I never doubt that my friends have good intentions, but they're not always on point when it comes to giving me dating advice.
When I started dating a guy in January of last year, I had no idea what I wanted. But one thing was for sure: I was smitten.
It was the kind of thing where I would wake up each day smiling. My co-workers, loved ones and friends told me I was glowing.
My phone would ding and I wouldn't even have to wonder — I knew it was a message from him (probably a funny meme or a text about Drake dropping a new song).
I was that girl smiling on the train ride home. I was so happy, and he was the reason. I never thought I would have so much in common or have "chemistry" with someone until I met him.
I was with him for almost a year and that glow lasted from the first date all the way until we stopped seeing each other. You could say that's a short amount of time, but time doesn't measure feelings. I fell in love for sure.
When we first met, I was pretty new to dating, so I thought I just wanted to have fun and meet some cool guys. (That's how it always is until you find the right person, I suppose.)
But after three months I realized, Hey, I really like him... I guess a relationship doesn't sound that bad after all.
It wasn't what I was expecting or wanting out of dating — I just wanted to have fun. I didn't know what to do.
I told him how I felt, and we both agreed that we made each other happy, so we could do this without titles.
I was okay with it. My friends, on the other hand, were not.
"If he cares about you, then why doesn't he just make you his girlfriend?"
"If he's not putting a title on it, that means he's just waiting for something better."
"He only likes you enough to sleep with you, but not more than that."
My friends said all of these things despite never having met this guy. Looking back, they were talking about their own experiences, and just because they needed a title for their relationships, it didn't mean I did.
But soon, their nagging questions made me feel like I didn't know my own emotions, that my heart was clouding my judgment and I was just stupid in love.
If my friends keep telling me to break things off, I thought, there has to be a reason for it. Even though my gut was telling me I had a good thing going, I chose to take my friends' advice.
They knew best, right?
So, I made the trek to my guy's apartment one evening with this ultimatum: either be with me completely or leave me alone.
We were at a point in our "relationship" where we knew exactly how to comfort each other if we were stressed out. He was there for me when I was having a breakdown about not knowing what I wanted to do with the rest of my life; I was their when he was grieving two deaths.
So immediately, he could tell something was off. I seemed distant.
"I have feelings for you. I know it's not fair to you because we agreed on not having a relationship, but it's also not fair to me...," I said, barely able to get the words out (and I'm the type of girl who never runs out of words to say).
I didn't want things to end, but I was now convinced they had to because of what my friends kept telling me: he didn't really care for me, and this unrequited love would break me.
I wasn't making any sense.
"I really like being with you, and I don't want to stop," he responded before we spent the night together.
"See you soon," he said to me the next morning.
His words were all I needed, but when I told my friends what happened, they weren't happy because I didn't leave with him as my boyfriend.
"So nothing was resolved really, he's just going to keep using you."
"If he likes being with you so much, why doesn't he actually make it happen?"
"He's playing you, and he's been playing you this whole time."
For the next three months, he kept asking to see me and I refused. I told him — and myself — this was what was best for me. He asked me why things had to be this way or why they had to end. I told him that I couldn't do this to myself and I needed more.
But, in truth, I was miserable.
Now, it's been one year since that "relationship" ended, and I'm still regretting my decision to let him go.
My friends admit that they should have never told me to break things off. They see how much losing him has affected me to this day, and they hate seeing me so unhappy.
Because of what happened, I have vowed to never tell a friend who they can or cannot be with.
I can fucking hate my friend's boyfriend, but unless I know that boyfriend is abusive or cheating, I will fully support their relationship.
Trying to force your friends into a breakup is not something a good friend should do. You're projecting your feelings onto a person you know takes your opinions very seriously, and it's manipulative.
First, you don't know their relationship. A relationship is between two people — you're not involved, so you honestly can't say you know what's going on.
Plus, when people talk about their relationships with their friends, it's usually to vent about their problems, not to gush about how great things are going. So, it's only natural you're not going to have the best impression of your friend's significant other.
But, that doesn't mean you should meddle in their problems to the point of breaking them up. It's your place to help your friend through hard times — not misguide them to decisions that will make them go through hard times.
Second, if you're push your friend to break up with someone and they follow through on that advice, they will resent you if they end up regretting it.
They'll always feel some sort of bitterness towards you because you encouraged them to give up on someone who made them happy.
Finally, if you're a good friend, you'll just want them to be happy, regardless of who they date.
I would rather let my friend be happy with their significant other — and be their shoulder to cry on if it doesn't work out — than be the one who is banking on their breakup.
A good friend will support you no matter what, and will still be there if everything falls apart. They'll let you make your decisions on your own because you're the one living your life, and they won't tell you what to do because they think they know what's best.
Imagine if your friend and her SO actually end up working out? You could be the one who believed in them, and she will appreciate you so much for that.
Be that friend.