If there’s one thing people—and maybe women, in particular—love to give out, it’s dating advice. It probably adds up to months of our lives that we spend receiving dating advice from our friends, our mothers and even our coworkers. When you calculate how much advice that adds up to, you can imagine a good amount of it, however well-intentioned it may be, is not the sage wisdom people think they’re sharing.
Laurel House, relationship expert and author of Screwing the Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love, warns against taking all of the dating advice floating around. “While having a girlfriend as a sounding board is great and can help bring clarity to a problem, talking to the wrong people at the wrong time—and taking their insight as fact instead of opinion—can not only steer you wrong, but completely derail your [relationship].” This doesn’t mean you need to stop listening to your friends’ or mother’s perspectives on things, but it DOES mean you should always take the time to really consider if the advice will be beneficial to your relationship before applying it. Here are five things to consider when looking at a piece of advice.
Are You Playing Games?
A lot of advice given to us comes down to playing a game. Whether it’s “Wait three hours to text back” or “Don’t have sex with them until they…,” following these arbitrary guidelines means reducing your relationship to a set of mindless boundaries that serve no real purpose. Your relationship is not a game of chess.
Are You Telling the Truth?
Some advice will suggest you lie to your significant other, like “Tell them you’re a huge baseball fan too” or “Just don’t mention that you used to date so-and-so.” Nothing helpful has ever come from lying in your relationship. Yes, maybe it bandages an issue but it will always come back. Even small things have their way of resurfacing—and before you know it you’re getting baseball tickets as birthday gifts, and you really can’t stand the game for more than an inning.
Are You Openly Conversing?
Others suggest not to lie outright but rather to just not voice your true opinion sometimes. If you are experiencing an issue that you can’t reasonable assume won’t “work itself out” or go away altogether, it’s best to discuss it with your partner instead of pushing it down out of a fear that you’ll seem needy or—ugh—“crazy.”
Are You Considering Your Partner’s Feelings?
Just because something worked for your friend and her partner does not mean it will work for you. Consider who your partner is and how the advice will affect them. People react to confrontation, stress and information in different ways. Your BFF’s guy may be the type who likes to talk about things right away, but your partner may prefer taking time to gather their thoughts before sitting down to discuss. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to conflict resolution.
Do These People Have a Relationship You Admire?
There are relationships that you see that you admire and there are relationships you see and just know they aren’t healthy. Consider the type of relationship the advice giver has before putting much weight on it. Are they always fighting and bickering, or do they support and encourage each other in a productive way? Think about the possible outcomes of the piece of advice you’re receiving, and whether they align with your #relationshipgoals friends or the couple constantly on the edge of splitsville.
How do you flesh out the good relationship advice from the bad, Feather Girls? Tell us on Facebook!