Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When Friends Make Bad Decisions.

Alternately titled-- "To Speak Up or Not?"

One of my good friends just lost a friend because she chose to speak.  I lost a friend because I didn't.  So really, what's the best way?  In both of our situations, I think we made the right choice.  I think she was right to speak her mind, and I think I was right not to.  But sometimes I wonder...

So what's the rule?  Do you only speak if your friend is in serious danger?  Going to make life-altering choices that are terrible?  Only if you think they'll listen?  Or anytime you have an opinion, no matter how small?

If you remember, my best friend moved to Las Vegas this summer to begin a Master's program in counseling.  Now four months later, I'm still convinced that she did it to run away from a job that was not good.  I think she would have taken any opportunity that got her away from that situation.  But I never encouraged her to stay, stick it out and try to fix it.  I never told her that if she wanted to truly pursue Christian counseling, that perhaps Las Vegas isn't the appropriate place to get that perspective and training.  I never asked her to stay here where her friends and family live within driving distance.

I have a hard time telling other people what to do with their lives.  I know I'd resent it if someone told me how to live my life, so I said nothing to her.  And now she lives across the country, and we've spoken twice since she left.  

In contrast, Rebekah* did tell her friend Lanie* that she was concerned about Lanie's relationship with her new guy.  And, as feared, Lanie picked the new guy over her long-time friend.  Rebekah and Lanie's friendship is basically over now due to that honesty and concern.

Two different approaches, same outcome.  No more friend.

So which is better?  I wish I knew.  

I also wish I still had my friend.

*Names changed to protect privacy.


  1. I think everyone struggles with this at some point or another and it depends on a lot of factors. I agree with you for not speaking up because it's not really your place to comment on job decisions etc. Maybe, if you were having an honest discussion about it you MIGHT have been able to say "are you sure you're doing this for the right reasons, that's all I'm concerned about" instead of telling her what she should or should not do. People sometimes need help to discover things on their own and by planting a seed, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.
    In terms of a relationship, it's also tricky. I think all of these types of situations depend on your relationship with your friend. And realistically, if you can't say something that is based out of concern for the well-being of a friend without them turning their back on you, what kind of a friend is that anyway??
    My best friend and I are like this with one another....I'm always like "don't get mad at me for saying this, but..." and she almost always says "I'm not mad. I appreciate you being honest with me"...but usually I'm not telling her anything that she isn't self aware about herself. And she knows I have her best interests at heart.
    So....in short, it all depends. And you have to feel out the situation and your friend(s) separately. There's no one right or wrong way and a lot can depend on delivery and the other person's willingness to hear what you have to say. That was a really long comment haha

  2. It is definitely a hard decision and I think it depends on the friend & situation like you said. When my brother got married so quickly I was terrified but at the same time I wanted to support him so I didn't say anything. The marriage ended up not going so well and while it didn't change our relationship, I still don't like seeing him going through so much pain. I know the Bible teaches to admonish one another with love if they're sinning, but what about in these situations when they're not going to sin per se but you just don't think it is a good thing. Very tricky indeed...

  3. I've been in this situation twice in the last month, one with my sister who is like a best friend to me and then another friend that I'm close with her entire family. I told my mom that my sister got a tattoo, because I didn't want to be in the middle of that and I didn't want my mom upset at me for keeping that from her, and I decided to keep quiet about my friend, because I didn't want to be the go-between between her and her mom, because it didn't affect me directly and I wanted this girl to be able to come to me if she was in real trouble, which I didn't think she was in with this situation, I struggled with it though. Having friends as adults is very difficult.

  4. There is never just 1 way to handle these situations. I think your situation and your friend's situation are very different. Your friend is not in "danger" by living in Vegas and getting her masters. Like you said it may not be the ideal place but lm sure she is bright enough to make good choices while there. On the other hand your friend's situation seems like it did involve more "danger." Her friend is/was in a bad relationship and sometimes the person in it can't see it and need to be told by friends. I don't think that person really was/is a good friend to get so mad at someone for giving feedback. I'm sure the feedback came from a concerned place. Ugh bottom line is it is hard. But true friends will be there for each other and I'm sure you and yours will remain friends despite the distance. And maybe she'll move back when she finishes school!?