Giving relationship advice to your friends

Everyone has had a friend who has suddenly got into a romantic relationship. You remember the beginning when your friend wouldn’t shut up about how great the other person is; then there’s the time when they’ve been together for a month or longer, which could be the time your friend and their significant other would argue more often than not; then of course there’s the holidays or anniversaries and you have to help suggest what gift is a good idea; and lastly, in some cases, there’s the breakup — the end of a short or long term relationship, which is a time you can see your friend at the lowest of lows.

Some of you may have been considered the ‘third-wheel’ of that relationship. You were the one that was around them the most for when they were together at home and watching a movie together, to when they’d go out for drinks and you were the middle-man for when they fought. You became a part of their relationship, and when your friend got their heart crushed, you felt heartbroken too.

Whatever the case may be, most of us have been in a situation in which our friend has asked for relationship advice. This could be at a time of a breakup, during a fight they’re having with their significant other, giving suggestions for gift idea or having to help think of a date idea. Yet giving advice isn’t easy – especially if you yourself aren’t a relationship person.

Here are some tips for when trying to help your friend out with their relationship problems:

Just listen

This tip might go do you more justice than you think. Sometimes saying nothing at all can be more helpful than trying to give advice. Just shut up and listen, let your friend rant and get their feelings out. You don’t want to give advice in a situation you are uneducated about, then find yourself on the wrong end of a stick and your friend is later yelling at you for dumb advice.

Let them rant, let them get their feelings out and they might come to their own solution. Wait until they ask you what you would do.

Ask questions

These days a lot of our conversations are done over text message or other social media messengers. Therefore the ‘just listen’ idea might not work, because then you’re caught giving one-word answers and eventually your friend gets mad at you for being dry. So when caught up in this situation, ask questions. Figure out the situation, how the problem started. Your friend might be the problem but they could try to cover that up, so try to get all the details from them.

Rant with them

This could cause some issues. It could lead to you getting yourself in trouble, firstly with your friend and/or secondly with their partner. However, ranting with your friend could be the best advice you can give. If you didn’t like their significant other, this could be the time to express it. But be careful, that again could get you in trouble as well.

This at most times is not a time to express how much you hate your friends significant other or this probably isn’t the time to talk about how your friend could do better. Tell your friend they’re right, even if they aren’t right. When you rant with them, you are basically to take their side and agree to what they say.

Give actual advice

Nobody likes to deal with a couple fighting, let alone a breakup. But once you get past the anger stage and learn a little more of why your friend their significant other is fighting, it’s time to give your take. Sometimes you have to be subtle, others time you have to be completely honest. No matter what the case, this could come back to bite you in the behind.

At times it’s a good idea to not say what you would do, because what you might do might not be the best idea. Try to make sure your advice is a building block, something the person can build their own ideas off of. Your job isn’t to solve the situation, but rather help calm the storm down.

At the end of the day, your friend is your friend and you’ll have their back. At times you might get annoyed or not remotely care about the situation, but it’s your duty to help listen and settle the situation down – or at least

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