To Seek or Not to Seek Advice: Talking About Romantic Issues During Emerging Adulthood


  • Semira Tagliabue
  • Maria Giulia Olivari
  • Cristina Giuliani
  • Emanuela Confalonieri


The aim of the study was to explore whether and how emerging adults talk about their romantic relationships with their close others, especially their parents and friends, also considering gender differences. Data were collected via eight single-sex focus groups conducted with 50 Italian emerging adults (aged 18–25), and were analyzed using thematic analysis. Two main themes emerged. The first was labeled “to seek advice”, which was divided into three subthemes: “I look for different points of view,” “I treasure other people’s words,” and “I listen and then do it my own way.” The second theme was “to not seek advice,” which was divided into two subthemes: “I do not need comparison” and “I need to choose on my own.” The findings revealed that close friends, more than parents, are important interlocutors for discussions on romantic relationships, and few gender differences were found. Furthermore, we can speculate that emerging adults’ reasons for seeking advice or not could relate to their autonomy and relatedness needs.