You know you’re becoming an adult when you start to look back on things your mom said and think to yourself, “Wait, she was definitely right about that.” And for me, my mom always told me that when it came to my relationships, she often bit her tongue because she realized the only way to learn is through experience. Which brings me here now, with plenty of relationship baggage—thanks, mom—but also with an understanding of what I want and deserve in a partner.
But I probably wouldn’t have gotten here had I not been dragged through the mud in relationships with the world’s worst guys probably ever (you know the ones). Most of the time the people closest to us are still in that process of deciding what they like. Maybe you’re still in that process. And as a friend, it can be one of the most difficult things to see your bestie with someone who seems incomparable to them.
A lot of the time, friends lean on each other to know what to do—but maybe you shouldn’t give advice all of the time. Now, before I sound like the world’s worst bestie, let me explain. First and foremost, give your friend advice on things you have experience with. By that I mean: if you have never been cheated on by someone who you thought was your soulmate, maybe it’s out of your expertise. I say this because a lot of time, it’s easier to put yourself in their shoes (or so you think) but at the end of the day, if you haven’t walked in those shoes, you truly don’t know what you would do.
Now, I’m not saying ditch everything you’ve ever been told about being a good friend. I’m saying that you should be there for your friends when they need you. More than likely, they’re asking for advice but they already know what they should do. So sure, go ahead and tell her she should leave him and she deserves way better. But if she chooses to stay with him, bite your tongue and don’t keep pressuring your advice despite your intuitions of what’s to come.
At the end of the day, you have to bite your tongue and just support your friends. The only way they will learn is through trial and error. It’s never worth getting upset with them because you think they’re being dumb or wasting their time… they probably know that. So when they ask for advice, it’s not for you to validate their insecurities.
Being a good friend usually means supporting your friend’s decision, but being a good friend doesn’t always mean they have to take your advice. No matter how hard it is to see someone you care about hurting, it’s important to not get involved in their relationship but rather be their shoulder to cry on. Never make someone you care about feel like they’re stuck choosing between a terrible partner and a terrible friend.