There are many reasons why a friend may not be truthful with you. Sometimes it comes out of love, other times out of jealousy. But knowing this fact doesn’t always stop us from following the advice of others rather than trusting ourselves.
The most frequent reason that a friend will be dishonest with you, if she’s really your friend, is because she’s telling you what she thinks you want to hear, instead of what you need to hear. Often these little white lies come from a place of caring, because your friend doesn’t want to hurt you. “He is just stressed….but he loves you,” she’ll say when your partner is acting unreasonable, or “maybe she just isn’t ready to commit because she’s been through a lot.” But believe me, it’s all bogus. Friends don’t want to make you feel bad, especially when you are already depressed and frustrated. So you take solace in the lie, while knowing it doesn’t quite sit right.
Of course, the opposite is also true, too. Sometimes a friend will try to sabotage your relationship, giving you bad advice out of jealousy or insecurity. Hopefully this friendship soon comes to an end, but before you discover her ulterior motives, it’s easy to fall prey to bad advice.
So who can you turn to? And who should you ignore? Here are some of the different kinds of friends you might come across in life, and how to deal with their relationship advice.
The Just-Married Friend
Your recently married or engaged friend sees love everywhere. Her advice is based on the belief that everyone can work it out and be as happy as her. Basically, she’s extremely biased. She’s going to put everything in a more positive light, and will be focused on getting all her friends hitched—whether to the right match or not. She’s not a bad friend, but she’s too caught up in what’s going on in her own life to take a serious look at yours.
The “I Agree!” Friend
This is the friend who agrees with whatever you say, negative or positive. She’s someone you should pretty much avoid, because this relationship is lacking in honesty. She can’t offer you advice, criticism or feedback, and seeks to affirm your beliefs simply because she can see it makes you feel good.
The Selfish Friend
This person never likes the person you’re dating—ever. She’s probably also most likely the friend who is always single or hopping around. She wants a partner in crime for her single life, not someone boring and tied down. She don’t want you to be in a lasting relationship because it would leave her alone. She wants you to hang out with her always, and tells you your partner’s expectations are clingy. She encourages you to play games. This friend will always give you bad advice, whether consciously or subconsciously. To identify this friend, ask yourself whose best interests her advice really serves. Does your partner’s supposed neediness also coincide with a night she’s looking for someone to accompany her out on the town? Take whatever she says with a grain of salt.
The Good Friend
Once in a while you’ll find a friend who is a true gem. This is someone who is honest, but doesn’t overstep boundaries. You don’t always like what conversations with her lead you to realize, but you feel supported by talking with her. She seeks the truth, and doesn’t tell you what to do. In fact, she doesn’t really give advice; she asks questions. She helps you discover the right path by talking it out. She doesn’t assume she’s 100 percent correct, so there are never any “I told you sos.” She’s there for you when a relationship goes south, and is genuinely happy for you when you’ve found romantic love.
On Taking Advice From Any Friend
Listen to everybody, but follow one thing only: your gut. Do what feels right for you. You know the answer to your problems deep down inside, and if the truth you discover is hard, lean on your good friends for support.
Sameera Sullivan is the CEO and founder of Lasting Connections, specializing in matchmaking for elite men. She contributes dating and relationship advice for Observer. Follow her on Twitter at @SameeraConnects.