A Friend’s Opinion: A Powerful Influence

This week’s post by staff writer Stephany Salinas covers the “friend quotient” of relationships.

 

About a week ago, I talked to a friend of mine who told me the story of a recent breakup. Let me summarize it for you:

My friend and his lady had been dating for a couple of years. Towards the end of their relationship, she started asking her friends if she should continue being with him. Her friends weren’t very supportive of the relationship (not sure why…no details), so they told her to get rid of him. And she did. Supposedly, my friend and she were in a good place and were both very happy. So he asked, “Why would she listen to her friends, if she even said things were going good?”

Good question. I have answers.

Let me start off by saying that as a woman in the 21st century, I, and many other women, are constantly surrounded by pressures of being an “independent” woman. I am woman, hear me roar. I am strong, and can take on any obstacle that is thrown at me. What we don’t like to admit is that many of us actually NEED support. We need to hear that what we’re doing is right/okay and that our friends/family are right there behind us. This goes for society in general. We like hearing that our ideas are good, and that we should go for them. I mean, haven’t you ever told someone, “You know what, I’m thinking about switching my major”, or, “I kind of like this color shirt instead of this one”, followed by a, “What do YOU think?”

That being said, I’ve broken down the “Why ask my friends for advice on a decision” question down to two different answers: Docility and Reassurance.

Docility:

Unfortunately, there are those types of people who are easily influenced by those around them. However, how many of us haven’t been that way at one point or another in our lives?

Here’s a situation I’m sure everyone has witnessed or been in themselves and some point; being the only girl in a relationship in your group of friends. Now, when this happens, it’s very easy to become influenced by your friends. I mean, they get to go out, meet new guys, get numbers…it’s all so exciting! And you, well, you get to cuddle with the same guy every night.

It’s normal to feel like that. I mean, the grass is always greener on the other side, right? However, you have to sit back and ask yourself if that’s really what you would want, or if it’s just the appeal and excitement that makes you jealous. Your single friends may not act like it, but they’re all secretly jealous that you have someone to go home to every night. Greener grass.

That being said, a girl who is docile will hear what her friends have to say to her (because let’s be honest…most women will give advice/opinions even when we aren’t asked) and consider everything, regardless of how well the relationship is going. Her friends will point certain things out, and suddenly she will see things in a different light. She’ll say things like, “You know, I never noticed that…you’re right!” And before you know it, she’s imagining what life would be like single again.

Trust me, I know this because I was there. After a while, I cut those kinds of girlfriends out of my life. To be honest, I am very easily influenced. Maybe not completely docile, but to an extent, docile indeed. That’s why I surround myself with people I trust and that I know have my best interest in their minds when giving me advice, not their own. And unfortunately, many girls don’t realize that this is the change that needs to happen, especially if you know you are easy to persuade.

Reassurance:

Oh, reassurance. Who doesn’t like having someone support his or her decisions? You want to change your major? I completely agree, I think you should definitely quit your finance major and pursue your dream of becoming the next Van Gogh. You think you should break up with him? I totally agree! Dump the loser!

It’s the whole reason we even ASK in the first place. Think about it. From asking what you should get for dinner, to the ultimate “Should I break up with him?”

So you give your friend a list of reasons as to why you’re unhappy. But then you turn around and try to justify some of those reasons. In reality, most of us don’t go bragging to our single girlfriends about all the awesome and nice things our boyfriends have done for us. Instead, we go to them when things are going bad, so all they see are the negatives. So when you come to them with the “should I leave him?” question, they are pretty quick to say “Absolutely!”

So we go back to the original question. Why do we ask in the first place? Because we already know the answer. We just want to hear someone else say it’s a good idea.

*Guilty*

A couple of years ago, I had to make a major relationship decision. I thought I was going to marry this guy. I knew I was going to marry him. However, something didn’t feel right. I was having second thoughts, and after a few weeks, I knew I wasn’t into it anymore. I didn’t want to get married at the age of 23. Not to him, or anyone. I also knew that the relationship wasn’t going so well anymore. Comfortability became a huge thing, and it was, well, boring. So I talked to my mom and my best friends. They all said the same thing. “If you feel it’s right, then do it. Do what makes you happy, and I support you!”

Boom. Support noted. Reassurance attained. So I broke it off, and I was happy. Did I NEED anyone to tell me it was the right decision? No. I knew it was, and I knew it was what I wanted. But part of us says, “get a second opinion”.

 

 

It’s hard to break out of either of these habits. I know, because I’ve only recently tried to break out of it myself. I still talk to my closest girlfriends about relationships and my dating life, but in the end I never ask what I should do. I only take their advice into consideration, but in the end it’s me asking myself what I really want.

Because if you barely know what you want, how can you honestly expect others to know?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s