I heard this theory about how parents are inherently flawed in the fact that they never encourage you to truly chase your dreams. Yes, they may encourage you to chase a dream, but if it’s outside the realm of an attainable and realistic goal they are likely to tell you to try something else. When a deep dive was taken into this theory it was resolved that the reason why parents are flawed is because while they want the best for you and they want you to chase your goals — they don’t want you to get hurt. As your parents, they stop at nothing to care for you and nurture you. They’re supposed to be here to protect you from hurt and pain, therefore, if they feel that your dreams may lead you to pain they will steer you away from it.

After a few experiences of my own, I realized that friends can do this to you too. I thought about each phase of a person’s dating life and what is likely to happen at each stage. So, how do your friends affect your love life? If you have good friends, your friends are a bit of a support system for you at each stage. They will comfort you when you’re going through a rough breakup or they will encourage you to get away from hurtful situations. They’ll also likely to be screening anyone you may think about dating; putting them under more scrutiny than you ever would have. When you’re in a relationship and you’re running into problems, they’re typically the first ones to tell you that you should move on.

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Your friends do that because they care but I’m not sure they’re always helping the situation out. A buddy of mine recently went through a breakup and he told me about it. Asked what I thought about the situation and my advice to him was, “First off, don’t tell nobody else that you broke up with your girl. That’s the worst thing you can do.” I was right about that too. I told him that from my experience anyone you tell that you broke up with your lady, regardless of the reason, will tell you that you’re better off, unless he or she was really way out of your league.

Secondly, if you tell anybody why you broke up, you’re going to look like a dumb ass when you try and work it out. Yeah, you know when you first breakup with your old lady you have some very good reason why it happened. She may have done something that you thought you could never in a million years forgive. Then one day when you’re sitting there thinking about it, you remember that love transcends all. Now… you’ve got to figure out how to tell your friends to stop talking about her like she was a dirty dog.

Probably a more applicable to the masses example of how your friends can hold you back is when you’re hanging out with your unequally yoke friends. When I’m talking about yoke, I’m talking about these yokes; single, dating, in a relationship, married or divorced. There isn’t anyone more dangerous to a man who’s just gotten into a relationship than his single and married friends. Single guys are still out there trying to find women, so they frequent spots where you can meet and talk to women. Married guys have no rules. They can go almost the edge of the earth and their get out of jail free card is a wedding band. You’ll try and take it easy, chill with your old lady and they’re constantly trying to hit the streets.

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Single guys don’t have nobody to go home to, and married guys don’t want to go home to the person they go home to, and it shows. Now when you’re single, all other men in any other relationship status will tell you to stay single. If there’s one thing I know from going to the barbershop it’s that all men pretty much think you’re better off single. Of course some of us have that disease where we need companionship, but for the most part, men will tell you to stay single.

I could go on and on about this point of hanging out with unequally yoke people, but I’m sure by now you get the point, the others can hold you back. I’m also sure by now that even the women reading today can tell that this situation also applies to their interactions with their friends too.

Before we start throwing shoes at our friends, let’s just remember they do this to protect our feelings. They don’t want to see us get hurt, or they think we’ve still got some gas in the tank, or for whatever reason they are dead set on not seeing their friends in pain. (The real friends that is… sometimes you have to watch your friends and their motives.) Therefore, the main takeaway today or the homework to be done is to evaluate the friendships that we have and ask ourselves if they’re truly holding us back. Are they aiding in our development to a better relationship or emotional well-being, or are they preventing progress? As well, as friends are we holding our friends back? Is it time to let them fly and see if their wings can take it or do we keep holding on for dear life?

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– Dr. J

Do you think that sometimes friends can hold you back, prevent you from getting your blessing? Do you regularly do a check of the people in your life to see if they are truly ambassadors for your happiness? How do you let a friend know that you have to keep your distance because maintaining yourself as #1 may be compromised by your friendship? Of course, all of you who don’t have any friends like this in your life are more than welcome to comment too. T.G.I.F.