In the last couple of months, I’ve been approached by at least two different friends for relationship advice. When this happens, I feel several things at once:
- I’m glad that this person trusts me enough to share some of the most intimate details of their life and relationship.
- I’m flattered that they think I might have some insight that can help them figure out their issues.
- I wonder how they see my relationship with my husband. Does something about it make me seem more qualified to answer their questions and give advice?
- And finally, sometimes (not always, but sometimes) I feel a little overwhelmed. What if I tell them exactly what I think and end up inadvertently hurting them? What if I give them bad advice based solely on the one side of the story I’m hearing?
Despite any reservations I may have, I actually enjoy giving relationship advice. I like feeling as though I’ve helped a friend out in some way (even if the only thing I end up doing is listening to them vent). I also like the fact that discussing this sort of thing allows for a lot of sharing. I’ve been accused
once or twice many times of oversharing, and this is one of the only times in which it’s actually acceptable. I’m not saying I start telling them every detail of my sex life or all the things that make my relationship work (or, conversely, all the things that caused my previous relationships to fail) … But I do share personal stories that they might find helpful in their particular situation.
But here’s the thing … I’m not sure I’m really qualified to give relationship advice. I don’t know everything there is to know about making a marriage (or even a dating relationship) work.
Here’s what I do know:
- I’ve been in 3 serious relationships. One of them ended in marriage.
- I’ve been in several not-so-serious relationships.
- I’ve dated casually. This really wasn’t my thing.
- I’ve broken at least one heart.
- I’ve had my own heart broken.
There’s probably more to add here, but that’s enough for now. The point is, I’ve been around the block a few times. And I (mostly) mean that in the least slutty way possible. I may not be Carrie Bradshaw, but I do have some experience to draw from. So while I’m not going to sit here and say I give the best advice in the world, I think there’s something to be said about the fact that many of my friends have come to me for relationship advice over the years.
And I like to think that maybe some of my advice was helpful.