And I don’t think it’s because any of us are really all that ridiculous or stupid.
I think it’s because sometimes we just want a little more adventure. Sometimes we want a little more drama. Sometimes we want a little more attention. And sometimes we want a little more love.
And maybe want isn’t the right word. I think sometimes we all need those things.
We need those things because we all need to be validated. And as crazy as it sounds, more adventure, drama, attention, and (of course) love validates us.
We’re not naïve. The majority of the time we know that our stupid and ridiculous life decisions are just that. Stupid and ridiculous.
We know that they’re rash.
We know that they might end okay but that they will probably end in disaster.
We know that they are unhealthy.
We know that they are the last thing any sane person would recommend we do.
And when we make these big life moves, we all really want the same thing, don’t we?
We want people to tell us, “we’re with you; we support you; we’re there for you.”
When we date that train wreck of a person, we want people to say, “she’s really great for you.”
When we go on a two-month eating binge, we want people to remind us that we’re still so dang beautiful and that they can’t see any difference.
When we drop out of college for no real good reason, we want people to tell us, “you’ll be just fine without it.”
When we attempt to jump onto moving trains and get our legs cut off in the process, we want people to say, “I would’ve done it too.”
Depends on if that life choice affects those around them. Example. Drinking too much (alcoholism). That decision right there affects more than just the person's liver. I've been there, through TWO people's decisions to drink rather than deal with life at all. So yes, telling them they were making a bad decision was the right thing to do. Did it help? Definitely not. But some situations require your input, others will require your support after their downfall (if that happens).
I have lots of friends that come to me for that support and I tell each and every one of them the truth about what I think, that I love them, and that ultimately it doesn't make any difference what I think, what their mom thinks, or what anybody thinks but them because they are ultimately responsible for that decision and it's consequences. I think we all need sounding boards in our lives. I have great ones and I try to be one. Everyone makes mistakes and hopefully they are still there to learn from those mistakes, but sometimes those stupid decisions lead to something even more wonderful than anyone ever could have imagined. I always tell all my friends, "Even if this ends up getting us thrown in jail... we can handle it." And we always have LOL
I agree with all the things you said, but I have a different, slightly similar situation I used to find myself in...When someone breaks up with the "train wreck", we all/I tend to tell them how much better off they are, then when they get back together, I have lost a friend because he/she now knows exactly what I think of their significant other. I learned a long time ago to comfort and uplift a friend without expressing my dislike of the person or situation they chose. It makes it a lot easier to make sure they can still come to me for advice when they need it instead of avoiding me. I would never lie if they asked me straight out what I think, but even the truth would be sugar-coated a little, like ("I wouldn't have been brave [stupid]enough to jump off that roof, but it could have been worse. You could have lost all your teeth [idiot]" or "I don't really go for guys who deal drugs, but even the "good" guy who went to church, had a good job, and sent me flowers had his faults. At least you'll get to meet a lot of different and interesting people [when you both go to jail]".
I'm all for helping people look at all sides of a choice before they make it, and hopefully giving them new ideas or viewpoints, otherwise what's the point of talking to me, and why I talk to them. I love sharing my advice with people :). Then, once we're done, I'm fine with them choosing what works best for them. It's their life, in the same way that my life ismine. What works for me may not work for them and vice versa. I really do hope their "wild and crazy" or "ridiculous and stupid" decisions work out for them and bring them to a place where they are happy, even if it's not always an easy road and not what everyone else would do.
I recently got involved with someone that I knew wasn't what Ireally needed. He wasn't a bad guy, he just wasn't suited for me and Iknew it. I was just tired of being on my own and I decidedbull-headedly to just date him anyway. After about a month in, mysister asked me point blank if this was a relationship that was best forme. And to tell the truth, it mattered that she asked me. I'd beentrying to float by in denial, thinking maybe this would work out afterall, and someone who loved me very much just gently brought up a point Icouldn't deny. She didn't nag or lecture, she just brought up what Ialready know.I think the question is, are we willing to listenand consider what our loved ones say when we're busy making stupiddecisions, or do we just want to see them out until their almostinevitable crash and burn ending? (Mine didn't really crash and burn,but it ended, and it HURT). Totally unnecessary pain, but at least itended sooner than later and I didn't waste too much more time clingingto something that wasn't right. My sister's small nudging made me forcethe truth I knew deep down.
I don't want the people i care about getting hurt and vice versa, so I feel it's my duty to warn of any potential dangers of a decision, but at the same time, I do have to keep in mind that it is their decision and their life and that no one has all the answers. I can only offer omy advice, and even if they don't take it, understand that it was their call to make. Often people forget that though, and concern just turns to criticism and I-told-you-so ammunition.
I usually give my honest opinion when asked. However, I make it a point to let them know that I am with them no matter what they eventually choose to do.
I learned the hard way that its best to just support our friends and family. We may not agree with their decisions but we aren't them. We aren't in their situation and as much as we'd like to believ otherwise, we really don't know what's best for them. Yes, they may be screwing up but that is their mistake to make and learn from. And as hard as it is sometimes the best thing to do is to support them along every step of their journey. Because, after all, it is their journey.
I do think that if a close friend or family member is going down the wrong path, you should at least discuss it with them. Sometimes you "can't see the forest because of the trees" and someone else's perspective can be a very needed wake up call. (If done in the right manner!)
The article made it sound like it was a clear case of "right/wrong." But is it really? A lot of choices are just that--choices. Just because a choice is different than the one I would have made doesn't mean it is wrong. Most choices have a lot of factors behind them and aren't always as black/white as they seem. I think there are certain WRONG life choices(using drugs, staying with an abusive spouse, trying to committ suicide) and that persone needs support, but they need to know that there is a better way! I don't think you should let someone you love DIE in order to learn from their mistakes.
And Dan--it sounds like what you hate the most is the GOSSIP!!!! I agree that if someone is truly concerned about a friend/family's life choice, it should be just discussed with THAT PERSON not everybody else.
I try to keep my opinions to myself for most things, but if I am really truly your friend and I really truly love you sometimes that comes with me letting you know (as nicely as I can) that I don't necessarily agree with what you are doing, but I try to always make sure that they still know that I will still love them and that will not judge them or something, because like you said we all make stupid mistakes.
Honestly, I can say I'm not perfect and I sometimes say stupid things to people when I don't agree with their life choices, but I do know its not really my place since we all need to make our own choices in this life, and I would never tell someone I told you so or talk about them behind their back to show off how I knew better... That's just rude, if you've told them once that you disagree and offer a reasonable reason (lol that sounds funny) as to why you feel that way and that you are only doing so because you care for them and want them to be happy then that should be the end of it.
I do have to say this doesnt apply if they are you underage child, lol. Then they better damn well listen to thier mom/dad! Haha.. Of course I'm not a mom yet (5 more months!!) but that seems reasonable to me. A long as the parent learns boundaries when this kid raches adulthood. Which seems to be the hard part for most of them (moms especially)
We all are allowed our opinions, although unless they ask, I refuse to give them. I happen to think my best friend ismaking a huge mistake going back to her ex. But I also made sure she knew that no matter what she decided, I'd be by her side and support her, because I love her. We all have to make our own mistakes, and hey.. maybe Im wrong! I hate the I told you so's.
I think that it does more harm than good to try to tell people when they're making a mistake. If someone comes to you and is expecting you to be happy for them, and you tell them it's going to be a disaster, it creates bad feelings on both sides and "I told you so" is cold comfort when it's all over.
Here is my take on it. If you prevent the people you love from making mistakes, you are preventing them from learning. Mistakes and questions are the two biggest ways to send a lesson home to us.
I try to do what my dad did; I ask my child (friend, spouse, etc) is this what you want? Have you thought about the consequences of this (good and bad)? Then I am happy for you. In some cases I don't even ask that much. I just try to be excited for their decisions. You see, I have made my own decisions, lived my own life, and I live with the consequences. I would like others to have that same path. I give my kids one piece of advice and it fits for every situation: "You are the one that has to face that person in the mirror and you have to like who you see. As long as what you decide doesn't change how you feel about that person in the mirror you are okay. If what you are doing changes how you feel about that person in the mirror, you might want to rethink your choices in life." This impacted my youngest so much that she got a tattoo on her arm that says to the world, "I'm proud of the things that I have done."
It's okay to make the stupid/crazy/weird decisions as long as we learn from them. They have served their purpose.
I have read most of the comments and I have to say to the people that wished someone had stopped them from making a bad decisions, BS! I do not know anyone who would not married someone because their friends or family said its not a good idea or going back to school or any other major life decision I do know people who have stop talking to friend and family for telling them their stupid for wanting to do something . I think people that say after they have done something that didn't work out, GEE WIIZ someone should have stopped me are just unable or don't want to take the blame for their own actions! It has been my life experience that people will do just what they want to do no matter what! If asked and if only asked will I give my honest opinion and it is always carefully worded so it will not hurt as much and is always followed with but I will support any decision you make, and yes I have lost friends in doing just that! I like to think in life all mistakes are your to make because only you will pay for them in the end! I own all the bad decisions and I know no one could have stopped me at the time I made them and I also have learned from each and everyone. So I think people should just keep their two bit to themselves and let people work things out on their own.
I have to say this is one I'm not fully with you on. While I agree that support is better than unwanted criticism in general, there have been some decisions in my life I wish I had gotten warned about rather than supported on. I am a person who tries to genuinely consider advice given to me by those with whom I am close. I may still disregard it based on my belief in the correctness of my choices, but I may also realize that I'm rushing in headlong, as I tend to do, and change my course. Either way I'll go in more aware. In the last year I have faced the challenging coming due of over a hundred thousand dollars of student loans-- my parents had said, "Go for it!" rather than "Let's look at your possible earnings as an English major and think of alternatives." I also faced a divorce from a man I should not have married-- but when I was hyperventilating at my bachelorette party because I did not want to be married, my family and friends lined up to reassure me it would all be great rather than suggest I think about my concerns more seriously, and my best friend even said recently, "Well, I never liked him, but I didn't think you would listen to me."
One of the reasons I value those friends who are honest with me even if it's not always pleasant is because I know that they will be there for me when I fail, too-- and if I expect/hope them to be there then, they should hope/expect me to be open to not failing as well. The life experiences of others can be shared to make our own experiences go more smoothly. It sounds like what you've faced is nagging and intolerance, especially from those who aren't close. That's not cool. But there are other, truly sincere ways to be an honest, supportive friend and point out that there are other perspectives to consider about life choices.
I will always remember a recovering alcoholic friend of mine who told me that she was no longer friends with those who had enabled her to continue drinking; instead, she had mended friendships with those who, out of loyalty to the person she could be, told her they would no longer be around her when she was drinking, even though they knew it would probably end their relationships with her. They saved her life because they were willing to sacrifice their superficial support for the deeper meaning of friendship: Love.
As a parent you know that we sometimes have to tell our kids stuff they don't want to hear so that they learn how to be better people. It hurts when we watch them not listen to us and they burn their hands or break a bone or get held in from recess, so we try to head off the pain for them. When we get older, our friends hopefully fill that role for us, and perhaps it's a bit cynical to assume that those who would head off our pain are always out to say "I told you so." Sometimes they just want to help us be better people, people who don't get burned.
This is a pretty difficult issue to think through. I disagree completely with the idea that your only job is to support your loved one's bad decisions. It's much better to be honest and risk alienating someone you love than it is to be "supportive" and keep quiet about what you think and let that person go down a path of pain that you've already seen coming. People have such different perspectives and levels of wisdom that sometimes they really do need that voice of truth to speak up and tell them why what they're doing isn't best for them.
On the flip side, though, I totally understand what this post is talking about when it comes to bad motives for calling someone out on their bad choice--and in the end, I think motives are really what it comes down to: are you telling this loved one what you think because you genuinely want to see them make choices that are good for them, or are you just trying to make yourself look like a know-it-all? I know there have been many times in my life when the latter was true, and I didn't even realize I was doing it!
This is a first for me here, but I actually disagree with a lot of this. Oh, I know that we all make stupid decisions, but I think a lot of the time we need people to stop us. I'm not saying we're all masochistic or dramatic or anything, but sometimes we'll be walking down the aisle thinking, "This must be the right thing, because everyone around me is telling me he's great for me. Everyone is being so supportive of this marriage, no one will support me if I walk away."
I can't surround myself with "yes-people". If the people around me are just being supportive without giving me good feedback on what they think, then I don't have any checks and balances. I don't want someone around me who will support my jumping onto a moving train! I want someone who will say, "Are you nuts? I love you, and I'll push your wheelchair if this is truly something you need to do, but stop and really think about it first!!"
I walked away from a bad engagement 3 weeks before the wedding. Everything was moving fast, and everyone was SO supportive and happy that I really felt like there must be something wrong with me that I was so unhappy. Then my dad really looked at me one night and said, "You know, you can do whatever you want, and I'll always back your decision. I love you, kiddo." That was what I needed. Not the knee-jerk, "Congratulations" that everyone else gave, but an honest declaration of love and support.
I actually kind of disagree with this. if people don't want input & opinions on their decisions that haven't yet been followed through on then they need to keep it to themselves. I live my own life but I also value the opinions of those I love.
I don't know about it being someone's place to point it out per se but I think it depends on your intent, if you are just looking for a way to then later be able to say "I told you so" then you should keep your mouth shut. It isn't doing anyone any good, however if you are doing it out of a spirit of love and concern for their well being then that is a different matter entirely. For instance if someone was walking toward the edge of a cliff you would warn them or try to stop them. If for some reason you were unable to prevent them from making the decision to keep walking, then out of love maybe you would give them a rope or perhaps a parachute. You would still do something because you love them, not because you want to rub it in their faces later that they are wrong. It then becomes more important that you love them than it does that you have warned them.
If they ask my advice, and we have that type of honest relationship,I'm going to tell them. Why? Because they asked me. It's not that they TOLD me "hey I'm going to do this thing" and then expected a response. It's that they ASK "So, I'm thinking about doing this thing. What do you think?" There's a difference, imo. And...well, currently I have a family member going through a thing that is bad and I can't help her or tell her what to do. What I CAN do is tell her that I will support her, whatever choice she makes, even if I don't agree with it. Because it's not me who has to live with the consequences of that action, it's her, and it's not my place to try and force her into anything.
What did you do??? LOL I dunno about the jumping in front of a train part ... but I get the point. Good one!! Keep ranting ...
This reminds me of a quote I heard recently: The world judges the decisions I have made, but nobody knows what the choices were.
When my daughter (then 18) called to say that she was getting married, I said "congratulations" without being snarky or sarcastic. Did I think it was a good idea? Heck no! Did she know what I truly thought? Goodness, yes :) Did she really think she was making a good choice? Not at all. But my pointing out all of that would not have changed her decision. And not pointing it out made it easier to face that it was a bad choice later and made it easier to come to me for support when she needed it.
I very rarely tell people whether or not "I" think they're making good life decisions. I have to care pretty deeply about the person and feel very strongly that they're making the wrong decision before I'll tell them my thoughts. Sometimes it's that one friend who said, 'no, don't do this' that brings them to their senses. But more importantly, I'd like to add, my kindness and love is NEVER retracted if they don't make the choice I would have preferred. A friend of mine once bitterly added, Well, you were right." after engaging in a miserable relationship that the world could see was going to end in disaster. All I could do was reply, "yep, but you're a stronger person for making it out in one piece (mentally)." She and I are still great friends. We know we don't need eachother's approval, but we still freely share our advice. It's their life/their business. It's my job to be there when the flourish or when they fall with every bit of support I can give.
I think the mix between the love and the "told you so" are a lot more blurred than you might think. No one wants to see people they care about get harmed by those big stupid decisions, and often the motivations comes from linking their own big stupid decisions to the current situation. Rarely does anyone ever link to the big decision that turned out well, it is almost always the doom that is the first thing to come to mind. I try usually to take a good look at my motivations before I open my mouth in these types of situations, because if I think the decision really is harmful and it isn't motivated by some weird self fear, I feel like it is the job of a close friend to at least say something - also I generally try to say things in the form of questions or suggestions rather than judgement as I have found that generally my fear of "this is going to fail so amazingly" is coming more from a place of "hey, I bombed out in X situation because I never thought of Y - so have you considered Y? - ok then - have at it and good luck" and in general I have good enough friends that when the "i told you so" demon does occasionally get loose they don't hold it against me :)
Personally, I think that you have to be let to f**k things up, just so you'll learn. That's not an "I told you so" moment, but a lesson learned...so sometimes those rash, stupid decisions aren't so bad. Sometimes.
I watch a family member make one of those decisions...one that has repercussions not only for them, but their child too. As much as I want to jump in there and give them a good shake, and say "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?", I can't. I won't. Because it's not my place to do so. What I can do, is be there to listen if they need it, and if, IF, they ask for my opinion on what's going on, give it.
Should it all fall apart, I'm not going to say "I told you so", I'll be there to help pick up the pieces. If it all goes well, I'll be there to cheer them on.
It's that simple.
@CherylDellinger See... I'm 21, been engaged for almost a year and a half [to the man I've been with for four years now, lived with for almost three] and we plan to get married a year after he returns from this deployment, so our wedding will be Summer of 2014. Not a single member of my family managed even a smile or a congratulations - even though they all love him [actually love, not faking-it-for-me love]. I wish I'd had someone to show my ring to and be giddy with. It's made the whole thing rather depressing.
@erika_designs @CherylDellinger Giant CONGRATULATIONS! Military life isn't easy, but I wouldn't trade what we've got for the world. For goodness sakes, every time he comes home from deployment or from a field exercise, it's like another honeymoon for a week or more. Plus, when he's gone, I get to remember that yes, I'm awesome and I CAN live my own life on my own two feet. Enjoy the ride!