Why People Can Still Give Good Relationship Advice Even When They're Bad At Relationships
Do you have that one friend that is just awesome at giving really good relationship advice but can't seem to hang on to a relationship to save her life? I'm pretty sure we all have a friend like that. In fact, I was that friend. I was always really good at giving relationship advice but pretty terrible at actually being in a relationship myself (until I got married). I actually liked being totally single and free most of the time, so I'd pretty much destroy any real relationship before it ever had the possibility of blossoming.
But man, I was good AF at giving my friends advice. Mostly it's because I think people are generally terrible to each other, and I was always encouraging friends to be better to their partners. But still, I was awesome at relationship advice.
If you know someone like that (or if you are someone like that), you might be confused at why they (or you) can give such fantastic advice, but can never seem to be in a good relationship. Sometimes (like in my case), it's as simple as the fact that they don't want a relationship. Other times though, it's more complicated. Here are six reasons why some people are great at relationship advice and really terrible at relationships.
1. They Aren't Blinded By Love Or Lust
OK, that friend you have who always seems to call a relationship ending just before it does? They're not psychic, they're just not blinded by the same hearts and flowers the rest of us are when we're in a relationship.
Some of us are more susceptible to romance. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Those of us who are may find ourselves in crappy relationship after crappy relationship because we get taken in by the sweet nothings whispered in our ear and the dark chocolates delivered to our doorstep. Others of us, though, are more real. Seeing past the romance is really great for helping a friend analyze their relationship clearly. Hence, great advice! And it's also easy to see something more objectively as a third party than when you're in the throes of a relationship.
2. They Understand How Bad A Terrible Relationship Is
The people that suck at relationships (or just don't like them)? Well, those are also the people who are perpetually single. And being perpetually single means you realize being single is actually pretty awesome.
For the friend who's awesome at relationship advice but maybe not so awesome at their own relationships, bad relationships are truly worse than no relationships at all. This is probably someone who has gotten in and out of relationships and knows exactly how horrible it can be. This is also someone who has chosen to say "no, thank you" to all the negative drama that comes with a bad relationship. So they're going to give you great advice, because they can see (unlike those in relationships under the haze of love) that even if it ended, it wouldn't be that bad. And sometimes, things need to end.
So even if you don't want to hear it, listen to your friend with the good advice. And don't let their lack of a long-term relationship scare you.
3. They Think Settling Is Whack
People who don't seem to be awesome at relationships probably aren't the same people you see "settling" for the dude or chick they never wanted to be with in the first place. That's because they've likely been in enough bad relationships to know that settling is, well, whack. And sometimes, there might even be some faith left over that the right person is out there.
But even if not, this is the friend who is normally going to give it to you straight if they see you settling for something that isn't good enough for you. Even if you don't love it at the time, chances are, you're receiving good advice from someone who's been through it before.
4. They've Made All The Mistakes
So... your friend is bad at relationships. That means they've probably made a hell of a lot of mistakes. (Hello, my name is Anjali.) And because of that, it means they can see if you're making the same mistakes early on in your relationship. It may not mean, though, that they can always see the mistakes coming for themselves. It's easy to get stuck in a negative pattern where we do the same thing in each of our ongoing romantic connections. Not only that, but when we get attached to someone and really want something to work, we sometimes repeat the same nonsense we did in the past.
James Preece, dating guru and relationship expert, says, "While most people know basic dating advice is common sense, this goes out the window when it comes to their own love lives [...] there is so much more risk involved when the results can make a difference to their own lives." So maybe they aren't that great at spotting this for themselves, but they'll be a huge help when you need some seriously good advice in your relationship.
5. They Have A Low Tolerance For BS
Perpetually single people (or even perpetually-in-and-out-of-relationship people) have a lower tolerance for BS than most. That's because they've dealt with enough BS for several lifetimes with all of their terrible relationships. But that also means they'll be able to spot BS (or something that is going to turn into BS) a mile away.
In a relationship, it's easy to make excuses for the person we're with. They're always borrowing money? It's cute that they rely on us. They can't be on time to save their life? Well, it's just a personality quirk. They're rude to waitstaff? They were just stressed. A true friend who is good at relationship advice will have their eye out for relationship garbage, and they'll tell you to get out before it's too late (always good advice in situations like this).
6. They Aren't You
The most important reason why some people are so good at relationship advice and so bad at relationships might be precisely because, well, they aren't you.
Anita A. Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, says, "We don't have as much invested with our friends' relationships, and so it's easier to give advice. But when we're in a relationship, the stakes are different, we have more to lose, and the way we justify things can keep us in bad relationships."
Preece agrees, saying people that are good at advice but bad at relationships "realize what they should be doing, but simply can't apply it." This is because they are emotionally attached to the outcome. If they are advising someone else, then if something doesn't go to plan, it doesn't matter.
"This is because they are emotionally attached to the outcome," Preece continues. "If they are advising someone else then if something doesn't go to plan it doesn't matter."
The truth is, it's sometimes just easier to comment on things when you aren't involved with them in any way. And it's easier to see them clearly when you don't have anything at stake in it. So it may not be that your friend is a relationship guru. It may just be that they're not you.
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