other’s point of view. But ultimately, having a friend who isn’t there for you will get old pretty quickly and you may want to re-evaluate this friendship.
But the same may be said for them, maybe you’re not there for them the way they need you to be and they may re-evaluate the friendship. Just try to communicate better with each other and remember that your experiences are valid and that you sharing your journey with others will not and never will be a burden.