Next time your friend comes to you looking for advice, or you feel the need to share your opinion on their relationship, I want you to consider a few things:
Your past experiences/current relationship is biased.
We’re all so smug about imparting our wisdom on our friends and giving them our valuable advice on their relationships by drawing from what works on our own. We all do it, especially the ones in our perfect little relationships. News flash, just because it works in your relationship doesn’t mean it’s going to work in theirs. Also, who said your relationship was so fantastic anyway? What about that time when you guys had a 2-hour argument about how to pronounce Holborn? What makes your relationship the standard everyone should be working to?
Another instance is when you draw on past relationships, or people you used to date. Your friend’s new partner could remind you of your ex, so you feel the need to treat them exactly the same and give them advice based on how you’ll deal with your ex. This may work most of the time, but in some cases, it doesn’t. Everyone is different, just because your ex was a bastard doesn’t mean your friend’s other-half is a bastard. Human beings love to stereotype, so you’ll find yourself looking for similarities to support your opinion and ignoring the differences. When this happens this can lead to your advice becoming inaccurate.
The information you get from said friend is probably just the negative stuff.
Think about it. We never go running to our friends to share with them all the amazing things that our partner has done. (If you do, stop it. You’re literally just boasting and your friends secretly hate you for it.) The long deep chats on our relationships we have with our friends only tend to be negative ones, as we only share the bad things. So basically it means that our friends get a really negative picture of our partners. They may say things like “dump him he forgot your anniversary” not knowing that the same person did 1000 other romantic gestures that you never told your friend about.
You look at the situation far too logically.
A friend of mine’s partner sounds like a complete waste of space to me. He’s unemployed and has 8 kids from 7 different women, and all of the women hate him. Every time I talk to him I have to resist the strong desire to punch him. So my knee jerk reaction is to tell my friend to get rid of him and that she can do so much better.However, I don’t factor in the emotional support he probably gives my friend. He makes her happy and she might not need an ambitious career man that I would want for her to have. Though he might not be the perfect guy on paper, Far far from it, he provides her with the emotional things she needs.
However, I don’t factor in the emotional support he probably gives my friend. He makes her happy and she might not need an ambitious career man that I would want for her to have. Though he might not be the perfect guy on paper, far far from it, he provides her with the emotional things she needs.
They might not be ready to listen.
Simply put, when you’re in a relationship you don’t really think straight. There’s too much emotion there, which clouds the way you look at things. My friend may wake up one day and realise that her partner is no good for her, but at the moment she can’t see it. Even if I explicitly told her, she would be too clouded by love to agree with me, and ultimately will probably damage our friendship rather than end her relationship. If they aren’t ready to hear what you’re saying then there is no point in telling them.
I’m not saying don’t ever advise your friends, or that your advice is always wrong. All I want you to do is make sure you’re really considering what is right for your friend the next time you weigh in on their relationship.
What do you think? I would be interested to hear your views so leave your comments below.