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What does a true friend do?

I have two friends going through difficult times. They ask for my opinions on what to do. I think both are making bad decisions. As a friend, do you offer guidance or support? Do you voice your opinion or just say, I will support you no matter what you decide? How do you handle these situations in your life? One is considering divorce, one home schooling. I am not opposed to either, but in both of their situations they are not thinking it through. One wants to leave for a fling with a man that is not worth it, the other wants to home school yet I know in my heart that her child would not benefit from it (she just joined a new religion that advocates it-she changes her mind about the groups she is in regularly-vegan for a month, a different religion for a month and so on)

 
soyousay

Asked by soyousay at 11:47 AM on Mar. 31, 2010 in Relationships

Level 26 (27,669 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • I think you do both....if they ask. I would gently say, I love you, and I'm concerned about some of the choices you're making. This is my opinion from the outside, but I want you to know that I understand these are not my decisions to make, you have to make them, and I will be here to support you no matter what you do.

    Good luck, and it sounds like you are a good friend!
    ohwrite

    Answer by ohwrite at 11:54 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • say, I will support you no matter what you decide That's what a true friend does. Even if they are making the wrong choices. When there choices flop on them then be there for them with love and support.

    hisblueeyes

    Answer by hisblueeyes at 11:53 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • My gut says that too-but I wonder if things go badly, if I would have wished I said something-anything.
    soyousay

    Answer by soyousay at 11:54 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • I will, with a lot of hesitation and many demands and assurances that they really, actually want my opinion, tell my friends what I really think. Rarely, they want to know --more often they're bitching or asking or complaining when they already know what the problem is and have no interest in anything but a shoulder to cry on or someone to be on their 'side' however deranged and ineffective they already know that is...

    So, yes, I would tell them, if they insisted, and acknowledged that it would upset them because I would not tell them what I knew they wanted to hear. If they declined, I would never mention it again.

    In your situation, it doesn't sound like anyone's asking for your advice, or your opinion, so if you would like to stay friends with these folks it would be better to understand that they are trying their best to learn and be happy --even if you know it won't work-- and leave off being the smarty pants at them.
    LindaClement

    Answer by LindaClement at 12:14 PM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • A true friend tells with respect what you think but always support the friend nomatter their desition. If they are asking your opinion you shoud tell it , But respectfully and always adding I love you and even when i differ from you I respect you and help you always and support you. But wait until they ask.
    violetlady

    Answer by violetlady at 12:30 PM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • Linda, both are asking-not sure how I ended up being the go to friend in the group as I really dislike that role, but it seems that I have become the one people come to more and more. Part of me says its because I usually do not give advice and I am more of the live and let live type so maybe people come to me because they know I am more of a shoulder to cry on than anything else. I am also an over-thinker and internalize things, like these situations-my gut does say they just want a head nod and a pat on the back, but then I worry that maybe they need more than that.... UGH, so not good at any of this- also trying to figure out whats going on with my circle of friends- we are now mid 40's maybe mid life crisis' coming on? We have been drama free for years!
    soyousay

    Answer by soyousay at 12:30 PM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • A true friend supports you no matter what and doesn't judge you for the decisions you make. Treat them as you would want to be treated.
    newmomma14

    Answer by newmomma14 at 12:49 PM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • I'd tell them that you will offer your opinion since it was asked for, but it may not be what they want to hear. Then give the opinion and tell them that it's their decision and you will support what they do because you love them and want them to be happy.
    rio_burb

    Answer by rio_burb at 1:21 PM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • I would tell them how you feel, as diplomatically as possible, and if it turns into any sort of argument just let them know that you had a few concerns that you wanted to bring up to make sure they had thought about them but you know they will make the right decision for themselves and their family and let it go. Like you said, if things don't work out in the future you will wonder if anything you could have said would have made a difference. Maybe it will, and maybe it won't. Just keep in mind you are only expressing your concernsa and thoughts, do so in the least confrontational and judgmental way, and be completely prepared to back down if either friend gets defensive which is totally possible. And if it doesn't work out for them keep the "I told you so" to yourself and be just as supportive then, too. It's what I would want from my friends.
    MaryMW

    Answer by MaryMW at 1:51 PM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • Impart wisdom and tell them they have choices to make. It doesn't sound like much, but you cannot take away free will. I'll never forget something said in sunday school "God will never make you do anything, but he sure can make you wish you would have" and thats life
    GMMOLLY

    Answer by GMMOLLY at 1:33 PM on Apr. 2, 2010