Four People You Should Learn to Listen To

Here's the lowdown on who to listen to when making some of life's biggest decisions.
by Pia Dedace   |  Mar 19, 2010
photo by Dakila Angeles
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Let's face it. The choices you make can be life-altering—that's why decision-making is sometimes a painstaking task. The good news is, when you cry out SOS, people around you can give advice that may come in really handy. You only have to determine why and when their opinion matters. So before making that big decision, just stop for a while, look for people who can make decision-making half the effort, and listen to those whose opinion counts!


Why their opinion matters: While it sounds passé, the old saying "Parents know best" in undeniably, incontestably true. Since you were children, your parents have always guided you and helped you gain the perspective you need to make sound decisions. It is normal for your parents to be involved in what you choose and how you choose because, after all, it is your welfare they are concerned about. Giving you good advice is like their way of dodging bullets that may harm you along the way.


When their opinion matters: The instances when you need your parent's guidance are all-encompassing. They can range from choosing the friends you hang out with, to choosing whom to date, and eventually, whom to get into a relationship with. Deciding on what course to take for college and deciding on a future career also need keen assistance from your parents.

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Slip-ups to avoid: Having your parents by your side is an entirely different thing from letting your parents run your life. Some teens make the mistake of seeing their parent's help as a form of manipulation. Some teens, on the other hand, completely allow their parents to choose everything for them. Just remember that responsible teens know that they can maturely take charge of occasions that require careful decision-making, even under their parents' wings.


Why their opinion matters: Whether it's your older sibling, your close relative, your cheerleading coach, or your music teacher, it's important that you have mentors who can provide you with direction when you're having dilemmas with making good decisions. Mentors offer valuable insights and carry nuggets of wisdom which can make your bumpy teen lives a little smoother. If life were turned into a journey, mentors have reached their destination, leaving detours and guideposts to help you reach yours.


When their opinion matters: You specifically need your mentors' advice when you are caught between pursuing what your heart wants and pursuing what the rest of the world might want. For example, you are unsure of which club to  join. Do you want to join one that would make you an instant It Girl or one that would allow you to hone your skills and passions? Mentors can help you strike a balance because their experiences have taught them a lot. Even the happiest and most successful people had mentors from whom they sought counsel, too.

Slip-ups to avoid: While it helps to have role models, don't pattern your own life and actions exactly after theirs. It's okay to follow someone else's footsteps but make it a point to leave your own unique mark, too. Don't be afraid to sing to your own tune and dance to your own rhythm.



Why their opinion matters: You spend a lot of time in school with your friends, even after class hours and on weekends. You hang out with them and still feel like time is never enough. They are familiar with your quirks. They know what makes you laugh, cry, get angry, and even what makes you swoon. That is why when you need an important decision to make, you have your friends as your 24-hour helpline.

When their opinion matters: Sure, they are a rich source of beauty tips and tricks, but whenever self-esteem issues arise, your tight-knit set of friends offer you more than a shoulder to cry on. They give you words of comfort that will help you get through any glum day. It pays to listen to your true friends because they help you look past your insecurities and convince you to come out of your shell. And when it comes to dealing with boys, your friends' opinions become foolproof mechanism that help you cope with any trouble tossed your way.


Slip-ups to avoid: Your friends, who are still learning the ropes of growing up as well, have a big impact on your decisions. This is where peer pressure comes in, as some friends may influence you to try things you don't want. Stand up to peer pressure and choose friends who build you up.


Why your opinion matters: Your parents, mentors, and friends have earned the right to give you advice. They help you lay a rock-solid foundation as a young adult. But at the end of the day, only you can determine what choices to make, what actions to take, and where you heart will lead you. Your opinion matters precisely because no one knows yourself better than you do.

When your opinion matters: All the time. Growing up means making decisions for yourself and assuming responsibility for your choices.

Slip-ups to avoid: Be prepared to weigh all possible options and to examine the major pitfalls that may undermine that rock-solid foundation you've been trying to build. Most teens often fall into the trap of not thinking through their decisions keenly enough. Remember that while other people's experiences are helpful, do not confuse what you want with what other people want for you. Follow your heart!

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Pia Dedace
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