From a young age, I’ve been intrigued by psychologists.
I believed them to be superheroes who could read minds. An attractive trait, indeed.
And you didn’t have to be bitten by a spider to develop this power. Or to be struck by lightning. All you had to do was study for 4 years.
A year or so ago, I started to watch a YouTube channel called Psychology in Seattle, where Dr Kirk Honda reacted to popular reality shows. I often enjoy the occasional reaction video, but this man is different.
He reacts to trashy reality shows — 90 Day Fiancé, The Bachelorette — I wouldn’t consider watching on my off-time. While he does this, he pauses to break it all down as an experienced couple’s therapist.
During one of these episodes, he reacted to Darcy from 90 Day Fiancé telling her friend about her relationship problem with her boyfriend, Jesse. Dr Honda explained how, in situations like this, friends are “triangulated” in and this could cause further issues. He said (and don’t quote me on this), “These types of friends are why therapists like me will always be in business.”
That was a moment of awakening for me. Yes, talking to friends can be emotionally rewarding, a relief to be validated, but it does come with the pressure to act and think a certain way from then on. It all made sense.
. . .
Picture this. You have a boyfriend who has been an absolute sweetheart for the past 100 days. On the 101st night, you get in a fight over … say, pineapples on pizza. The argument slowly snowballed into a bigger issue about how you feel like he values his phone calls with his friends more than he does your romantic quality times. He told you about how ridiculous you are being and that hurt your feelings.
So what did you do? Pissed off, you went out of the house to meet a friend, to take a break from your boyfriend. Your friends asked questions: why the sudden hangout? Is everything alright? And the truth burned on the tip of your tongue. So you confided in your friend, told her about this fight and she responded, outraged.
“How dare he?” she gasps. “After everything you have done for him? I’m telling you, men like that need to be put in their place.”
What your friend did here was paint an unpleasant image of your boyfriend. A guy who had been sweet to you for the past 100 days. You had a fight that was your fault just as much as it was his.
At this point, you might feel a bit better. Your friend validated your feelings. She showed you that no, you’re not crazy to be mad. He is wrong and he shouldn’t have done what he did.
Except, she might go further to say, “Any guy would love to have a girl like you. I mean, look at you! You are gorgeous. Kind. Smart. Your trash boyfriend can go to hell.”
That might be going too far. You may think it. But how do you stop your friend now? You were the one who trash-talked your boyfriend in the first place. You were the one to confide in her, invite her opinion. Now, you sort of sit down and take it.
What you may not realize is that her words are getting to you. They’re slowly taking over your perspective of him. Or you’re feeling pressured that you’re still with him. Each time you see her, your boyfriend by your side, she gives him a sneer. And you know, you’ve tainted his image. He is now no longer redeemable.
Your friend’s words gnaw at all hours of the day. Each time he makes a joke at your expense. Prior to your conversation with the friend, you might have laughed along with him. You found him to be funny, maybe adorable even. Now you sneer at him too.
He’d be taken aback. He wonders, “That’s new. Did I offend her?” What he doesn’t know is that your friend’s words have already infiltered. They are already on their way towards a breakup.
. . .
I have personally experienced this type of situation. Friends, as pure as their intentions may be, can muddy your opinion of someone, of a situation, of what actions to take.
That is why I make it a point to keep my arguments with someone private. There is no need to invite third-party opinion. Not when they are not a part of the relationship. Not when they have not taken every step in the relationship together with you.
But I have to say. In certain situations, I make an exception to this rule. In certain situation, it may be absolutely necessary to talk to a friend about the problems you are facing. To ask for help.
Because each experience is different from the next.
Each person is different from the next.
Each relationship is different from the next.
Thanks to Tre L. Loadholt.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
You Might Also Like These From The Good Men Project
Join The Good Men Project as a Premium Member today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Unsplash