Dear Therapist is for informational purposes only, the questions and queries are sent in from our readers. This column does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
My best friend is probably the smartest person I know, and I want great things for her. I think she will be an amazing professional. But she wants to get married! It's not even to a person she loves, but she has agreed for an arranged marriage and she is only 21. I feel she is giving up on her future and the possibility of a beautiful life.
Dear Best friend,
You seem to care for your friend a lot, and see a lot of promise for her life. I do recognize you want the best for her, and for her future to always be filled with rainbows and the promise of unicorns. Anyone would be grateful to have a friend like you; a constant source of hope and a big cheerleader!
The defining trait of a best friend is having the space to express your concern, agreeing to disagree but still supporting the other in their decision.
It’s important for you to express your point of view; where you are coming from, why you feel that way and what you hope for her. Your love, concern and your personal experiences makes it easy for you to assume that you know what’s best for your friend and what help they need. But have you asked her what she wants and why she wants it?
Even with good intentions we often we get caught up in our thoughts and beliefs and jump to give suggestions. Instead of offering advice or help, that your friend may not want or in a way she doesn’t want try listening to her. As a person who cares deeply, you may often either jump to help or withdraw to protect yourself; an alternate approach is possible – listening.
Try listening to your friend, understanding her perspective and givie her space to honestly express herself. Just as you deserve the space to be heard, so does your friend! This aids in her processing her feeling and working through them. Everyone may not see the world through your eyes, and that’s okay!
All we can do, which is also the most important thing to do, is to ensure your friend feels heard and is making an informed choice.
Also, marriage does not mean you cannot have a career. This could be you projecting a fear you have on your friend. A lot of women have successful careers and are married. Maybe you discuss this with your friend, and hear what she has to say.
I have a sense that while your friend knows you care about her; she may not feel that you understand her. To remedy this, you may want to start by acknowledging her feelings, and needs right now. If you have expressed yourself, and feel heard. It is important for you to do the same for your friend. Respect the decision of your friend, even though it may not be what you like.
She believes emotional and mental health care are at the very core of us experiencing happiness in our life. Her qualifications include a Masters in Clinical Psychology and in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Priyanka enjoys working with young adults and understanding life as it changes with intrusions like the internet and the pandemic. Above everything else her true love is homemade chocolate cake.