You Shouldn’t Say ‘I’ll Be There For You’ Unless You Mean It

Tanja Heffner

When you tell someone that you will always be there for them, it’s a big promise. A promise that is so easily thrown around. A promise that can really mean something to someone even if it’s means nothing to you. When you tell someone, you’re either telling them because you want to feel like a good person or because you actually are a good person.

So what made you say it? Were they opening up about all the stressful things in their life and you wanted to help? Did they just tell you they have depression, anxiety or any other mental illness and needed you for support? Did they just tell you they need someone to talk to?

Whatever it was that made you feel the need to say it, just know that you didn’t have to. Any person who’s ever been lied to in a case like this will tell you they would’ve rather you just didn’t say it in the first place instead of giving them false hope. Because that is what this is, false hope. And the problem with giving someone false hope is that you never really know when it’s their last hope.

It’s okay to be busy.

This isn’t an article to say that you always have to be there. It is that you have to try to be. Speaking as someone who has been through this personally I will tell you that you being busy is not the issue. Its when you’re not busy and still choose to ignore. Maybe you can’t handle it, maybe you don’t know what to say. Fine. But saying anything is better than nothing. Because the worst thing you can do is ignore the person you said you would help when they needed you. It’s okay to be sleeping and not see your phone go off. It’s okay to have a life and have other things going on. The problem comes when you’re awake and see the message but choose to ignore it for selfish reasons. Maybe it’s because you’re with your friends and you’re having a good time and don’t want to be brought down by something “depressing”. Maybe it’s because you have plans to get drunk or high instead.

Whatever lame excuse it was, you are not the person who should be saying they are reliable in someone else’s time of need. Because if afterwards you start getting mad and calling them clingy or crazy. Insulting someone in their time of need after you told them you would help them, doesn’t make them crazy. Don’t get mad at someone for believing what you told them. For believing in you. For believing you’re a good person. Don’t be mad because you couldn’t stick to the words you said.

This isn’t for the people who ignore messages like this because they need time to think, or because they’re dealing with their own issues. This is for the people who never even answer. Leaving someone with no answer at all leaves them to make up their own answer. And it’s not always an optimistic view.

And just think, what if you weren’t the first person they called? If you’re thinking they can call “just call someone else” instead of you, think to yourself, what if they tried them first? What if you were their last person to call because everyone else hasn’t answered? You have no idea what they’re going through.

And maybe you didn’t mean it when you said you would always be there for them, or that they could call you if they needed you. But I promise you that they meant it when they reached out to you. I promise you that they needed you then. Nobody said you had to be there for someone if you can’t handle the responsibility of coming through for them. Saying you’ll be there for someone isn’t a pickup line so stop using it as if it’s as meaningless as one. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Just your average 20-something amateur writer and professional overthinker.

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