Listening to Friends, And Yourself

It is my nature, when I’m not sure how to handle a situation, to consult with close friends. It is also my nature to have a lot of close friends. And it is also my nature to, especially when it comes to dating, run into a good number of situations that I’m not sure how to handle.

As you might imagine, this can make things complicated.

I feel fortunate to have many people in my life in whom I can confide. (To say noting, even, of my virtual confidantes–bless your invisible souls.) And a lot of people whose opinions I sincerely trust.

This blessing does, however, leave me with a curse. Namely: the problem of what to do when these opinions contradict one another. Which, or course, they inevitably do.

In a recent “situation,” I found myself the recipient of advice ranging from the wisdom that I should probably never speak to a person again, to that I should probably marry him and laugh about all of it over a champagne toast at our wedding.

At the time, I was understanding of both attitudes–and sympathetic to neither. I was not ready to blow him off entirely, nor was I ready to affirm a meaningful commitment.

I’m sure that much of the advice I got fell somewhere in between: I’m generally drawn, after all, to people who are not especially ideological.

But still, I felt that to act in one direction would be to betray my friends who suggested otherwise, and vice versa. When I finally did make a move, I was reluctant to get in touch with those whose wisdom I had not heeded, for fear they would question my behavior.

Which, I know, is truly silly. Because I know that pretty much any of my friends will continue to support me even when I act in a way they might consider unwise. Lord knows I’ve done it before, and lord knows I’ll do it again. It is utterly foolish–and unnecessary–for me to worry about harsh judgment from any of my closest confidantes.

I know this. And because I know this, I have to say that, in all sincerity, my supposed concern about friends’ opinions is probably more a manifestation of my own anxiety about whatever it is I’m doing. If I’m hesitant to tell A, for example, that I’m giving another chance to a guy she was adamant I dispense with entirely, it is probably less out of concern for our friendship and more out of real fear that she was probably right.

After all, I know she knows–as I do, too–that none of us can follow all the advice we’re given, however sage. Ultimately we each have to listen to whatever instinct our own gut ultimately gives.

Hearing that instinct clearly, though, can be difficult. (Especially if, like me, you’re a Libra. The whole scales thing might be intellectually interesting, but emotionally let me tell you it is quite inconvenient.)

Which, again, is why I’m thankful to have a bounty of (opinionated) friends to help me figure it out.

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