I’ve always looked down on therapists who try to therapize their friends. In the same vein I also totally despise it when people say they want to be a therapist, because “my friends all tell me I’m a good listener,” or “I’m always helping my friends with their problems.” A good friend does not a good therapist make, necessarily. And, yet I found myself doing the unthinkable, the thing I despise the most: Giving unsolicited advice.
Like many couples, they’d been together for many years. They own property together. They even run a business together. What made this couple different from any couple who came into my office is that this couple were good friends of mine. At what point did I think it would be okay to play therapist in their lives and meddle in their business. It totally went against my policy, and my philosophies.
In part, I blame society a little. I mean everywhere I go, social outings, parties, etc..and people hear what my profession is, that I am a sex therapist, people inevitably start asking me questions. They want advice, they give me hypothetical scenarios (which I already know who they are really inquiring about anyway) and as much as I want to leave my career at the front door before entering the party or social event, I have to say it’s the others who bring it out in me. This is Los Angeles, and in a big city full of sex and love I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
I also blame in part my personal experiences. Between getting divorced and then breaking up with the last guy who was also my live in I have a plethora of insight as to why my past two relationships failed. It just so happens I am now in a relationship with a guy who is just as focused on making the relationship work as I am, who’s relationship history is similar to mine. So, all of a sudden I think I am miss know-it-all.
So, I started talking shop at parties. Now that I think about it I’ve even done mock therapy sessions with couples without their knowledge, or them knowing it. And at some point it escalated to this. Every time we’d be at a party, after the party was in full swing, he would start talking to me about his girlfriend (my good friend) of 7 years. And me, partially thinking I’m being a helpful friend, partly bragging and showing off my great therapy skills particularly in the area of couples counseling decide it’s a good idea to go back and forth between him and her, first just asking questions to get them to talk but then after a few parties, skipping the small talk, and blatantly spewing advice on what the two of them need to do to save their relationship. And so it escalated. I thought I was being funny, I thought I was being helpful. I thought they were listening to me. Until one day, my good friend texts me, the text that made my heart sink down to my feet: “ Thanks to you, we are over.”