Sunday, January 23, 2011
We all know one....
You know the type. This is the type of friend who thinks that they know all about you and what would be best for you in your life. They are full of ideas about what you should do and how you should go about it. They also project a lot of stuff onto you that has nothing at all to do with you. It has to do with them. Their need to help you stems from their own insecurities and a drive to make themselves indispensable in your life. The next thing you know, having taken some of their advice, you are headed in a direction that you would never have chosen for yourself otherwise, and you don't like the ride!
Here is the thing. They did nothing. You did. You are the one who accepted their "help" in the first place. You may have even asked for their help. Whether or not they took the time to really consider what is good for you, you are the one who accepted their opinion and went for it. So really, you can't be angry at them for that part. They are very well meaning.
The thing that we all have to keep in mind when getting friendly advice or even just friendly opinions is this...it is easy to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem. I remember a friend of mine being told by other friends that she had to cut her father out of her life. Granted, her father was acting very strangely. But this was a person who, for financial reasons, would have been committing an act of self-destruction if she did this at that time. Later on, she would be able to do this if she chose to. But it was clear to me that the thought of doing this terrified her on a multitude of levels. Did the other friends care about that? It certainly did not look like it. Full of self-righteousness, they basically demanded that she take very drastic measures. I am glad she chose not to, because things would have turned out much harder for her than they have.
The background information did not seem to matter to the other friends. Case in point. They had no knowledge of the actual problem. So why make any suggestions in the first place until you get as much information as possible? I find that people who do that create more harm than good. Some of them even emotionally blackmail their friends to get them to do the "right thing" in their minds. Not cool.
It is only when we have complete understanding of the situation that we are able to give an opinion one way or the other. The other thing about this is that we rarely will have a complete understanding of any situation. We will only have a perspective. It is not like we are ever really a fly on the wall who witnesses all events. We need to allow ourselves to understand that we know basically nothing. Then the only thing we are left with is the only thing that matters...love. We love and we support. That is all we can do. We really can't advise. The person will come to their own conclusions in their own time. We can't push that in any direction at all or we risk depriving them of the opportunity to learn from their experiences. Why would any friend want to do that to another friend?