Her current boyfriend not only made it clear that he is “not in love with her,” but also has a ton of baggage that would’ve rendered him undatable by someone like me. Yeah, you can guess: he had baby mama drama, low ambition, etc. In any case, since this was her fourth serious relationship, since she was super ready to settle down and since my advice didn’t really seem to have helped previously, I decided to just take on the role of being a good listener without judgement. I was good for a couple of years. But then she decided to really press me for feedback instead of being satisfied with an attentive ear. So I told her what I’ve been thinking and what I thought she already knew: she was too good for him.
Well, it didn’t go over too well. She got a little defensive and she seemed to distance herself immediately after that conversation. But honestly, I can’t blame her too much. Although I felt justified since she persisted in asking for my insight, I now understand that there’s a lot more to the relationship that I know. When she responded to my advice, she did bring up all the great qualities about him that I never heard about him. Like most people, she vented about the negative aspects of the relationship but didn’t communicate much about the positives. Even though I heard her out and tried to digest his positive attributes, I still knew deep down that he wasn’t good enough for her. But at the end of the day, that was my opinion and not an opinion meant to direct or mold her life. There is a fine line with friends and their relationships. You don’t want to be the girl who is later blamed for the end of a marriage because you encouraged a friend’s negative thinking about a situation. You want to be the friend who is understanding and who can offer support from time to time (although you want to make sure you don’t become an enabler).
I myself have learned that it’s better to share details of your relationship with few people. Even one of my best friend’s is not privy to details of my romantic life. Basically, I don’t trust her in that aspect. In the past, she would jump on any complaints I had about my boyfriend and escalate my emotions instead of quelling my fears. But I do know that her intent is not malicious; she just doesn’t have the capacity to offer a balanced perspective. And I’m fine with that.
In order to get to this point, I had to experience just how my own opinions could influence someone else’s life. Dealing with friends is a delicate matter, and we may only realize it later when we can look at those we’ve known for so many years and understand our role in their growth or their hindrance.
What is your policy on intervening in your friends’ relationships, and how has that played out in your friendships?
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