Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are Your Friends Holding You Back from a Great Life, Relationship, or Marriage?

Who’s giving you advice? Are they succeeding in whatever way you want to succeed and living the way you want to live? If not, they’re not the people to be advising you, especially about your relationship.

I was out with my wife once at a local Mexican restaurant and saw something disgusting that we need to discuss. No, it wasn’t something with legs in the enchiladas or the salsa verde. It was a couple of fairly young men, seemingly in their early thirties. One of them was slouched over, in grungy clothes, looking like a total slacker – I looked under his table to see if there was a skateboard hiding there. His clothes were wrinkled, his hair disheveled and if he had come to my door to visit my daughter looking like that I would have kicked his sorry butt out the door and told him to come back when he’d acquired soap – both the body and laundry varieties – and some self-respect.

His companion looked considerably better. He sat up straight, and was dressed for being in public. He was fairly well-groomed, His shirt was tucked in and his clothes were not wrinkled. He had more of a worldly air about him. There was a near-empty margarita pitcher between them and they were both talking louder than they should have been. (It’s amazing how tequila damages others’ hearing and not your own, isn’t it??? LOL!)

The most respectable-looking of the pair was dating a co-worker of theirs, apparently a high-quality girl that was pretty popular in the office. He told his friend he wanted to escalate the relationship because he thought they were right for each other. Before he got to the end of the sentence, his friend the slacker said, "Dude, no way she’ll hang with you! You're not her type. She’s into power and sleeps with the boss. Even if she did hook up steady with you, you’d just screw it up like you’ve done with every other woman you’ve dated."

Doesn’t sound like much of a friend, does he? Unfortunately, it’s not that uncommon amongst "friends" for one who’s having a hard time or just generally negative about everything to rain on everybody else’s parade. In his mind, if he’s not happy, it’s not fair for anybody else to be. Instead of being happy for his friend, he’s throwing cold water on his friend’s desires/ambitions, possibly for no better reason than to keep himself from having to find somebody else to drink with or complain to.

The disgusting thing is that it worked! The poor guy sat there a moment and then said, "Yeah, you're probably right." He allowed his so-called "friend" to rob him of his ambition and convince him that he didn't have a chance with her. They worked in the same office! If she’d really been sleeping with the boss, wouldn’t they BOTH have heard about it by then? It’s ridiculous that so many people do this to one another, and still call each other “friends”! It’s just plain sick to think about, but it’s the nature of people who lack self-esteem.

For all we know, the slacker may have been sabotaging his “friend” just because he’s the one always paying for the meal and drinks at these meetings and just didn’t want to lose the gravy train if his friend suddenly became happy with someone else. Some friend, huh?

Losers have a tendency to want to pull others down to their level, instead of learning from their friends and drawing on their successes as inspiration for their own success, which would elevate them to their mentor’s level. Lacking character, it’s easier for them to talk trash to the achievers around them than to get off their lazy butt and achieve something. Is this the kind of person you want to take advice from, about anything in your life??? I hope not, and I can tell you categorically and with authority that it is not.

This kind of person is a prime target for the “hire slowly, fire quickly” method of forming relationships of any kind. No matter how much you want to do or try to do, they will try at every turn to discourage and disparage anything that is above them. This is the last person in the world that you want to be discussing anything important or personal with, because they can’t possibly have anything good going on in their life or they wouldn’t be talking to you this way.

Their opinion of what you should be doing or any advice they may offer is therefore worthless; otherwise, they would be having some successes and being upbeat about at least a few things in their life. Their sole purpose in any conversation with you will be to bring you down, not celebrate your dreams and successes with you.

Always make sure you are fully supported by your friends and family. If you have any “friends” that are constantly telling you that you will not be able to accomplish something, or that your wife will end up leaving you, or that you can’t possibly get that better job you’re going after without any facts to back up their claims (if you’re trying to learn to play piano with no hands, or you’re a violent spouse abuser, or the job you’re applying for requires a PhD and you don’t have a high school diploma, they may have a point, but you know what I mean), fire them!

They’re not worthy of sharing your life’s energy and your space. Know the difference between a good friend who has relevant facts that you don’t yet possess and cares enough to give them to you and the pessimistic gothic ne’er-do-well who thinks it rains 24/7 and wants to make sure you stay soaked in their misery.

People like this can insidiously turn you into a carbon copy of themselves, and as you can imagine, that’s about as unattractive as it gets. Just ask any woman (who’s not one of these constantly complaining losers) what she thinks of them. She’ll tell you, in no uncertain terms, that she wants someone fun and upbeat, somebody with brains and vision and leadership skills, not some loser who ridicules greatness because he’ll never aspire to it, let alone achieve it. Nobody who looks at his shoes when he talks and walks and disparages everything he hears is attractive, to anyone, in any way, except maybe to a hard-up mugger looking for a target.

Besides, what kind of valuable advice would someone who is always negative and never going anywhere or doing anything have to give? There’s an old Chinese proverb that really comes into play here: "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Ayn Rand also had something very valuable to say about this: "The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity." What opportunities will you be availing yourself of while you have “Joe Doomengloom” constantly telling you that you’re just going to fall off the ladder? Kick his (or her) ass to the curb and get on with the business of being a man.

Always surround yourself with positive, up-beat people -- people who have genuine, earned confidence in themselves and in you. Real friends will strengthen and support you when you’re onto something good, and if they do say something negative, it will be to give you the benefit of their experience or insight and keep you out of trouble, not to keep you from achieving.

Make sure your relationships, ALL OF THEM, are mutually-beneficial, no exceptions. Any relationship you have with anyone that is not mutually-beneficial is getting in the way of one that is. Clear out the clutter and keep it cleared out, or you’ll end up like the guy in this example, getting talked out of something that could be among the most enjoyable things in your life by someone who has no enjoyable things in their life.

Also, no matter what you’re doing, if you are going to ask somebody for a recommendation or advice, make sure that they have been successful in pursuing whatever you are pursuing, and therefore have valid experience to draw on and valid advice to give. Don’t ask your CPA for legal advice (unless he’s also a lawyer) or your lawyer for tax advice (unless he’s also a tax accountant). Don’t ask somebody who doesn’t even use a computer and has never sold anything to review your Internet business and give you suggestions.

One other caveat, one that I’ve learned over years of consulting and coaching: The best advice a friend can be trusted to give you is the best advice he or she has at that moment, which is not likely to be the best advice you can have, may in fact be worse than whatever you’re already contemplating, and often can be very bad advice delivered with the best of intentions. Being trustworthy means that they care enough to try to help you, not that they are necessarily competent to do so. That’s the main reason I advise everyone to go to someone who has already succeeded in whatever interests you at the moment and let them mentor you, even if you have to pay for it. What little you end up paying for their help is chump change next to what the aftermath of an ill-advised decision on a career, business, real estate, relationship, marriage, medical, legal, or other issue may cost you.

Above all, don’t ask an unhappy slacker who has no history of lasting, happy relationships about anything having to do with your relationship. If you want to succeed at anything, find somebody who has already succeeded, and learn from what they did, both right and wrong. That’s why my moderators and I patrol our forum, http://forum.makingherhappy.com, so heavily, to make sure that there is no case where the blind is leading the blind, or validation-seekers are passing out bad information to try to get others to repeat their mistakes. We welcome the insight and experience of all who have any to offer, and allow no substitutes, nor judgment of another’s actions.

I’m a guy you can ask for help with a relationship, especially one that’s gone stale over time and needs reviving. I’ve done it, and I don’t think I could ask for things to be much better. In addition to my own experience, I have that of 118 other couples who all helped develop and test the content of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” – they all improved their relationships dramatically with this very material as we researched it, as did thousands more who have added the benefit of their experience in the years since. We all learned how to evaluate relationships, how to communicate to effectively bridge the inter-gender communications gap, and what it takes to trip a woman’s attraction triggers and bring that honeymoon back with a bang!

Learn from us and make your own relationship all it can be by going to http://www.makingherhappy.com right now and downloading your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," because it works, it’s guaranteed, and life’s too short to wait for good things to happen – YOU MUST MAKE THEM HAPPEN, AND YOU CAN!

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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