Of Relationships and Friends

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.

Good Listener

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!

By Joyce

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31 thoughts on “Of Relationships and Friends

  1. As much as we have relationship issues. Try not to give your girlfriends info that will make them 1. Hate your man 2. Want to sleep with him
    Be clever in how you express your disappointments if you love the bugger.

  2. Gals;know yo worth,then when you share you share in honesty,it’s ok to share the most memorable moments and the low ones when you’re wounded still trying to rally.
    Separate the issues from the individual,helps give you clarity,at times of clouded judgement.
    Gal friends stand up for each other,if you trash a guy to them,he’s dead and buried and you get the most spectacular pity party. Don’t be a victim be a game changer. Have yo way.

    • Thanks for visiting Naomi. I like the idea of looking for clarity, not clouded perception. But most times, you may not always have ALL the facts so it’s good to stay away from judgment of any sort – as well intended as it may be.

  3. I think what i am hearing here is “use wisdom” But you know sometimes,we are so hurt or confused that we still share all those details about what he did and what he said.In my opinion,i think it all depends on the friends that one keeps.
    1.There are friends who already know that their role is to listen and not to make the decision for the Eve who is traumatized he he he. So when Eve starts giving you her story,can you please stop interjecting and just listen to the end? Because if you start saying ” he is a moron” in the middle of sharing,how will you retrieve these words when she comes back and tell you ” we ironed out the issues?”
    2.There are friends who give advice and you know you can take it because they are gentle,removed from the situation and can see what you as the traumatized ( that word again) Eve cannot see.
    3.There are friends who give advice because the last time they were even on date was Karne iliyopita and so want kila mtu to remain in the maze! – these are to be avoided at all costs! It is 2012 🙂
    In other words,know your friends. My secret for a long time has been to write stuff down( on rough paper because if i kept a journal and someone got a hold of it,they are likely to publish a book:D ) and afterwards,i feel much better. Then i have a few friends ( very few) who i share with and i know i can trust their opinion,it does not mean they make the decision for me but i will sieve what they say and make my own decision and often times,the decision has been without external influence (LOL). Anything else is just bla bla .Truth be told,sometimes we just talk because we want to get it off our chest as the article says,it is not because we are looking for a verdict.
    Ok,i guess this ‘thesis’ means that i like the piece- very much!

    • Hehehehehe…need Project 44 say anything here? ;). LOL @ this is 2012! And this part is so true – “Because if you start saying ” he is a moron” in the middle of sharing,how will you retrieve these words when she comes back and tell you “we ironed out the issues?”

      Karibu tena

  4. I totally agree with today’s post. To the eve’s, when our gal friends are in ‘unhealthy’ relationships with their men, let us not be shy to tell them

    • hmmm….i think i read something different @ flower. I think the post is saying that we should learn to listen more and not to trash Adam and also to be sensitive about Eve’s situation when we give advice…..

    • @ Flower. Thanks for visiting and commenting. It’s good to be cautious in such situations – yes, we may not be happy to see our friends in such situations but the decision ultimately lies with them – they can either chose to stick with ‘the devil’ they know or move on to other pastures. The best you can be is to be supportive.

  5. this is a very apt topic – me likey!

    i think being a good listener – like that sheep (or is it goat) – up there is tres important; there are times in my friendships that I’ve felt that i could have done with the unsolicited harambee of advice……

    ps. do adams seek advice or is this just an eve’s thingy?

  6. Ha! I am glad you wrote on this issue because lately, I have noticed that when you are a good listener, people forget that you occasionally talk. So when you finally say something, they assume their roles and talk on and on. And it make me really mad. So mad, in fact, that I just shut up and listen to them go on and on about what you were dying to go on and on about. Halafu in the end they say, “Thanks for listening.”

  7. Great read 🙂 In discussing relationship issues we are our own worst enemies. When our friends ask us for advice on how to deal with their better halves we lead them astray, towards hell. :-(…

  8. All that SHE wants is somebody who will listen to her and kept it to himself or herself.

    All that HE wants is someone to tell him exactly what to do or a different line with different but favorable results.

    The other day, I sought advice on a touching relationship issue from my male friends and they um, well, reasoned with their respective small heads. I posed the same issue to some lady friends and got a lashing and scathing admonishment the likes of which I last got from Mother of “me I” when I was about ten years of age and had done something very naughty. (Famooz do you read, Over?)

    With age, you get to know whose advice to seek and who not to tell about some issues.

    One other thing, what is the cost of seeking advice?

    To the naughty Mahe.Goats of this world, when I really need some mathogothanio, I put about Kshs. 500 of airtime into my cellphone and call my uh um correspondent and inquire about “The Boss”.

    The correspondent usually goes on and on about what he did or she did or did not do. This costs me about 200. Then I tell her my boss has just come and I have to go. But lets meet and continue the “conversation” later. Easy date. Works like a charm. Listen, concentrate on the spot between her eyes and not the twin planets of wonderland.

    It gets late and she usually suggests her place. The rest…… Always keep my mouth shut. Most later coo “You are such a good listener”.

    One other thing, please do not try this at home.

  9. sometimes people see things not as the things are but as the people are, their advice would not only be highly subjective but will be highly laced with personal bias and as such should never be used as basis for permanent choice.

  10. In certain situations the truth has to be told as is .. especially to a good friend. That’s what friendship is all about (note though that I’m not talking about cheating spouse. That’s a whole different ball game with a totally different set of rules…)

  11. Yeneyewe listening for the heck of it is tough for rugged men like me. Sasa you keep me on the phone or on the coffee table for hours ukiniambia stories of another guy at work who is frustrating you,,, bla bla bla….. then I am just supposed to listen and empathize… Then what will I do with all that info?. Get a galfriend for that business. Pole.

  12. We all have different kinds of friends, and not all are told the same story. Be wise and know who to talk to. At times, I believe, you just want to rant, not portray Adam in bad light. If you tell someone who always has an opinion, you’ve dialed the wrong number. You know your friends, those who listen and those who think you are just but a pacesetter to their speech race. If the latter, don’t tell them your issues!

    On another note, if an Eve wants to get a male perspective, more often than not always expect it accompanied with advice. You feed a mortal man with information, like @bwenyenye asked, what do you expect? Having said that, listening is a key component in communication.

    Good stuff and, as always, great read.

  13. Great writing! talking to friends about your relationship is not a bad thing, but caution is a must…it is a known fact that third parties can ruin any relationships especially in the Eve kingdom where it has happened; one Eve listens to all the problems her friend is experiencing in her relationship….well guess what? that particular Eve used all that information to woo the friend’s Adam and now they are happily married and the Eve cut links with her friend….
    For men, they are a bit cagey on these sort of talk…having heart to heart with fellow men in the name of being metrosexual (i’m sure you have your say)

    • Thanks! One of our readers, Butterscotch, asked whether Adams seek advice and it is good to hear an Adam’s point of view on this one. Thanks for dropping by.

  14. have already identified a similar experience in their own relationship and then 20 minutes later, they are still going on and on about themselves?

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