How Your Friends Can Ruin Your Career & Relationships

Published: October 6, 2010
By: Faye Hollands

Friends can be some of the most supportive people in our lives, giving us advice when we want it and siding with us when we need to hear we’re right.  The only problem is that sometimes friends tell us what they think we want to hear, which isn’t always the best advice and in fact can be quite detrimental when it comes to important decisions regarding your career and relationships.

Be Brave

How often has a friend asked you something like “Does my bum look big in this?” or “Do you think I’m right?” and you’ve merrily given them the answer they clearly want to hear?  This happens all the time! We don’t want to make our mates feel bad, and all too often people are more interested in maintaining a good friendship than they are offering effective counsel by dealing with the real issue at hand.

The obvious problem with this type of social conditioning is that, if you look to your friends for all of your advice, you probably won’t be getting an accurate picture of the truth or the nudge you need to make a smart decision and move forward in the right direction.

Consider your career for a moment.  Perhaps you’re hanging out for a promotion and think you deserve it just because you’ve worked at a company for a long period of time.  Does your friend tell you “they don’t deserve you” or “your boss is an idiot” when you’re passed over for promotion, or do they challenge you to think about how you’ve added value to the company or how you’ve demonstrated that you’re ready to take the next step up?  The reality is that perhaps your boss made a very wise choice and in fact it was your complacency and lack of effort that let you down.

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It takes a good (and often brave!) friend to give you the brutal truth, and not everyone is going to do that for you, just as you won’t for everyone that you care about.

Getting impartial advice, that can sometimes be tough to take,  is often much easier coming from a third party, be it a Coach, Counsellor or another trained professional.  Why?  Because they’re trained and paid to do exactly that.  They’re not there to be your friend, or to enable your warped perception of reality, but instead to give a refreshing perspective on what’s really going on and to push you past the point where your friends will ordinarily give up.

Enjoying comaradiarie with your friends is an important part of life, but just make sure you’re getting the advice you REALLY NEED if you want to move forward in the right direction.   And be sure to recognise that even your ‘bestest’ mate in the whole wide world might not be capable of doing that for you.

What advice have your friends given you, and has it been a help or hindrance? Post a comment below and let me know…

Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting.

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach and Time Management Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.  You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

If you’d like to find how to change, develop or manage your career more effectively simply click here.

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

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