I've been lucky in the advice my friends have given me. Although they don't generally give me expert advice on every issue that I need answers to, they almost always have pretty sound and reasonable opinions. I have a pretty broad, diverse group of friends, so I can usually find someone who has some degree of expertise on any question I have. For example, when I was having problems finding a girlfriend, I had a friend who was perfect for relationship advice. He had worked as a bartender for almost a decade, and had really listened to a lot of people talk about their problems, so he could give me pretty unbiased advice. Another time, I got financial advice from my friends Jose. He is not a professional financial officer, but he has made a mint on his own investments, so he was able to tell me what I needed to know.
Sometimes, however, nothing but expert advice will do. Even with dating advice, sometimes it is not enough to consult your friends. I had a situation like that about a year ago, when things got too complicated and I just couldn't involve other people in it. You see, my girlfriend already knew all of my friends, and none of them had an unbiased opinion. Things were getting serious, but in some ways the relationship was on the rocks. We had a lot of trouble communicating, and both of us have anger problems that we haven't really dealt with. I couldn't very well ask mutual friends how to deal with our relationship and whether we should break up, so I went to a counselor instead.
In retrospect, getting expert advice was the smartest thing I could have done! I didn't have to tell anyone I was in therapy, and the relationship counselor really helped me to put everything in perspective. She was able to see the issues that I wasn't dealing with effectively and help me to come up with creative ways to solve those problems. I had been blaming a lot on my girlfriend, but had not really stopped to see what part was my fault. She helped me see things from a more balanced perspective, and her expert advice saved my relationship. We're still together now, and I owe it to the therapist. More than that, however, I owe it to my own decision to seek advice from a professional expert.