In an age dominated by social media, where everyone is an award-winning journalist or YouTube sensation, it’s easy for people to convince themselves that their opinion matters and needs to be heard. But as I always say there is an appropriate time and place for everything. Sure, an informed opinion on the state of global politics should be welcomed even if it stands in opposition to our personal beliefs. There is nothing better than a good INTELLECTUAL debate. Then there are those issues that not everyone and his dog needs to have a say on. One such place is when it comes to another individual’s romantic life and general lifestyle choices. This brings me to the topic of today’s post, when we are inundated with advice on how we are conducting our personal lives, how does one differentiate between the opinions that matter and those which are a totally waste of time.
As a 30-something chick who hasn’t ever been married or knocked up, one gets used to comments including but not limited to the following : ‘ Still single? Are you a lesbian? ‘, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers. You aren’t getting any younger, you know !’, ‘ Maybe you’d get more attention if you lost a couple of pounds!’, ‘Ooooo have you heard so-so just got divorced so he’s on the market again! Shall I set up a meeting for you guys ?’. Whether it’s your best friend who just wants you coupled up so you can double date with her and her other half or THAT aunty who is no beauty queen herself but is ever so concerned about your BMI that she’d offer to pay for you to see a dietician if only her hubby hadn’t spent their pension fund on hookers, people these days really need to take a lesson in keeping their noses out of it.
As much as we may like to tell our friends, family members, neighbours and randoms on the bus where to stick their opinions on out love life, the truth is relationships don’t exist in a bubble. At some point couples need to surface from beneath the bed covers, face the light of day and interact with other members of the human species. And while we may not be able to stop people voicing their opinions, we certainly have the power to choose whose advice we take heed of and how we let these comments affect us and our subsequent relationship choices. Here are a few factors you may want to consider when deciding who to take seriously and who to ignore:
Who are they? How well do they know you?
We all have a tendency to be a bit blind when it comes to matters of the heart. Sometimes we want something to work out so badly that we ignore the glaring red flags. The people that know us well are probably going to have a good insight into what makes us tick and therefore do have some idea of who we’d be compatible with.
Being told that the smoking hot Adonis you are dating has nothing in common with you is likely to be a hard pill to swallow. However, it’s probably a message that is better coming from your BFF who knows you better than you know yourself rather than the cash cow that helps you pay off your bond each month!
What is their motivation?
Let’s admit we can all be selfish at times. So consider the motivation behind someone’s advice/opinion. What do they have to gain from sharing their pearls of wisdom? Is this friend being a Debbie Downer about your new beau because you are her only friend in the world so she is afraid of losing you? Or has she mopped up your tears enough in the past to spot your patterns and have the foresight to know that this will only end in disaster?
People who are unhappy about their own love lives (or lack thereof) are usually the first to pipe up about another person’s flaws. That witch who questions your relationship status everytime she sees you, well let’s be honest, her marriage is probably on the rocks and she just spotted her husband flirting with you from across the room so just shake if off.
Are they speaking from experience?
So, you think you’ve caught an STD? Whose expert opinion are you going to seek on the matter – that of a medically trained Doctor or your pet parrot? Exactly! People who offer advice should know what they are talking about.
Anyone who has had their heart horrifically broken would probably do just about anything to stop it happening to someone they care about. So, if in the past you’ve wasted half a decade of your life with a deadbeat that promised you that one day he’d make it big and contribute to helping you guys getting that house in the ‘burbs, when you see your bestie going to a similar track with some douche, you aren’t going to keep quiet about it now, are you?
Comments and advice from someone older (maybe) and wiser, who has been there and done that may save you a lot of heartache in the long run whereas listening to a sad spinster who last had a physical contact with the male species over a decade ago well, that’ll probably just lead to nothing more than a dry spell in the bedroom!
The moral of the story here…we live in a world where everyone considers themselves to be an expert on life, so take everything you hear with a pinch of salt. Understand that everyone is shaped by their own experiences and situation so question the motivation behind a person’s words. The majority of what people tell you will be nothing more than unsubstantiated BS which just reflects their own unhappiness. But then there are also those people who are willing to take a risk and be unpopular because they have your best interests are heart. However harsh their words may seem and however much it is not what you want to hear, the fact is that the sentiment behind their advice comes from a good place.
Rinsers – share your thoughts on the matter. Are you tired of people interfering in your love life? Are there people you take more seriously than others? And how do you differentiate between advice/comments that are motivated by self-interest and that which is told with the best of intentions?