Who are you listening to?

A metal toggle switch with plate reading Listen and Ignore, symbolizing how we choose to pay attention to certain messages

Friends encourage us to take routes of little or no risk. If they advise to play it safe and we do, we’ll never know what could have been. There’s no harm done, and they’re safe. If they suggest to play it safe, and you act against their advice, and you crash, they’re still safe. On the flip-side, if they advise you to take a chance and things don’t work out, they could be to blame and the friendship may be on the line. Either way, they are safe if they advise you to avoid risk.

It’s different with strangers, there’s no personal risk involved. If you make up your own mind against a friend’s advice and become a success, they’ll look bad because they didn’t have the ambition to do what you did. That can cause a wall in the friendship.


The key to taking advice is qualifying who to take it from. Are they qualified to give you that advice? Is your adviser teaching theory or have they lived it? People only know what they’ve experienced, and unless your friends are going to cover your bills and responsibilities, do your own homework and make your own decisions.


This is common when someone gets involved with a multi-level marketing business. While most are legal, moral, and seen as opportunities, our friends have most likely heard of someone’s nightmare story, and they think they’re doing you a favor by trying to talk you out of it. When friends find out we’ve joined what they think may be a cult, the advice starts coming in. What they’re usually saying, without realizing it, is “If you chase your dreams and catch them, I’ll look bad because I’m afraid to chase mine. I’m afraid of rejection, I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself, and I’m afraid my friends will laugh at me, or I’d join you.

An important factor is not to think less of your friends if they offer safe advice that holds you back. They don’t know any better. As we merge into a world of friends being a link we click on as opposed to someone we can talk to and trust, people are losing the knowledge of how to be a friend. If they knew how to offer advice, they would.

There’s always a “why” when it comes to listening to others. Consider who you’re listening to, and why.