My Favorite Mistake: Jeff Probst

Newsweek, September 10, 2012 | Go to article overview

My Favorite Mistake: Jeff Probst


Byline: Jeff Probst

On becoming a relationship guru.

One of my best friends had been in a bad relationship for nearly a decade. He and his girlfriend would show up somewhere, and you'd do the polite thing, which was "So good to see you!" But the minute they left, everyone around them would say, "Man, I can't believe they're still together." The mistake I made later was crossing the line you're never supposed to cross with a friend.

Their relationship started in deceit and was clouded in deceit, and his self-esteem was being eroded by a woman who didn't trust him. To be clear, he brought this all on himself. Week after week, I would listen as he shared the latest saga of her checking his texts or sneaking onto his email. He would always say, "I'm going to break up with her." And I would get excited hoping that this romantic entanglement would end and they'd both be better off. It never happened.

But I continued to listen, because as a friend you lend a compassionate and understanding ear, even when on the inside you're screaming, get out! One day he called to tell me about the latest situation. While they were out, his phone rang, and he didn't answer. She had asked why, and he said, "Because we're having dinner." She said, "Doubt it. It's probably some other woman." In the next moment, I did something you're not supposed to do. I blurted out, "I just don't care anymore. I think she's bad for you. I think you're bad for her. It's toxic. You guys don't belong together." I couldn't stop it, but I knew--now I'd done it. I'd crossed that line. If they did weather the storm and marry and have children, I'd always be the guy who threw in the towel long before they did.

For a moment, I thought I should apologize. …

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