With a Little Help From Your Friends
We see relationships everywhere in popular media showing the good and the bad; Jim and Pam, Chuck and Blair, and Carrie and Big are three of the more famous fictional couples in the last few decades. Each showing the good and the bad in their relationship.
Talking to your friends about your romantic relationships can be a big factor in getting out of negative relationships like Blair and Chuck. However, facilitating these conversations can be hard to even start. Organizing your thoughts before going into the conversation can help you know what you want to add to the conversation and get out of it as well. Talking to a friend that you trust can be the best place to start.
Communicating with friends in an open space where each person feels comfortable is very important. No matter whether you take the advice of your friends or not, communicating with someone outside of the relationship can give you a new and different perspective on your situation.
One of the scariest parts of talking with someone about your personal life is often not knowing if they will understand you or judge you for what you are sharing with them. As people we can’t help being judgmental. It’s normal for everyone to at some point feel judgment when a friend expresses an opinion, wears an outfit, or dates someone we aren’t a fan of. Expressing these thoughts in a positive manner is where it becomes difficult. If you find yourself starting to judge while a friend shares something with you try these three steps: actively listen to the conversation, let the other person explain the whole story, and when sharing your statement avoid stating it as a fact.
But talking with mentors, family, or anyone that can add a new perspective can strengthen your opinions and thoughts. We are around our friends a large amount of our daily lives, especially if we go to school with them. By having a conversation with a mentor, they can add a different angle to the situation that our friends can’t. They have probably been in the same scenario as you.
When we talk to our friends about our relationships we often only talk about the bad side of the relationship. This is very normal; in conversation we normally talk about the bad things going on in our lives too. But, sharing the healthy parts of the relationship too can give clarity to your friends when they give input in a problem that arises. It can also be reassuring for your friends to know that even if you complain sometimes, you’re happy with your partner. Listening to the other participants in the conversation is also very essential. Allow your friends to talk about their relationships as well as yours. And make sure to give your input on their situation with the type of thought and kindness you hope that they give to you.
Remember that couples in shows are there for entertainment. They are not real people, simply fictional characters. You should not measure your relationship off of theirs or place value on things or gestures simply because you’ve seen it happen on TV or in a movie. Instead talk to the real people in your lives to get advice on your relationship or just talk about what is happening in your life.
Chloe Bautista is a senior at Walt Whitman High School in Maryland. She is a member of the field hockey team and a part of the Girl Up club. She plans to study public policy and digital analytics in college and is interning at Power to Decide to spread the awareness of the non-profit.