A week ago I posted a poll asking people who gave the best advice: a close friend, a therapist or a family member I only received one response so I’ll base my Day 15 assignment on their answer.
They believe a close friend gives the best advice. While I get how wonderful it is to have a close friend that you can talk with about anything and who loves you enough to give you advice, I’m not sure that’s the best way to go when you really need some clarity and direction.
A close friend may not give you a totally honest answer because she may worry about hurting your feelings, making you more upset, depressed, confused or whatever it is you are. She also will base her answer of her way of looking at things, which is what most people do. To look at life though your own lens is something we’re all so good at doing that it’s often hard to change course and look at a situation objectively–especially when it involves someone you care about.
Perhaps she or someone she knew went though a similar situation and it didn’t turn out so well. She may be hurt, angry, confused, for all you know she didn’t work her own stuff out so her advice to you will be based on her own past experience rather than what may be best for you.
Sometimes even the closet of friends can have arguments, and hopefully the friendship will survive. But I know several people who dropped friends after they gave them an answer they didn’t want to hear or didn’t like. No, those people who did that are acquaintances, not my friends.
Sometimes a person doesn’t want to tell the entire story to their friend for fear that friend will be judgmental or feel sorry for them when they don’t need that. And you know, if you don’t explain the entire situation in detail, you will never get the best advice.
And some friends may be close but their advice sucks. They just don’t have the insight or the ability to help a friend in that way, even though they’re still good people. I know you’ve heard the term “well-meaning friend” a zillion times.
I think many times family members are too close to you or know you too well or there’s just too much baggage in the relationship for their advice to be helpful.
I vote for a therapist. I guess I have to because I’ve given so much of my money to them over the decades. Seriously, there is nothing like telling your problem to someone who isn’t emotionally vested in you and can really give you clear, objective advice. They also know the way to tell you what you need to be told without totally freaking you out by giving you a little info at a time or by stopping every so often have you check in with how you’re feeling.
Yes, some therapists are terrible and you’d be better off telling your problems to a sewer rat then to them, but once you find a good one, it really does make a difference. Objectivity is what can help you pull yourself out of yourself and see the issue from an outside perspective.
And that’s a good thing.