Jan 042013 12 Responses

Love Your Friends, Don’t Listen to Them

Your friends don’t know what they are talking about.

They mean well. They have your best interests at heart. You wouldn’t trade them for the world. Friends are wonderful. Anyone willing to be a true friend deserves nothing but your absolute loyalty and devotion. You will never regret loving a friend.

But don’t listen to them.

Friends are great companions, but they are often horrible counselors. They give bad advice. They encourage poor decisions. They make the same mistakes we make.

The qualities which make someone a potential friend also makes them a poor guide. We befriend people like us. Our friends generally have the same income, drive similar cars, have the same hobbies, vote like us, and see the world like us. By befriending people like us we tend to have great fun.

However, what creates great fun does not often create great wisdom. Friends are excellent sympathizers but horrible advisors. They are bad advisors because they are like us. They often struggle with the same struggles, have the same weakness, and are prone to the same blind spots.

What makes them great at friendship makes them horrible at advice.

When I was a kid, everyone on the golf course would try to give me advice. They were adults and I was a child, it made sense. I would always listen and try to apply what they said until one day it hit me: if you can’t beat me, you shouldn’t instruct me. I instituted a new rule—I don’t listen to you unless you can beat me.

Its a rule that works beyond the golf course.

  • Don’t take marriage advice from someone in a struggling marriage.
  • Don’t get a stock tip from someone in debt.
  • Don’t receive career counseling from someone unhappy with their job.

Find an advisor who is an expert in the area in which you need advice. You don’t have to like them, enjoy them, or want to be like them. They are not your friend; they are your advisor.

If your marriage is struggling, listen to someone who is happily married or seek the advice of a counselor who has helped many couples on the verge of divorce. Do not take counsel from your friend whose marriage is just as bad as yours.

My friend should be my friend; advice about life should be left to the experts.

“Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war,” Proverbs 20.18.

 

12 Responses to Love Your Friends, Don’t Listen to Them
  1. [...] from wise people or ignoring the advice of wise people because we are listening to our friends (See Here... kevinathompson.com/how-darr-you-a-bill-a-signature-and-a-reminder-about-leadership
  2. [...] Clarify relationships. Understanding where one’s allegiance lies is vital for decision making. It ... kevinathompson.com/what-a-timeshare-presentation-taught-me-about-bad-decisions
  3. [...] listen to your friends. They mean well, but friends rarely give good marriage advice. They lack the... kevinathompson.com/when-a-marriage-falls-apart
  4. […] Love your friends, but don’t listen to them. Generally speaking, your friends are no smarter ... kevinathompson.com/you-are-bad-at-decision-making
  5. […] It’s in these moments in which we should be quick to seek the wisdom of others. Remember, this... kevinathompson.com/life-falls-apart
  6. Joshua Eastwood Reply

    Well it is like this, being a genius like myself I meet so many brainless morons or dummies. The only reason I give good advice to some people is because they listen and appreciate it. If you are a genius too, who gives good advice with the sole purpose of helping your fellow human being then you extol the very best in yourself and us fellow geniuses who know much more than the idiots out there.

    Some of the “El Dummo’s” are so stupid at times being a genius like myself and other advice giving geniuses that when we come across a stupid moron who is getting around with their head stuck where the sun don’t shine. Then just think how as a genius advice giver just how much superior you are to these low lives.

    Keep up the good work and ignore the dumb idiots. There are other people out there that will heed your advice, and whilst not quite as smart as you are at least they will appreciate the advice you take the time and trouble to give.

    After all YOU like myself are a genius

  7. […] Why call a pastor for premarital counseling when you can call a professional? While I might be bette... kevinathompson.com/pastor-premarital
  8. followyourgutfeeling Reply

    Learn this the hard way today, missed out on some big cash for listening to my friends, but I have no one else to blame but me for not listening to my gut feeling.

  9. Niki Reply

    I think that oftentimes, people listen to their friends who are also in the bad marriage, have made the poor life choice, are also in debt, etc. for the very reasons you stated that they shouldn’t: they want someone who will back up their poor decisions rather than someone who will disagree with them, give them different advice, or lead them in a different and better direction. Then they can look at their decisions and say, “Well if so-and-so has done the same thing, then I can’t be all wrong.”

  10. Marjorie Reply

    Hm, I see this theoretically might be true, but not so much in my experience. Hey, we all have positive things and attributes in our life too right? Hopefully its not all failed marriages and bad debt. So by the same argument our friends are more likely to share these positive traits too. And for sure my friends don’t always agree with me. That annoys me all the time hah! But seriously they give me a valuable twist on my own perspective. And I’m pretty sure I do the same for them.

  11. Julia Reply

    I completely disagree. Everyone is different, and no while your friends are more than likely not professionals, that does NOT mean that they are incapable if giving good advice. It does not at all mean that you should ignore them like a sack of dog turds and leave them out like that, especially if they try and help you…it’s just cruel and insulting. To be honest you can make awful decisions too, so, don’t act like you’re past that. So sometimes your friends can offer decent advice, they don’t have to be professionals, or geniuses. It is good to listen to others advice and words, that doesn’t mean you have to TAKE their advice, but it is important that you get a sense of another’s perspective and take it in, whether you agree with it or not. If you never listen to your friends…that’s not a friendship, friendship comes from care, trust, and communication..and there cannot be any of that if you do not listen to each other. You can’t just be like “oh I love you, buuut…nothing you say matters. I don’t value your opinion! :D”. Also it’s pretty rude to say that all of our friends are idiots, as to be honest you did just insult yourself too, and everyone in the world who has, friends, who is also a friend to someone. Sometimes, advice just comes down to common sense, logic and evaluation, it’s not rocket science.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Julia, thanks for the comments. I mean to insult myself in the article. My point is that there are just some issues where we need a professional or someone who knows more than us. Friends can give good advice but on many occasions, they give very bad advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.