Sunday, June 14, 2015


I once read, "Don't take advice from someone who isn't where you want to be."

That has stuck with me for nearly 20 years. Over the years I have noticed that many people give me advice and most of the time it's unsolicited. Unsolicited advice is now a pet peeve of mine. Most of the time, it's waste of my time.

First off, let me say that I appreciate advice, even when it's unsolicited. I understand that people are just trying to be helpful and I am grateful for that. However, for me, when advice is given without asking, it's just a waste of my time. No, I don't think that I'm sooooo smart, I never need advice. I need advice frequently, but when I WANT it, I ask.

I have noticed that people often give me advice without ever asking what it is I want to accomplish, let alone asking if I already have a plan to do what I want. No, they just give it to me. I can only assume that they are presuming to know what I want (but I think it's often projection) and assuming that I don't know enough to do what I want.

I often don't ask for advice from people because I know how to use Google. I have been told many times that you can't believe everything on the web. Then I wonder why the person who told me that feels the need to say it? Have they met people who believe everything they read online? Who are those people? Why are they associating with them? Anyway, NO, I don't believe the majority of the things I read online. I do take into consideration the credibility of the source of the information. I also take the time to search for multiple, credible sources and take that information into consideration. When I think Google is a more efficient source of information, I will search for it there. When I think asking someone with credibility for information is the more efficient source of information, I will ask the person. Most of the time, Google serves my needs.

I have a disdain for unsolicited advice, enough so that I try my hardest to never give it. I have been thanked by several people for the advice I gave them even though I NEVER gave a word of advice. When people lament on a problem, I start asking questions. The first thing I ask is what they want. Then I ask them why they want it and what they are doing to get what they want. Over the course of the conversation, I haven't given a single piece of advice. They come to their own conclusion about what they want to do and then they thank me for the "good" advice.

I have found that people often know what they want, even if they haven't articulated it - even to themselves. I have also found out that people, generally, have an idea about how they want to accomplish it. When I don't think it's a good idea, I ask them why they think that will help them accomplish their goal. Sometimes, their explanation makes sense to me. When it doesn't, I ask more questions, like, "have you considered __________?" or why they don't think a particular course of action will work.

If the person is still at a loss of how to accomplish what they want to do, I ASK them if they want suggestions or help. If they don't, I don't give it and we move on to the next topic.

For me, please feel free to give me suggestions AFTER after you have asked what it is I want to accomplish and AFTER you have asked me if I already have a plan and why I want to do something a certain way, but only if you disagree with it. I will always take that advice under consideration, but it doesn't mean I'll take it. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Golden Rule

This is the best thing I read today. "The Golden Rule—treat others as you want to be treated—has a fatal flaw: it assumes that all people want to be treated the same way."


I recently broke up with my boyfriend and it's been interesting, particularly my friends' reaction to it. Many friends have offered their sympathy and some other well-meaning friends have offered their unsolicited (but appreciated) advice on how to deal with it.

Now, I've been through a few breakups in my day and I haven't felt the exact same way about any of them. Sometimes I think good riddance. Other times I long to have my loved one back. This last one is a mix of both. There are things I miss terribly. There are things I am elated to not have deal with anymore. For this break up I just want to be alone so I sort can through the two conflicting emotions, find out what’s at the root of each, and then figure out what to do about them.

Saying His Name

One friend mentioned that he was surprised that I still talk casually about my ex and still use his name. For a moment I thought that was odd. Why would I mind saying his name? He said he had a couple of friends who, nearly, immediately started calling their ex “that woman” or “that man”. Come to think of it, my ex, Sal, rarely said any of his ex’s names either.

Getting Rid of His Stuff

Another friend was surprised that I was keeping a lot of stuff that belonged to my ex. They were things he didn’t seem to want to take with him when he left. I’m keeping some things for sentimental reason and I’m keeping others because they’re useful. I’m not throwing out the ice trays he bought. I really like ice. I’m not throwing out the chair he bought, it’s quite comfortable. I’m not throwing out the bench press or the bar because I want to use it. My arms could use some strength training. I’m not throwing out pictures of him either because, to me, they are just a part of my story. Anything I didn’t want, I gave back or threw out.

Don't Hurt Myself

More than a few friends suggested that I don’t hurt myself. The first time I heard it, I just took it with a grain of salt thinking, yeah, I guess some people do want to hurt themselves after a breakup, but I’m not one of them. Then, when more people started to say it, I started to worry. Am I giving off some sort of vibe that makes people feel that I’m going to hurt myself and compels them to let me know this? Really, I just want a few days to mope around and think about how I feel. I recognize that I sometimes zone out when I have something on my mind, but does it give off the impression that I want to hurt myself?

Distract Yourself

Others have suggested I go out and distract myself, to go out with friends and do something, anything. Why would I want to avoid dealing with my emotions only to have to deal with them later because I put it off? I’m not planning on wallowing in my grief forever nor planning to live as a hermit. Left to my own devices, I’m estimating about three days of soul searching. It’s going to take much longer if I just keep putting it off. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t put it off. I’ve gone to work. I’ve gone out with friends, but my mind isn’t completely there because my attention is still on the breakup.

Dealing With It

A friend of mine sent me the above Dilbert comic strip. It’s about work and interruptions. Tasks get completed far more quickly without interruptions. Distracting myself is an interruption.

So, maybe, when your other friend hasn’t dealt with their break up 6 months later and you’re wondering why they are still dwelling on it, maybe, it’s because they have followed that advice to not dwell on it and therefore not deal with it.

I think everyone deals with breakups in their own way. For me, please, please just let me deal with this in my own way.