Life’s journey is partly what we make it and partly what is made by outside world which includes the friends that we have. We all have an assortment of friends; each and every one of them is different and the friendship ties vary.
This brings us to a significant issue about how the friends that we keep can have a negative or positive impact on our love-lives. Relationship matters are personal and we usually choose to share our relationship episodes with our closest friends. This is specific to Eves and it would not be unusual to be sitting next to a group of friends in a coffeehouse or bar, with Eves narrating what Adam did or failed to do, what he said and/or the way he said it, followed by utterances of‘can you imagine?!’ and with the rest of the bevy making loud exclamations in disbelief. This will inevitably be followed by a lot of bashing and if Adam was to be pricked by a pin every time he was cursed in the conversation, he would be one sore person in a period of half an hour! ;). Of course these sittings are not all about bad news and drama in the relationships; sometimes Eves are sharing good news – may be Adam took her out for dinner or pleasantly surprised her on her birthday. It’s not all bad you know ;).
It is human to share with friends not only to get some advice, but also just to get it off our chests and sometimes we want our friends to affirm our feelings or decisions. Sometimes we just want someone to listen and not necessarily to give us an opinion or advice (yeah, Eves are like that ;)).
This has got me thinking about the kind of friends we should be or we would like to have especially when these dilemmas rear their heads.
Something I have learnt along the path of life is that relationships are very subjective. What may seem black and white to you as a friend may not be all so clear to the Eve or Adam in the relationship. I find this useful and an important factor to remember because when a friend comes to you for relationship advice, remember that it is not always about you and how you see it. Have you had the kind of friend with whom you share the state of things in your relationship and before you know it, they have already identified a similar experience in their own relationship and then 20 minutes later, they are still going on and on about themselves? Needless to say, that is a bummer and it is likely that you might not be knocking on that friend’s door for advice unless there is no one else you can reach. Our experiences in relationships are not unique and there is nothing wrong with identifying with each other’s experiences but making it all about you is a no no.
Many of us benefit from having friends who we can they can just talk to, someone who will listen to us or even give us a hug. However, it is not rare to find that, after sharing the dilemma you have in your relationship, some friends decide to take it upon themselves to take up a virtual sledge hammer and swing it at the Adam – they call him names, curse at him and make him seem like he would end up at the ICC of relationships if there ever was one. They forget that no one is looking for a judge and deliver an unsolicited verdict. This is especially when a relationship has been brought to an end. I think that some friends do that under the misplaced notion that they are on Eve’s side – that by smearing Adam with a virtual mixture of water and soil, they are playing their role of being in solidarity with Eve. Their intentions are good (usually) but a little fact may be forgotten here – this Eve happens to have liked or even loved this Adam and it is very likely that they still have emotional ties with the Adam in question.
Something else I have learnt in life is that if you are an Eve, sometimes it helps to seek the opinion of the opposite sex about relationships. Some people may think this unsuitable, but it always helps to see the perspectives of men in such situations especially if you are ‘consulting’ someone that you trust – you know that saying about Venus and Mars ;).
Getting advice from friends about relationships is not necessarily a bad thing; it is important to understand that different people have different perspectives and although you may consult widely, the choices and decisions are ultimately for one person to make.
I think it might help to take it as a rule of thumb that if Eve is not trashing the Adam in question, her friends have no business doing so. Something else to refrain from is bombardment with questions on what Eve has decided as the way forward. If she wants to share the progress, she will look for you [this also applies if she wants to take up the virtual sledge hammer ;)]. If you must ask, be sensitive to the fact that maybe all she needed was someone to listen and is probably mulling over it all. She may need time.
If you are the person from whom advice is being sought, it is important to be a good listener. Not all the facts of the situation may be shared with you, but by being a good listener, you will be in a better position to empathize and know what to say and what not to say. It might also help to put yourself in your friend’s shoes – without owning the problem or transforming it into your story. In many instances, there will be no clear cut answers but trying to see things from your friend’s perspective will help you ‘strategize’ with her about possible ways out of the dilemma without looking like you are telling her what to do.
What other pieces of advice do you have about relationships and friends?
Have your say!