It starts off as advice.
Our best friend comes to us with a relationship problem. They open our eyes to the innards of their relationship, allowing us a private screening to the chaos. It’s a classic scene: the best friend is in tears, crying on the shoulder of their trusted confidant (the part we play). They paint the picture of a horribly unhappy relationship; a no-win scenario for themselves or the significant other. Of course, they’re your best friend. The thought of someone, especially a boyfriend or girlfriend, making them feel miserable in turn sparks feelings of anger and discontent in your own heart. You give advice accordingly, depending on the situation, expecting your best friend – the person who trusted you and your opinions enough to tell you their problems in the first place – to take said advice.
Chances are, the advice you’ve just given will have to be repeated ten times over. The same problems arise again and again, and the more you give your best friend your words of wisdom, asked for or not, the less effective they seem. At some point the excuse of “I’m just trying to help,” is no longer valid.
Whether we like to believe it or not, we’re meddlers. We’ve all been there. So, what do we do instead?
1. Getting mad doesn’t help
As frustrating it is for us – the group of meddling friends – getting exasperated with your best friend for still having these problems or for not taking your advice is not going to help. If anything, it is only going to impact your relationship with your best friend. You have to think to yourself: which is more important, getting your two cents heard in another’s relationship or the relationship you have with your best friend?
2. Learn to let go
It isn’t your relationship. Your best friend and their significant other did not intend to have a third person involved with them when they started dating. If your friend chooses not to listen, understand that it is their choice. Once you’ve said your piece, disengage. It is not worth your mental health to be so invested in a relationship that, ultimately, does not impact your life.
3. Don’t offer advice so freely
Some of us need to realize that sometimes our best friends just want to vent. After so many times of sounding like a broken record, maybe don’t give your guidance so easily. Until the words, “can I have advice?” are uttered, concentrate on just being there for your friend. They are hurting, and they are looking to you to be their confidant that will simply listen without judgment.
4. Just be a good friend
Meddling sounds like such a negative word, but your friend knows it's coming from love. But remember, you can show love without interjecting into another two peoples' relationship. Be there in his or her time of need, and be the loving, understanding friend they know you to be.