It happens time and time again. Everyone in your life needs a little love advice at some point and they turn to you to find out what to do. Let’s take a minute to go back in TV time to the nineties and reflect on a TV show that was full of love and relationship advice; Sex And The City.
Carrie (on constantly talking about her break up with Mr. Big): “I don’t need a therapist, I have you guys.”
Samantha: “We’re just as f**ked up as you are. It’s like the blind leading the blind.”
As with every situation in life, everyone has an opinion. But how can you make sure you are giving the right love advice? After all, you don’t want to be the reason for an unnecessary break up.
So here is a list of some common relationship dramas and how to react if a friend comes to you for advice on these issues.
If they suspect a cheat
Paranoia can creep into any relationship, no matter how stable. It could come from a strange change in behaviour or an insecurity on your friend’s part. But if they think their partner is a cheat you need to go into full practical mode. Before they start accusing their partner of being unfaithful, ask them what they are basing this on. Do they have any hard evidence of cheating? It’s a big claim to make and if their partner is doing nothing wrong, a confrontation could hurt their feelings and break the relationship for the lack of trust. However, if something fishy is going on, tell your friend a serious sit down needs to happen with their partner and they need to ask them point blank if they are being unfaithful.
If they want to break up
There comes a time in every relationship where doubts start to settle in and you ask the questions ‘Where is this going?’. “Does this have a future?” “Am I completely happy?’ Sometimes it’s a phase that passes, sometimes with a little work the problems get ironed out and the relationship gets better and sometimes it’s time to call it a day. But break up is a big change and you need to make sure your friend is doing the right thing.
So if they think a break up is on the cards, the best way to decide what to do is to suggest writing a list of positives and negatives on the relationship. One, it really helps to see all thoughts down on paper and two, if they can think of more negatives than positives, maybe your friend is right and a break up is the only way to go.
If they don’t get on with their partner’s family
If you are a family based person, getting on with your partner’s family is a must. But what advice can you give to someone who isn’t getting along with their in laws?
It can be difficult to bring up the subject to your partner if you have a problem with one of their family members. Ultimately they are going to feel the need to stick up for their own blood so the only thing your friend can do is broach the issue as sensitively as possible. Get them to try and explain what the problem is and to use the ‘picture it from my point of view’ angle. If that doesn’t help, the next thing to do is to bring the issue up with the family member in question. But I would warn that as a last resort. Once you’ve fallen out with your partner’s family, it can be very hard to be reaccepted again.
If they are constantly arguing
Every relationship goes through fiery patches. But it is not healthy to constantly be rowing with your other half. So ask your friend why they think they are arguing with their partner. It may not even be related to the relationship at all. It could be life getting on top of them, or worries about other aspects of their lives getting them down. Unfortunately, the ones closest to you seem to always get the brunt of every situation, even if they have nothing to do with it.
You don’t need to pry or know all the details of your friends rows but they do need to think about what these arguments are based around. If the same subject keeps cropping up, they need to sit down with their partner and talk it out. If it is getting them down, they need to have an intervention with their partner and find out the root of the feuds. After all, you can’t go through life in a constant squabble with the person you love.
In addition, whatever the situation, to give good advice you must remain impartial. Yes, they are your friend and naturally you will want to side with them and have their back. However, you must be honest. The truth can hurt but so can being in the wrong relationship. Try and suggest practical solutions and see the story from both sides. That is the only way you’re going to give advice that will actually help your friend solve the problem.
The best thing you can do in any situation where someone is asking for love advice is to listen. Some problems can be resolved with a good chin wag and a story to share. Sometimes the person with the problem just needs some reassurance that they are not crazy and their thoughts and feelings are rational.
So be there for your friend. Let them know that you are there whenever they need a chat and you will support them through any relationship decision they make. I mean, that’s what friends are for right?