Is it OK to give dating or relationship advice to a friend without them asking for it? What if the dating pattern is abusive or harmful?
Let’s start this topic off by asking the question: Is it OK to put your two cents in with regards to your friend’s love life?
If they “do not” ask you for advice it may not be appreciated when you give your opinion about something personal they are dealing with. Depending on how long & well you know them will also contribute to the answer of this question.
What type of friendship do you have with them?
• Are the introverted & keep to themselves?
• Do they ever offer you any advice?
• Have you had personal talks in the past?
• Do they consider you one of their closest friends?
• Are they emotional, sensitive or confident?
Questions to ask yourself when listening to someone’s advice:
• Do you trust their sincerity?
• Are they jealous of you in any way?
• Do they flirt with your date/partner?
• Are they constantly talking behind your other friend’s backs?
• Do they truly have your best interest at heart?
• Are they in a happy relationship or looking for one?
• Are they constantly critical towards you or loving & caring?
If a friend does ask you for advice, how honest should you be? Do you tell your friend gossip you have heard about them or their new date? How would you feel if your best friend was dating a married man? What if you also knew his wife? Should morals play a part in what advice you give to a friend? Does that make you self righteous or a good friend?
If a friend is repeating a continual dating pattern and constantly complaining about it, people could start to get fed up and react with a more aggressive approach & less tactful opinions on the matter. Is this considered advice or criticism? They are very different, especially with how it is verbally delivered. Friendships can change drastically when someone criticizes without using diplomacy. Ridiculing someone’s choices needs to be avoided unless they are a known felon or danger to that friend. People want their friends approval not always negativity. Telling someone their boyfriend/girlfriend is unattractive, too short, flat-chested, not rich enough is not constructive advice, it is an unnecessary opinion.
Advice should be gentle and not accusing. If you see a pattern with a friend that is harmful, point out a few scenarios that you have noticed, maybe they do not know they are doing this and just need a little foresight. This scenario can happen in a long term relationship as well. Your friends may see something harmful or decietful between you & your partner, and want you to know because they care. In all honestly, wouldn’t you want to know?
Do you really want to find out that you are the last person to hear what people have been saying about you? Advice can be a good thing when it is handled with respect and good intentions. Don’t wait too long before something is said. Do it at the time you are aware of the situation. Letting it build could cause you to say it stronger than you initially intended because you are frustrated.
Be careful with your teens dating choices & your opinions on their choices. Kids will always rebel and if you keep saying negative things & they may do it even more just to get back at you. Try to let them make their own happiness/ mistakes unless there are abusive situations going on that you can see as a parent.
Advice should be limited with friends and family, as they have to make their own path in life. If you are constantly feeling the need to give advice to the same person, then maybe you need to surround yourself with other people and not constantly put yourself in the Ann Landers role. Do you want to be a counselor all the time? Be a friend but worry about your own choices in life first, not theirs. Being a good friend is also knowing when to back off and knowing when to be there to wipe their tears. A supportive friendship is a two way street and advice should always be reciprocated with warmth & love.
Susan McCord @ http://www.youtube.com/twobeavers