Dear Slightly Exasperated,
A Good Friend Is...
In my opinion, a good friend is someone who will let me make my own mistakes, offer their opinions and advice and support and love me unconditionally no matter what my choices are, even if (or perhaps especially if) they do not agree with them. The last thing anyone needs from their friends is judgement.
You May Be Right
You believe in your heart that your friend is making a mistake that is, rushing into something that may not work out for him. You may be right...he may be rushing into something. (It certainly sounds like he is).
You Can't Stop Him from Making Mistakes
However, you also have to realize that you can't stop him from making his own mistakes. Some choices people will make on their own...and whether or not it becomes a mistake or a bad choice, it's still their choice to make it.
Your Friendship Depends on Your Reaction
You also mention that you want all the happiness for him in the world, AND that he is on Cloud 9 right now. Perhaps he might get knocked off that cloud down the line, but in the meantime...that happiness you wish for him, he has.
Be happy for him that he's found something good right NOW. The future will unfold as it will, and his choices will take him in any direction...but your friendship could depend on how you react to his choices.
Hard To Watch a Friend in a Bad Situation
I have a friend who is in an incredibly bad relationship. She knows it. She understands that it's wrong, and that she should get out. But she chooses to stay. She's actually lost a few other friends because they can't deal with her choice.
I Never Judge My Friend
However, she tells me on a regular basis that she loves our friendship because I never judge her. I hurt for her, I'm angry for her...but never AT her for staying. I have my own opinions and I tell her what I feel and what I think. I hate the fact that she's in such a bad situation, and I hate the fact that she doesn't believe in herself enough to walk away from it.
Friends Need Love and Support
However, I also know that the one thing she needs from me is my friendship...my love and my support. So while I will continue to tell her that I believe she deserves the best in life, I also leave it up to her to make her own choices. I may not like them, I don't like them as a matter of fact, but ultimately my job as a friend isn't to tell her how to live her life. It's to support her in whatever she chooses to do and to be sure that I am there when she needs me.
A Friend He Can COUNT On
How can you be a good friend...the most simple way to be a friend is to be there for him. Support him in his decisions, even when you are afraid of the consequences he might face.
He might get hurt, yes. He may be rushing into things, yes. But right now, he's happy..and he wants you to share in that happiness.
You can tell him how you feel, you should tell him how you feel...but also let him know that you support his choices and his decisions, whatever they are.
Don't judge him. You aren't in his shoes, in his heart, or his head. No matter what WE might see in other people, they seldom have the same viewpoint.
What I Was Taught
I was taught from a very young age to ask for as many opinions as I could get, talk to as many people as I could to see differing sides of things, and then take it all in, and make a choice that was right for me based on my own heart and my gut instincts. Sometimes, I got hurt; sometimes, I wished I had chosen differently. But in every case, the choice was mine and all I really wanted from those who love me was support.
If I am happy (however fleeting it might be) I want to experience that happiness fully, and I want to know that whether or not my friends agree with my choices, they will recognize my own responsibility for my life.
So when I try to think about how to be a friend to someone else, that is what I give them. My love, my friendship, and my unconditional support when they need me. The friend I mentioned earlier: I tell her how I feel, I tell her what I see, and what I hope for her, and I also will never judge her for staying in a relationship that is abusive. It's not my place to judge. It's just my place to be there when she needs me.Click here to see the full question & other panelists' responses.
What do you think of Answer?