By Dr. Joti Samra, CEO & Founder of the Psychological Health & Safety (PH&S) Clinic and MyWorkplaceHealth
People often turn to their friends for support with difficulties in their romantic relationship and bluntly ask for their opinion. Rarely, if ever, does any good come from providing candid opinions about others’ relationships – particularly when the stakes are high (if they’ve been together for a long time or have children, for example). Some of the difficult-category questions we receive may range from ‘do you like my partner’ to ‘should I stay with them’ or ‘do you think they are cheating?’.
The best general advice? Keep your unfiltered and unedited opinions to yourself. And if you feel tempted to do otherwise, rewind and repeat that mantra.
Brutal honesty is not always the best policy
When asked for a candid opinion from someone you care about, you want to be truthful. However, brutal honesty is not always the best policy, especially when there’s the potential to provide advice or input a friend may not be willing or open to receive.
Sometimes not providing our honest opinions can feel misleading or untruthful; however, if any of us went through life fully verbalizing the “bubble above our head,” it’s likely most of our relationships would end.
We make the best decisions for ourselves
Ultimately the people in a relationship are the ones that have to decide what to do next, and they are ultimately the only people who can come to a resolution about how their relationship should unfold.
So, when asked for advice in these types of situations your role is twofold: to provide friends support when they ask for it and help guide them toward making the best decision for themselves.
What are some ways we can approach situations where we are asked for our candid, unfiltered advice – and we know that advice is probably not what our friend wants to hear?
Remember, when it comes to other people’s relationships, good questions asked are better than candid opinions given!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published as part of a Globe and Mail “Ask the Psychologist” column authored by Dr. Samra, and has been edited and updated.
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