I can be an impatient person. I can be impatient with myself. And I can be impatient with other people. Sometimes this is a bad thing; impatience can translate to judgement.
What do you mean you didn’t get to the bank today? How did you possibly not have time for that with the other 6903 things you had to accomplish?
The upside of my impatience, however, is that I have little tolerance for complacence. I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for what I wanted.
For better or for worse, this translates to my relationship advice too.
When friends confide in me about a love life situation, often I wonder if all they’re really doing by talking to me about it is fearing the truth. Quibbling about whether or not your boyfriend thinks he could be married to you? Why don’t you ask him about it? Better to know eight months in than two years in. Afraid to tell your best guy friend that you’ve been in love with him for two years? Nothing like another two years of a fantasy relationship to keep you from finding someone else! Or better yet, maybe he feels the same way?
In my opinion, complacency keeps you stuck and living in limbo, which is a real soul killer.
The only thing worse than complacency is denial. When I was younger, settling was my biggest relationship fear. I still see it everywhere. Girlfriend Y of Boyfriend C is always flirting with other guys at parties. Boyfriend C always feels rotten about it. And yet, Boyfriend C does nothing. Or WORSE, Husband X of Wife B is an antisocial alcoholic and yet she marries him anyway.
Which is why, if you ever come to me for advice, it’s always going to be some version of this: Don’t know his thoughts / feelings / wants? Stop asking me and ask him. He won’t commit? Wait, he still won’t commit? Shocker. Writing’s on the wall, lady. You deserve better. Have courage and lance it, friends.
Great advice, right? I’m so smart. Except when I’m not.
This is the thing: there are a lot of ways that we exist in relationships. Not every person is the love of your life. And a lot of people will be important during the course of our lives despite their imperfections and incompatibilities. Which brings me around to my second point, that the opposite of impatience is patience, and patience is – ugh – a virtue.
Everyone goes through phases. And everyone (hopefully) continues to grow, but that growth is not immediate. We all have our own timelines on which we bring about change. And that change is certainly not aided by impatience or judgement – even if those opinions are well-intended and perhaps correct. The role of a friend is to be a shoulder to lean on through good times and bad is, it not?
So, what do you think the best way to help a friend is? How do you balance supporting your friends with giving advice? Do you tend to do more listening or opining?
Thanks crimfants for the photo!
Alison Steedman is the editor at Dating & Hookup. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their histrionic cat, Charles Dickens, where she still carries on a nostalgic and long-distance love affair with her 20's in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @yosteedman, and you can also send her your writing at [email protected], both of which make her very happy.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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