The first thing we do when we meet someone that we like is we converse with our friends. We run the entire happenstance down, moment-by-moment. If the relationship progresses, we often in ignorance deliver every detail-the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unknowingly we involve our friends in our relationship endeavors and before you know it, our friends are issuing ultimatums, unsolicited advice, and are fully vested in the relationship. While it is great to have someone to vent too, we should be mindful of the things we discuss with our friends.
Our relationships are not our friends’ relationships.
I once made the mistake of delivering blow-by-blow detail. Later down the line, it created an issue between my friend and the guy I was dating. She despised his guts and my venting wasn’t helping. I made the mistake of oversharing and usually it was the things he did that I did not fancy. What I failed to realize is that while having an additional ear can be helpful, it can also be harmful. By default, unless our friends have healed their own traumas and failed relationship experiences, 98% of our friends will be biased and only see our side. It takes a healed person to be unbiased and the unrelated party’s perspective.
When we overshare whether it is good or challenging, we open an avenue for our friends to give opinions and unsolicited advice. This can be detrimental. Although their intentions may be pure, involving others in our relationship can create additional challenges. In practicing mindfulness, we have to be conscious of our dealings with our friends. Despite the previous parameters we had where our friends could voice their opinions for consideration, we have to set up new parameters.
For me, my best friend’s opinion is only allowed for consideration when I come to her, she is aware of me doing something that is extremely out of character or she has to keep the opinion directed toward me and my actions. For example, if my best friend knows that I am overextending myself, she can remind me to take time for myself or rest. However, she would not be allowed to tell me what my partner should or should not be doing.
By no means is this to excuse my partner’s poor behavior if that was the case.
However, condemnation if any should come from the person in the relationship, not a third party. If I were to allow my friend to constantly tell me what she likes or dislikes about my relationship, then I would be essential in a relationship that works for her.
I give the same type of respect to my friend as well. If she doesn’t ask and it isn’t changing who she is, I remain quiet. The times I want to say anything, I usually preface my unwarranted opinion with a request for permission before I hop into the dark abyss. And it's almost always words of encouragement.
We have parameters that keep our friendship and relationships in a healthy balance. This is in no way saying that friends shouldn’t intervene. This is saying that friendships should have parameters.