One of the keys to a lasting friendship is believing that your friends act in good faith whenever they give you advice. Unfortunately, this is also a good way to get yourself in trouble. Well, this isn’t always the case, of course—but a psychiatrist friend of mine has once lamented how a lot of her patients nowadays are people who followed the advice of their closest friends, only to find themselves in more trouble than they can handle…

Okay… first of all, let’s set aside cases where somebody’s “closest friends” turns out to be “psychopath wolf in sheep’s clothing”. That’s a whole different ballgame there. Still, even our most trusted and beloved friends can give us bad advice. Our friends may have no intent to hurt us, but they may also have no idea of what is good for us. Remember, just like ourselves, our friend also have their own fears, beliefs, expectations, and biases… Whether they realize it or not, they may have their own ideas of how we should live our lives. And this leads to incorrect assumptions about what would make us happy. This is why, for example, some friends can be really pushy about hitching up their single friends.

More often than not (almost always, actually) our friends are simply trying to help us, and advice from people who’ve managed to keep their lives running smoothly might be worth listening to. But just because they know how to manage their lives doesn’t automatically mean that they know what’s best for us, right? So, advice sharing is, in my opinion, tricky ground and should not be entered lightly. Be careful when taking advice, and be even more thoughtful when trying to dispense advice…

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