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The Advice Of Friends

We all can benefit from the advice of our friends.  Who hasn't at some time in their life found the sympathetic ear and kindly counsel of a friend both comforting and supportive?  It's what friends are for, after all.  We like our friends, of course, we trust them and respect their opinions.  But even long-standing and close friends can often give advice from their own frame of reference, or from the perspective of what they wish they had the courage or the resources to do themselves.

When we confide in a friend that our partner has done something to upset us, the response can often be, 'Well, I wouldn’t stand for that if I were you'.  They may even say, 'Just walk out – life's too short'.  However, this could be the advice of someone who is stuck or frustrated in their own relationship and, feeling that they can do nothing about it, are content to steer you toward a confrontation which they would never have the nerve to face themselves.

This kind of advice, coming from somebody who doesn’t know how, or is unwilling, to work through their own problems, needs to be weighed and evaluated with caution.  Is this friend feeling powerless in their relationship and, therefore resentful and angry?  Are they enjoying being single and want someone to go out to 'play' with, or are they unhappily single and in need of some company?  Whatever the reason, the motivation behind their advice might be to do with their own issues and not yours.

Somebody else may advise that you stay in that relationship even if you are not happy.  But they may well be acting from their own agenda.  They may be unhappy in their own relationship but consider that 'anybody is better than nobody'.  They might reason that because their own relationship is not going well, why should anyone else have a better one?  Or, if they are unhappily single and struggling to meet somebody, they might just think, 'What are you worrying about?  At least you’ve got somebody.'

The point is that our friends are liable to give us advice from their own view-point, according to the way they see the world and in relation to their own lives and circumstances.  Such advice, if accepted unquestioningly, can be both confusing and misleading.  It can also lead to you feeling egged on to a certain course of action.  It's easy to take risks with other people's love lives.  Relationships, particularly those going through a difficult and vulnerable period, have been known to break down when this kind of advice has been followed, while somebody gets hurt irrecoverably because their partner has acted upon somebody else's motives without fully realising and understanding their own.

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