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Friend’s Opinion: Yay or Nay?

e945f980830811e2977522000a9f308b_7Last night, I did a second dramatic reading from my pink diary (the one pictured in yesterday’s post) for two close girlfriends who I’ve known since maybe forever. We laughed hysterically, often knowing exactly who the entries were referring to, and reminisced about junior high and high school, the boys we thought we loved who sat out in the field with us smoking cloves cigarettes, and eventually noted the relationships we’ve been in and out of and in during more recent years.

Interestingly, both my friends admitted to not really liking certain ex’s of mine. One went so far to say as a few of the guys had “the douche look” about them, another noted she’d like some guys I’d dated but that many had ceased to have her appreciation after a few months. I was quite surprised by this news, as in the moment of those relationships perhaps my friends might have pointed out why the relationship wasn’t necessarily good for me, but they never came out and said, “Kinda think that guy is a pretentious pile of pecan pie who thinks he’s the whole slice a la mode.”

In stark contrast, on the road Megan and I discuss my dates in detail afterward, and it seems to me that Megs holds very little back.* Like, not only would she willingly compare a guy to unattractively presented pie, but she’s wont to say “I don’t like that guy. Period. Here’s why: He didn’t listen to a damn word you said, he was more interested in yammering on about himself than letting you express an opinion and did you see him pick his nose before immediately opening a door? No loss if he never contacts you again, and really, I have to recommend you don’t bother messaging him.”

Styles of opinion-expression vary, and it’s hard to know just how much weight to give an opinion of a friend. No one is in your relationship (or on your date) besides you. So in some ways, while I deeply value the thoughts of my friends, I know they’re not the end-all, be-all what “is” and what “is not.” However, our friends do have the ability to see situations with clarity we tend to lack when our emotions are involved. The sheer fact that a friend is not in your relationship allows them to shed light on a different perspective.

But are opinions – whether rave review worthy or two thumbs down – helpful? Are they worth hearing? And is it even a friend’s place to dish their thoughts? I grapple with this as a friend myself: what is more important, support or an opinion?¬†There’s something to be said for the friends who don’t coddle. But there’s also something to be said for the friends who allow you to like who you want to like. There are merits to both ways, and honestly, I think we need both to create a happy medium. In the end though…I guess I’m not convinced either actually matters so long as you’re content, safe, and healthy.

I might be wrong.

*This is one of the reasons Megs intrigues me as a human. She is blunt (sometimes to a fault) but I’m not often left wondering what she thinks about any given situation or person. Megan is remarkably different than the people I know at home, and she has a different take on interactions. It’s both jarring and causes me to think in a manner I might not otherwise, which I am grateful for.

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