Honesty is the best policy.
A friend surprised me the other night when he told me he appreciated my honest opinions.
He told me he valued our friendship more than he does others simply because of my no-holds-barred attitude. During a relationship lasting several years, he said his friends never offered honest opinions and instead talked only behind his back about how much they disliked the woman he was dating.
It wasn’t until after the relationship ended that his friends let him know how they felt about his ex-girlfriend.
That isn’t the case with me, especially with family and close friends.
I care about those folks and want to make sure they’re making the best decisions.
Many times, people have tunnel vision in a relationship or other type of situation. Some can’t visualize the situation from outside of their shoes and others simply ignore alternatives altogether.
So in a few situations my friend could find himself in, he asked for my thoughts and advice.
I value that in a friendship — when someone appreciates that a friend can offer insightful advice and genuinely wants to help. My advice and opinions help me in no way. I never make a friend’s situation about myself. Instead, I’m always looking out for what is best for them, whether or not they believe that.
Then there are the folks who don’t think I’m looking out for their best interests. Sometimes our egos get in the way and we want to believe the path we’re on is the perfect one, so when a friend suggests something that could take us off course, we instinctively shut down.
I asked another friend last week why it is people seek me out to confide in and get answers from. After all, my life is far from perfect.
My friend explained it is because she and others know that I deeply care for friends, and in a world of self-importance, rarely do you find friends willing to stick their necks out to help others.
But I’m not shy to offer a dissenting opinion or something my friend might not have considered. This is especially true for those I know extremely well in life.
Maybe it is my job or some kind of special intuition that allows me to really get a good read on people — knowing their motives and being able to know what makes them special.
This isn’t meant to be a column where I pay myself on the back, though.
I wish friends wouldn’t put me on a pedestal or act as though the advice I give is better than someone else’s. I’m not special, and my life is filled with one million problematic areas.
I wish my friends would be able to see all of the paths a situation has for them and be able to choose the best without my help.
But my strong emotions toward close friends and my openness to love and share with others, and let them share with me, allows them to feel comfortable and welcome when they’re around me.
Of course, I’m glad to offer advice and listen to them. I love my friends and want to see nothing but the best for them.
Sometimes, though, my outlook on a friend’s life differs from their view. That is the case with at least one friendship, and it has caused great pain — at least on my side of the friendship. It makes me sad when a friend can’t see the pain their decisions cause others and do nothing but trample on the friendship.
Life isn’t meant to be lived isolated, and despite the best positive quotes and motivational speakers, we never should make decisions solely based on our own lives alone. How selfish.
Life is meant to be lived with loved ones, surrounded by loved ones. And when we fail to do so, we fail to fully live life.
And that’s exactly the kind of advice I offer to friends. Ultimately, it’s up to them to accept that advice and make it part of their life.
twoday magazine wants to know: Do you have "that person" in your life who gives you advice...whether you like it or not? Share with us on our Facebook page.
Follow @twodaymag on Twitter.
Like this article by weekly twoday magazine contributor, Bobby Cherry? Then don't forget to check these out!