How To Know When To Stop Someone From Making A Mistake And When To Just Let It Happen A Valuable Lesson On Friendship
One of the many important duties of friendship is being there when your friend is making a big mistake and knowing exactly how to handle it. Every person is different and it’s up to you to be able to realize what exactly it is that your friend needs.
We all have our thoughts and opinions and handle the situations of life differently. There have been many times when the people I love have had to face difficult decisions. Whether they be decisions involving relationships, jobs, diet/exercise, outfits, etc., I don’t always agree with the the choices that they make. And I’m absolutely positive that they could all say the same about me.
So it’s important to know when it’s ok to voice your opinion about the choices that your friend is making and when to just hold back and let it happen. This is usually a tough call. Of course we all want the best for our friends, but we have to remember to not be judgemental so to maintain a comfortable and open relationship. I never want my friends to feel like they can’t come to me in times of need in fear that they are going to get an “I told you so” type of reaction to their troubles. So here are the things that I always take into consideration when I’m trying to figure out the best way to be there for my friends.
1. Remember that it’s not your life.
This sounds like something that should be obvious , but it’s easy to get caught up in your besties and forget that you’re living separate lives. No matter what the situation is, it’s important to remember that their choices are not personally affecting you.
2. Remember the differences in you and your friend’s personality.
This is another one that’s easy to forget. When you’re best friends with someone, you often feel like you’re totally in sync. But at least in my life, all of my good friends have completely different personalities. This means that we handle different situations differently. Keep this in mind when helping someone to make the right choice because what’s best for you might not necessarily be what’s best for them.
3. If the situation were reversed, how would you want your friend to react?
One of the first lessons we’re taught as kids – treat others the way that we want to be treated. For example, if your friend is trying on outfits to go out and something doesn’t seem that flattering – think about what you would want to happen if the situation were reversed. No one wants to go out looking anything but their best, so in this situation I’d advise to tell your friend to choose a different top in the nicest way possible. Handle the situation delicately though and be careful not to hurt their feelings. Just because she’s your friend and you two are close, doesn’t mean that she’s automatically shielded from your blunt bitchiness. This is one that can be easy for me to forget sometimes.
But things get trickier when it comes to things that will have a bigger impact. There have been times when both my friends and myself have explored relationships with guys who might not have been the best choice in the opinion of others. But at the end of the day, feelings are feelings and they aren’t going to change just because you keep nagging your friend about spending time with him, or pointing out every little thing that the guy does wrong. Personally, when my friends do this to me, I shut down and stop giving them the details about my relationship because they make me feel stupid. So this brings me to #4:
4. Is it worth risking how your friend feels about coming to you in times of need?
I’d argue that 99% of the time, the answer to this question is no. To me, it’s far more important to know that I can feel comfortable going to my friends when I’m upset about the outcome of one of my decisions than have them tell me the 99 reasons why what I’m doing is wrong. Chances are, I’m not going to change my mind no matter how much sense they’re making, so it’s better to just let me go and be there when I fall. This is important to consider when voicing your opinion and knowing when it’s better to just back off. If it seems like they’ve made up their minds about something no matter what your opinion is – it’s probably best to just step back and let it happen. Constantly voicing your dissent is just going to make your friend mad and feel like you aren’t there for them.
5. Always remember to remind your friend that you want them to be happy and support them no matter what.
Having support is one of the whole points of having good friends. When I’m stressed out, this is all I want to hear from the people I choose to surround myself with. Of course I value and respect their opinions, but once they make them known and we have an understanding, that’s all I need. Chances are that your friend has already considered for themselves all of the same concerns that you have about something because they’re usually obvious. Express yourself but always consider their feelings and be aware when enough is enough. At the end of the day, nothing is more important than the relationship that the two of you have.