I’m a supportive guy. My girlfriend waits tables while she tries to become a successful actor. I know how long it takes to make a name for yourself, and how much time and dedication it takes. She’s fully committed and works very hard. But I don’t think she’s very good. I don’t ever see her getting cast in a commercial, let alone on a TV show, in a movie, or in a play that’s anywhere but an experimental theater in the back room of a bar. I go to all her performances, and honestly, some of them make me cringe. I love her very much and I hate to encourage her when she doesn’t seem to have what it takes to get to the top. Or even to the middle. I also don’t want to crush her and ruin her dreams, since she has wanted to act since she was a little girl. How can I tell her to find another career path without making her feel horrible and wrecking her dreams?
Don’t! That’s not your job.
I’m sorry for you that she’s not into something like needlepoint, which would involve little involvement on your part, or softball, which would mean you could eat hot dogs and have a beer while you watched. Sitting through a hideously bad play is one of the most three boring things in the entire world, the other two being 1.) a religious service or ceremony in someone else’s religion and 2.) any movie or TV show involving live animals that talk or wear clothing.
Your job as her supportive, loving, and kind boyfriend is to go to one performance of each crappy play, practice lines with her at home, and tell her what a great job she’s doing. You don’t have to lie about her acting abilities. You can say, “I really admire how hard you work,” or “You’re really well-prepared,” or “I like your hair!” If she asks if you think she’s ever going to make it, you can say, “I don’t know. It’s hard out there. But I sure hope you do.” This is true, right?
I often say things like, “When I’m famous, I’m going to hire someone to blow-dry my hair every day and buy that square yacht with a beach built into one side of it.” It totally might happen, but it probably won’t, and I’m okay with this. My husband doesn’t laugh uproariously, though, and yell, “FAT CHANCE!” every time I say stuff like this. Maybe your girlfriend knows her limits, too; maybe she’s just fine chugging along with you at her side.