It may be quite some time ago but I’ll never forget how excited I was to wear a red dress to my matric dance, the way I had always envisioned. When discussing dress colours with my friends at the time, I was told red would make me look completely washed out.
I decided against my little red moment, avoiding the colour for years. Turns out, I look pretty damn good in red, and now you’ll catch me wearing it all the time.
Okay, so maybe my silly little teen story is a questionable one to tell, but it’s a simple example of how letting your friends make choices for you isn’t always the way to go.
We do it all the time.
We need advice on someone - we consult a friend; we need to decide on an outfit - we consult a friend; we need to change our names and flee the country without absolutely anyone knowing - we consult a friend.
All good and well, friendship is about sharing experiences and having one another’s best interests at heart.
But is it something we do a little too much?
Here are some things to consider before seeking friends’ advice:
Trusting in your own decisions is liberating
It’s amazing how we’re given so much freedom of choice and the will to make our own decisions, yet we still feel the need to pick others’ brains.
Constantly asking the next person for an opinion creates a need for their go-ahead and we risk becoming so dependent on others that we stop trusting ourselves. Our intuitions and ‘gut feelings’ are there for a reason, and the more decisions we make for ourselves, the more self-aware we become.
You’re setting yourself up for overthinking
We always have at least a tiny idea of the choices we’d like to make before making them, and allowing others to share their thoughts on those choices may cause us to completely overthink the situation and create an even bigger frustration than before. Perhaps the way to combat this ‘overthinking’ thing many of us seem to do is just to listen to our own feelings.
You’re learning either way
It feels pretty good to revel in the glories of your good choices. Obviously, this isn’t always the case and some of our choices are going to end up in disappointments. Either way, we’re going to learn from them. There’s no guarantee the opinion someone else gives us will work out in our favour anyway.
Are you asking for an opinion or seeking validation?
Sometimes we have our minds set on something but still need that push, that extra bit of validation. We live in a time where it feels like everything we put out there needs to be validated, because social media can be a dark place that has created idealisms for how things should be.
If you’re constantly seeking validation though, it’s probably a deeper issue than wanting a second opinion, and that calls for a little introspection.
Are you asking for advice so you don’t have to take accountability for the ‘wrong’ decisions?
I know that there are a few times I’ve asked friends for an opinion on something I knew wasn’t particularly good, just so that in my mind, I wouldn’t have to take full responsibility for the consequences.
Doesn’t sound too fair, does it? Know that essentially, even if influenced, your choices are still your own and you should take full responsibility for them.
People often make decisions based on their own biases/feelings
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, people tend to provide you with opinions that don’t fully consider you. You can’t expect others to have the most objective views on things they already have strong opinions on; even when it comes to people.
Sometimes it’s better to draw conclusions from your own experiences and not limit yourself with preconceived notions.
Don’t completely ignore your friends’ adviceUnderstandably, there are cases where your friends’ opinions are important, especially when you’re in a toxic situation or one you generally need help with. When it comes to bigger concerns, never be afraid to ask for help from those you love and trust. You never have to suffer alone.
Remember that it’s important we make our decisions because at the end of the day, we’re the ones who have live with them. Also, don’t let anyone tell you red isn’t your colour.
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