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    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #1

    Aug 12, 2006, 04:43 PM
    Advice on Giving Advice
    Hey all! I have a slight dilemna and I'd like it if you guys and gals can help me out.

    I have two friends who are in a relationship together, but things have become kind of rocky between them. The problem is that they are both my friends so they both confide in me and ask for advice. At present I've simply just listened to them both get their frustration out, and advised them to not be hasty in making rash choices and to also communicate with each other.

    I've respected both their privacy's so I haven't told "Ben" what "Jeniffer" said and vice-versa. However, I've offered advice to each one of them based on what the other person said. For example, "Ben" told me he felt suffocated so I mentioned to "Jeniffer" that sometimes guys just want to spend time alone or with their friends so I suggested that she try giving him some space, let him do some of the things he enjoys, and see if that works.

    I'm not sure if I'm handling this the right way, so I'd like to ask for everyone's advice on how to deal with this. I want to help them both out without losing their trust or their friendship.

    Also, in case they break up, they will undoubteldy ask me for help on how to deal with it, so how should I handle that situation without it looking like I'm taking sides? Thanks for the help!
    valinors_sorrow's Avatar
    valinors_sorrow Posts: 2,927, Reputation: 653
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    #2

    Aug 12, 2006, 04:49 PM
    Oh, if that were me I would take myself out of the equation. I would disqualify myself on the grounds that I am friends with both and would make it clear to both that I want it to remain that way. Stay and you'll be sure to lose one or both unless you can discipline yourself and them to talk only about the friend you are with and never about the other person. Otherwise you will be privvy to stuff you ought not be privvy to and if they get back together, it will be awkward and if they part, you'll be asked to take sides, if you aren't feeling that already.
    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #3

    Aug 12, 2006, 05:02 PM
    Yeah Val, I was thinking that was the best route to take. It's not too late for me to pull myself out of the equation, so I think I will do just that. A part of me was just hoping that I could help them out, but like you said, I can only see more problems coming from it. Thanks!
    JoeCanada76's Avatar
    JoeCanada76 Posts: 6,669, Reputation: 1707
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    #4

    Aug 12, 2006, 05:06 PM
    It is noble in wanting to be friends with both Ben and Jen, but the thing is by what they tell you and things that you find out about both of their situations that are happening. I know for a fact it will be hard not to take sides especially if you believe one person is in the wrong with their behaviour. Of course, if it were me I would do my best to remain friends with both of them no matter their situation but whenever the advice comes up for either one of them, you should tell them to follow their own intuition and maybe they should talk to each other and work things through with each other and talk to each other more often. The more communication with them and less with you could be better for all involved. Their relationship should not depend on you.

    Joe
    s_cianci's Avatar
    s_cianci Posts: 5,472, Reputation: 760
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    #5

    Aug 12, 2006, 05:41 PM
    It sounds like you're handling it well so far. If Ben and Jennifer do split up and they both want to "cry on your shoulder", just be a good empathetic listener without judging, accusing or taking sides and encourage each of them to get on with their lives. I think it is a good tactic to offer each of them constructive criticism based on the other's complaints without flat-out repeating them, such as your suggestion to Jennifer that sometimes guys want time to themselves and hang out with their friends, in response to his complaint that Jennifer was smothering him.
    YeloDasy's Avatar
    YeloDasy Posts: 363, Reputation: 81
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    #6

    Aug 12, 2006, 06:09 PM
    I think you are doing a good job at nbot taking sides and being neutral, but that will be hard at some point. The both know that you are friends with the other one and you don't want them to play that card some day... such as they know that the other one vented to you... so I would do either of the following... 1. take yourself out... or 2. do not promise to keep secrets. I have 2 friends in a similar situation and when they tell me things, I let them know that if the other one asks me, I may tell them if I think it would be helpful... so that I am not keeping secrets. I know it is hard to remove yourself completely because when things go sour in a relationship you want to confide in your friends... and you are their friend... but ask them how they would feel if you didn't keep secrets, or only tell you things that the other person knows... you don't need to be a pawn...
    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #7

    Aug 12, 2006, 10:29 PM
    Hey I really appreciate the advice everyone. I'm definitely going to stay as a neutral listener and do my best to give advice from a neutral standpoint (if that is possible). Unfortunately I don't believe--as I had earlier hoped-- that I can simply free myself of this mess because after facing the facts I am Ben's best friend, and the only real friends Jennifer has are me and Ben. So I think if I pull out now I may be abandoning them when they need me the most. Any opinions on this?

    Now on the same topic, I spoke with Ben and I realized that the whole thing is more then him needing space. Ben basically is just not sure if he wants to continue the relationship anymore. He is really confused and doesn't know how he feels about Jennifer anymore. In response I told him that he needs to ask himself if he still feels excited when he sees her, does he still enjoy her company, does she make him laugh, etc. I also reminded him that Jennifer is a great girl and listed a few of her good qualities. Did I offer the right advice here? Is there something else I can tell him?

    Also, Ben asked me a question that I just couldn't answer. He and Jennifer have been dating for a few months now (a little more then half a year), and he wanted to know at what point do you draw the line and decide whether you want to marry this person. At the moment he is positive that he doesn't want to marry her but he is not sure if that will change over time. Like I said I wasn't sure how to answer, but I managed to say this: since he is in his early twenties he shouldn't be worried about marriage anyway and that it's probably a personal decision as to when you draw the line.

    Do you guys and gals have any better advice then this? He actually has a really interesting question, and seeing that I've never been through this, I didn't have a definite answer. What does everyone else think? Thanks again for the help!
    JoeCanada76's Avatar
    JoeCanada76 Posts: 6,669, Reputation: 1707
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    #8

    Aug 13, 2006, 03:19 AM
    Does Ben have a liking for somebody else? Is that why he may be questioning things? Why does any line need to be drawn. I do not understand that. Eighter you are ready for marriage or not. If not then he needs to be honest with Jen about it. Many people continue in a relationship for many years before marriage is even contemplated. I have a funny feeling that Ben likes somebody else. That is why he is having second thoughts about Jen. He is confiding more in you then Jen, and like most said at the beginning of the thread that could turn into a big problem or already is a problem. My advice from my first response is staying the same.

    It is noble in wanting to be friends with both Ben and Jen, but the thing is by what they tell you and things that you find out about both of their situations that are happening. I know for a fact it will be hard not to take sides especially if you believe one person is in the wrong with their behaviour. Of course, if it were me I would do my best to remain friends with both of them no matter their situation but whenever the advice comes up for either one of them, you should tell them to follow their own intuition and maybe they should talk to each other and work things through with each other and talk to each other more often. The more communication with them and less with you could be better for all involved. Their relationship should not depend on you.

    Well, I think it is time that you backed away, and let Ben figure out on his own what he wants. I think you need to do this if you want to help Ben and Jen out, if you do not really want to help them then stay in the middle and I guarantee all ---- will break loose.

    Joe
    K_3's Avatar
    K_3 Posts: 304, Reputation: 74
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    #9

    Aug 13, 2006, 07:52 AM
    I agree with Jesushelper, it is getting a bit sticky now. He is putting you in a position of helping him make a decision on whether to leave her or not. If she ever found out, she would be very hurt. Have you told them both you are listening to the other also? If they do not know this or think this and they find out, it could look to them that you are betraying them.
    Even though you are not revealing what they say. Just a thought.

    Are you sure he is not interested in someone else? He shows all the classic signs.
    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #10

    Aug 13, 2006, 07:58 AM
    Helper--Yeah your right, just like Val was. I need to back out before things get worse. I just feel like I'm abandoning my friends, but I guess sometimes when you want to help someone the best way to help them is to not get involved. I will definitely stay both their friends and just help them move on if they do break up. Maybe as a last minute effort I should lock them up in a room together until they finally see eye to eye :D Thanks!
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,185, Reputation: 10852
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    #11

    Aug 13, 2006, 09:40 AM
    If your good friends with a couple its best to mind your own business even if you have to get rude and tell them that you don't want to hear it anymore. You have to be tired of hearing their dirty laundry every time you see one of them. I would be.
    CaptainForest's Avatar
    CaptainForest Posts: 3,645, Reputation: 393
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    #12

    Aug 13, 2006, 09:32 PM
    confused25,

    I have to side with Val and all the rest who are advising you to back out all together.

    It is one thing when you are only friends with 1, but with both….

    If the relationship fails (which it sounds like it might), you could end up losing 1 or both of your friends.

    Besides, having to counsel both partners in the relationship might get a bit hard in terms of keeping stories straight and all…
    YeloDasy's Avatar
    YeloDasy Posts: 363, Reputation: 81
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    #13

    Aug 14, 2006, 02:30 AM
    Yeah, it sounds like you are beginning to give advice on what you want to see happen instead of listening... and you are questioning their thuoghts... you do not need to be in this...
    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #14

    Aug 14, 2006, 09:43 AM
    Yeah you guys have me convinced. I've already backed out of the show and from now on I'm just going to be a spectator. Thanks for the help!
    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #15

    Aug 16, 2006, 12:40 PM
    First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who gave me advice on this situation.

    Now, as some you predicted the relationship between my two friends has ended. I stayed out of it so I'm glad to say that I'm still friends with both. Also, as many of you said, they came to me seeking comfort and clarification.

    I basically gave advice depending on their situation. Ben (who did the breaking-up) was feeling bad and guilty that he broke Jennifer's heart. He felt so bad that he was considering calling her up and telling her it was a mistake. I told him to stick to his decision and that if he gets back together out of guilt then things would be worse in the long run. I told him to cut all contact with her for a few weeks so that he can clear his head. If he feels he made a mistake and realizes he wants her back then he can call her and try to fix things, but that he better be very sure that's what he wants because its not right to keep jumping back and forth... a persons feelings are at stake.

    Jennifer was really heartbroken and I told her these feelings of pain were normal and would eventually disappear with time. She still had hope that things could work out, but I told her to stop looking for hope and consider it a done deal. I advised her to just move on, and to stay as busy as possible to keep her mind off things. I also told her to cut all contact with him. At first she didn't like this idea because she considers Ben her best friend, but I told her that any contact is bad for two reasons: (1) If she continues to talk to him this soon, he will never have a chance to miss her and possibly realize that he made a mistake; and (2) more importantly it's unhealthy to keep contact right now because it will only make her feel worse and make the pain last longer. Finally, I made sure she realized that she should not wait for him to come back, because it probably won't happen so just work on yourself.

    One last thing, Ben asked if I think he made the right choice. I personally feel he made a mistake by letting go of her, but I did not tell him this because I think it would have influenced his decision too much and probably just continue the relationship because I thought it was best. Instead I told him that he has to answer that for himself, and that only time will tell if he did or did not make the right choice. Should I have told him my honest opinion or did I do the right thing?

    Well I just wanted to ask you guys and gals if I handled this situation well. Should I have done something differently? All right let me have it. Thanks!
    JoeCanada76's Avatar
    JoeCanada76 Posts: 6,669, Reputation: 1707
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    #16

    Aug 16, 2006, 10:51 PM
    You did good. Telling Ben, that he needs to figure things out on his own. Whether it was a right decision for himself. If you told him that it was the wrong decision it would have influenced. Like we all advised it is up to them to figure things out for themselves.

    Joe
    YeloDasy's Avatar
    YeloDasy Posts: 363, Reputation: 81
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    #17

    Aug 16, 2006, 10:56 PM
    Sounds like you did great! You are a good friend... maybe later your honest opinion will be helpful, for now remain neutral! Let them figure it out.

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