Column: A helping hand


Part of being a good friend is helping others when they are in need. 

Help can take many forms: giving advice, letting friends borrow a shirt, being a shoulder to cry on. Whatever it may be, offering help is a cornerstone of any good friendship. 

I struggle knowing when to take a step back. This is because, in some cases, there is nothing that can be done and friends who I think are in need may simply not want to be helped. 

On a daily basis, I am approached by friends who ask questions like, “What should I do?” These question topics range from relationship advice to restaurant recommendations. 

When I am asked to help my friends figure out these things, I sometimes struggle with becoming too invested. When friends come to me with plans to do things that I don’t agree with, it is really hard to step back. 

I am not the type of person to just sit back and let things happen, especially when something or someone important to me is involved. 

While I may think one decision is the correct choice, at the end of the day each individual is in control of their own choices — I just have to let them figure it out on their own.

When friends make a choice different from what I would do, I still hope things turn out the way they wish. 

In the past, I often used to get angry when friends would come to me for advice and then not take what I said to heart. When things did not go according to their plan, I would have an “I told you so” arrogance. 

Looking back, when I made choices that did not result in the outcome I hoped for, I know the last thing I would want is for someone to tell me, “I told you so.”

However, I am not going to say I don’t get frustrated when I see friends make choices that I think are not correct. In a way it also feels like a waste of my time to be asked for advice when they most likely already know their choice. 

Being a good friend is about being supportive, and I now know the importance of having a reassuring confidant in times of defeat. 

A lot of the time I find it hard to step back because I care. Seeing people I care about making choices that are not what I think is in their best interest is hard. 

From my experience, being in college is full of extremely difficult choices — from what clubs to join, what classes to take and, of course, the drama that comes from friendships and those who could be more than friends. 

We all are just trying to figure it out. 

Asking for advice from friends is sometimes exactly what a person needs. Other times, the choice is clear.

I have come to realize that taking a step back from the choices that my friends make in their own lives is not me being a bad friend. Rather, I think it allows me to be a better friend.

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