Advice for the Meddling Friend

Advice for the Meddling Friend

We may just be trying to help, but sometimes there’s a limit.
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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 At some point the excuse of “I’m just trying to help,” is no longer valid.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.

Cover Image Credit: s1.favim.com

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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7 Hilariously Dramatic Reactions To Trump's Presidency

Funny Liberal Reactions From When Trump Won the Presidency

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Before I got to Villanova's campus, I found myself in a group chat with other conservative future Villanovians. One of our conversations was about how our peers reacted to the result of the 2016 presidential election. Here are 7 of the most over dramatic ones!

1. "Somebody called me a racist b**** because I said I wasn't sad after the 2016 election." -MK

Come on people. You yell at us for stereotyping everyone and you're doing the same thing!

2. "My school was almost shut down because teachers were 'emotionally unstable' for the whole week [after the election]." -CS

This is just plain over dramatic...

3. "A teacher at my sister's school brought a 'Congratulations Hillary' banner the day before the election, then cried the day after." -NK

Adults crying over politics... very mature.

4. "We didn't have family Christmas one year because my aunt refused to be in a house with Trump supporters." -SH

haha. I don't really know what to say to this...

5. "The day after the election our principal made an announcement that we should be kind because 'it was a sensitive day for everyone' and whoever wore a Trump hat was sent to the office and written up." -CS

Schools really gotta quit pushing their liberal views on everyone.

6. "For AP Gov we took a trip to DC and all the liberals were crying when a bunch of us wore Trump hats." -MR

Chill out guys come on.

7. "I wore a Trump hat to school after the election and people kept trying to rip it off my head and kept calling me racist." -JB

Very mature guys.

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