So I think that most people would agree that we can not truly “save” anybody else, that no matter how smart or experienced or capable or wise, it is not in our power to keep people we know/love from doing inadvisable things.
Boy, that’s a hard truth, isn’t it? The first time I learned it was one of those stereotypical scenarios where a friend was dating a guy I did not like and I told her and almost lost that friend.
I was right, of course. But that isn’t the point. Humans don’t seem to learn (and here I mean “learn” in the sense of taking a knowledge so deeply into oneself that your actions are changed by that knowledge, not just hearing it once and lightly, surface “knowing”) from words.
And I just had a conversation where I asked the question “when is it ever okay to step in and say ‘this is wrong, you shouldn’t do this because its hurting you, you need help’ and the person I was talking to was like, “NEVER.”
(Except when its your mother. Mothers are exceptions. You can and should always tell your mother what to do 🙂
It seems a shame to have one person go through pain and suffering and learn from that experience, and not be able to somehow beam the knowledge and wisdom gained from that experience directly into someone else’s head.
So now I have a situation where I suspect that my own outside perspective is seeing something about someone they can’t see themselves because they are too close to the situation (is that sufficiently vague enough, do you think?) and I KNOW KNOW KNOW KNOW I can’t just go up to them and say, “you should do X” because I’m their friend.
And the longer I live, the more I am beginning to realize that being a friend means walking along the path someone else chooses to take, but not telling them where to walk. (even when you KNOW KNOW KNOW a path that is soooooo much easier)
So it makes me wonder how people who counsel for a living ever talk to their friends at all? How do Dear Abby or Dan Savage or Dr Ruth handle their friends?