How to stop people from giving unsolicited relationship advice?


My boyfriend and I met in the Catholic campus ministry at our university last year, when he was a senior and I a freshman, and six months ago (a year since we’d met) we began dating.

After our first date, a married friend from campus ministry, among a few other people!, has taken it upon himself to criticize our relationship. He accused my boyfriend of moving too fast by having such a nice date, and of not guarding my heart, by being a young professional throwing money at some innocent college girl. Needless to say, that is completely inappropriate, and upon learning that I will complete my degree in three years, he has approached my boyfriend to schedule another talk.

This upsets me that he cannot be happy for us - we have talked about marriage, but we also pride ourselves on keeping our relationship private, as we have seen what letting everybody in has done to the relationships of our friends. The people who matter, our parents and close friends, are very happy for us, and although we are by no means perfect, we are really striving to do this right and to stay close to God (going to confession together, praying every day, going to Mass together, etc)

Anyway, how do you respond to unwarranted, unsolicited advice? This man thinks he’s giving fraternal correction, he thinks he’s in the right to say such things.

You mentioned that your boyfriend and you like to keep your relationship private. Does this person know much about your relationship or are they simply making assumptions?

Welcome to life. :thumbsup:

It probably started before you were born. People that your mother didn’t even know started telling her what to do. After you were born, it continued. Cloth or disposable. Breast or bottle. Sling or stroller. And it went on.

I bet it continued all through your life. Think back before you wen to college. How many people told you where you should go? What to major in? What classes to take or avoid?

People are nosy. They tend to want to tell you what to do. What does your priest think of the relationship? If he is good with it, and it sounds like your parents are good with it, I would ignore the busybodies.

What do you mean by “schedule another talk”? If you don’t want to discuss your private life with this friend, then by all means, don’t agree to talk about it now or at any future date. I’d tell this friend as politely but as frankly as possible that the relationship will not be part of any discussion, now or otherwise. You are not this friend’s daughter, its not his job to parent you or your boyfriend.

I’m not a good example of Christian forbearance and abdication of vengeance (at least in the form of an immediate punishing remark), but if people consider themselves free to comment on the ethical aspects of my life, I consider myself to comment on the ethical aspects of their commenting.

This said, it would not be wrong to remind that person that a Christian should not be making accusations lightly. Basically, appropriate evidence is needed before we attribute a wrong action to somebody in conclusive terms.

This said, try not to overinterpret people’s perhaps too hasty comments as real serious accusations. Each of us has a bad day some day.

The next time this guy starts talking about your relationship, politely tell him that you appreciate his concern, but it’s a private matter. Then both of you have to continue to be firm in refusing to discuss it with him.

He really doesn’t know anything. It’s very much assumptions and hearsay. For example, he heard the details of our date through others who the two of us had told.

When hearing of my plans to graduate early, he tried to get out of me why, and he didn’t accept regular reasons, like I actually won’t have any classes left to take then, and brought up BF and I instead as the reason.

They (our priests) do approve! And our close friends do too as well.

I mean not a relationship talk, but the first time he did this he scheduled drinks, but it was solely for the purpose of talking about BF’s relationship, and he walked into it just thinking they were catching up. That’s why he agreed to this one, even though it’s really obvious what he wants to talk about (our friend is an easy read) there’s just no way to say no to something that is seemingly so neutral. And I suppose friendly confronation is better, to make sure it doesn’t happen again (saying, look, we’ve talked about this before, this is a private relationship.)

BF will definitely tell him that it’s a private matter, as he has in the past!, but we are also softies and really like for everybody to like us and approve. Perhaps God is working on our humility here :slight_smile:

Thanks for all of the advice so far!

This thread would probably do better in the family forum. You’ve gotten good advice so far. Simply tell the friend you’d rather not discuss it. However, remember that a married person, he will have a perspective that you and boyfriend do not.

Continue to focus on your studies and keep your relationship with boyfriend pure. In some ways, the only way to keep busybodies quiet is to prove your point through your actions.

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