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The Advice We Give/Get



I find it frustrating that every time I talk to people, they all give me the same, yet different advice. Let's look at love and relationships.


Hypothetical situation: You're in love with someone, but they're in love with someone else. If you ask someone for advice, you'll get one of two things:


1) Fight for what you believe in. If you love this person, let them know it. Show them that you care for them. Profess your love for them and maybe they'll feel the same way. Even if they don't, at least you'll know so you can move on.


2) They're in love with someone else. They're happy. If you really love them, you'll let them be happy with who they're with. If it was meant to be, then it will happen, but nothing good can come from sharing your love when they're in another happy relationship.


Pardon my language, but WHAT THE FUCK!? Both of these sound like legitimate responses to the situation. They're both logical, yet say to do the exact opposite. How are we supposed to determine which advice to follow? Personally I've both given and received both of these. I didn't realize it before, but I do now. I realize that when someone comes to me with this situation, I don't just randomly pick one of the two to go with. I ask myself the same question. If I'm going through something similar, I tell them what I want to do in my situation. Which doesn't help them at all. What if I give them the wrong advice? What if I tell them to let the person be happy because that's what I'm going to do, when in reality, the person they're interested in is actually in love with them as well and was just waiting for them to say something? Does that make me a bad person?


On the other hand, when I've received this information, it doesn't matter what the other person said. I've already made up my mind. If they tell me to move on, I counter with something that proves this person loves me back and that I should do it. They eventually agree and I take the advice that I gave myself in the beginning. Obviously I'm still single so this hasn't worked to my advantage yet, but that's besides the point.


The point is... does it really matter what advice we give people? Do they actually listen to what we say, or are they just looking for someone to justify the decision that they've already made in their head. I'm not talking about minor decisions of where to eat or what movie to see. I'm speaking larger, life altering decisions. Why do we ask others for advice? They can't possibly understand the situation that we're in. Everyone has a different life with different experiences. Wouldn't we be better of just shaking a Magic 8 Ball? If it doesn't land on the answer we want, we decide that was a practice shake and try again until we get the answer we want. Is that not what we do with our best friends when we ask for advice?


Not to say that I haven't learned anything from asking for advice. Many friends have taught me things, pointed things out that I didn't realize until a third party mentioned it, or changed my mind on what to do in a situation. But the truth is, 87.39% of the time, I've already made up my mind and just need that little push from a friend to jump over the edge. But why? Why torment not only ourselves, but our friends? When you're the friend that's giving advice, there's a lot of pressure on you. If you tell them what they want to hear, and it backfires in their face, should you feel guilty? They were the ones that decided what to do. You just told them what they wanted to hear. They had made up their mind, but wanted someone else to tell them it was ok.


But of course, there is a third option. The option that we all take every now and then when we want to give a friend advice they don't want to hear. When they've clearly made up their mind and are looking for you to confirm, when in your head you're screaming at them for being an idiot.


3) Follow your heart. Do what's right.


When I hear these words, my mind immediately invalidates anything you've said or will say in that conversation. You're saying absolutely nothing. The Magic 8 Ball gives a better fucking answer than you. At least with the ball I can shake it over and over and not feel bad. You, on the other hand, are too scared to tell me, your friend, what you really believe. But at the same time, it's the right advice. It's the only advice that makes sense. That's the same advice number one and two are giving, but they're just spelling it out. So why do I get more pissed when someone tells me exactly what I want to hear (#3) than when someone gives me an answer that they're applying to their own life instead of mine (#1&2).



If, by chance, anyone is able to comprehend the thought process behind this drunken rambling, please feel free to leave a comment explaining it to sober Joe. Unless you tell me to follow my heart and do what's right. Then you're just an asshat.




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Um ... Its really very simple. Just dont ask for advice. Rather ask for confirmation of what you wanna do. If the friend cannot confirm, or conform, then just go ahead and learn by your mistakes. The only reason people give advice is because there are ethics and moral values attached to the advice. Personally i hate dishing out advice. I learned by the mistakes i made. Go. Make mistakes. You will be hurt for

some time. But you will have learned.

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When i say Go. Make mistakes. I mean that its okay to make mistakes and i dont mean it in a harsh way. Sure, people do say "follow your heart" or "do what is right for you" maybe thats like saying "whatever" the thing is that following your heart can lead anywhere; down the depths of despair or up to heaven. Ultimately you must make the choice cos your life is based on the choices you make and only you control your destiny. We have s responsibilty to ourselves to make good of the lessons we have learned. No matter what the situation is my only rule is this: whatever you have chosen to do, make sure you feel good about it at the end of the day.


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Hmmm. Ask some silly questions...get some silly answers! Hee hee. ^_^


I myself have sort of a habit of asking for a bit more information whenever someone asks me for advice. Yeah, it might be that I'm being nosy by doing that, but I try to give as much of an informed answer as I can. Sometimes, this has the side effect of making the person asking me realize just what an idiot they are by asking, either because their asking for advice is a really stupid question, or because they're about to make a really stupid choice. :P In any case, I don't see how #1, #2, or any kind of answer really, can be a valid answer, without knowing more. But what if there is no more, or if I'm just not sure what to say based on what I do know? That's where #3 comes in. For all I know, all they wanted was for me to validate what they'd already decided to do.


But how do I know, that all they wanted was for me to validate what they'd already decided to do? What if they were really not sure what to do? Well...unless you're psychic and can read their mind, you have no way of knowing their reason for asking you for advice in dealing with their current situation. Could the advice you give be wrong? Absolutely. But again, unless you can read their mind, you have no way of knowing that your advice is wrong...until it's too late, you've already given it, and it's been followed.


Does it really matter what advice we give? Well, the answer I'm going to give might not make much sense at first. I would say...it never, doesn't matter. Meaning, I don't think there's ever a time when giving advice will never ever matter, no matter what the person's situation is. I think there's always going to be at least one set of circumstances where giving advice to someone, might just make that bit of difference. What advice you give, or even whether or not you choose to give advice, is solely up to you. :)



Hoping you're not going to wake up with a killer hangover,


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Love it. Difficult questions always make for an interesting debate. :)


I think its important to ponder for a moment why we even give advice. Sometimes our intentions are genuine, we really seek the best for the person we give the advice too. At other times we may give advice for selfish reasons, our intent not so wholesome or well meaning. It could be given out of frustration, exasperated at a persons actions or lack of action, and given in an attempt to put an end to the ongoing drama.


Perhaps it is also worth pausing to think about when we give advice. Do we give it in the heat of the moment, when emotion is running high, or maybe wait to talk in calmer more controlled circumstances.


You do make interesting points, and I think its a human condition. We seek authentication of our decisions. We are desperate to know we have chosen to do the right thing. We want to know we are not the only fool that would make the decisions we have made.


By seeking out that affirmation that someone else would make the same choice we have, helps us to rationalise our decision. Maybe this is why we keep seeking advice on the same issue until finally we hear what we want to hear.


Maybe advice should be about asking a person the reason for a decision, probing with questions that make who ever we seek to help face the facts on their own. Maybe advice is more about listening than talking. Letting someone else come to the realisation that its not the advice itself they actually seek, its someone who'll actually listen to what we are going through and help us make sense of it all.


Regardless of the truth, it is something we all do. How many times have I gone away wishing I'd just kept my big trap shut? Or how many times have I taken advice and wished I hadn't? It's part of being human.


Even the famous have pondered this question. John Stienbeck once said "No one wants advice, only corroboration", and another quote I enjoy is from Harry S Truman. He said, "The best advice to give your children is to find out what they really want and advise them to do it."


Maybe in these words from the wise lies the answer you seek. I hope that the sober Joe wakes up and realises that its ok to be human, its good to want answers and its great to be able to share.


Yettie xx

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When in doubt, go running. It will clear your mind and the right answer will present itself.


Seriously. After you get to the point where you are exerting so much energy, the flaky parts of your brain are too busy worrying about breathing, moving blood to your muscles, & just trying to cope with keeping you alive.


That leaves the smart part of your brain to ponder such dilemmas.

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Someone that I really respect and miss dearly sent me this in an email based on this post:


....Your rant got me thinking, and, as you said, the answer you want is #3 but I think want is so off-pissing (by the way, I really like that phrase) about that answer was the rather glib nature of it. The real answer is #3a where you spend a while talking about the pros and cons of any approach, then you ignore what will make you "happy" and focus on what will bring you peace with the situation. It has taken me time to understand, that happy is not the goal, some of us will never be happy in life ... damned brain chemicals ... all we can hope for is being at peace.


While the above situation that I described was purely hypothetical (though based on true events as they say) I really do feel like it's something that I tend to struggle with. This person put a new spin on it for me. Maybe it isn't about doing what makes you happy. Happiness can be found many different ways. Referring to the situation above, none of those choices would bring a person happiness. How could it? Half of the options result in immediate loss of something you desire, and the other 50% is a crap-shoot that's not even up to us, but the other person.


It's what will bring us peace that allows us to move on and eventually become happy. Without peace, there is no happiness.

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If I hadn't deleted my entire blog about a month ago, you'd be able to dig back through the entries and find one where I made a similar rant, and I was probably even drunk too.


My version of it had been not to assume that people who have an enviable relationship have any idea how they got themselves into that position. (What's worse: I'm starting to realize it's even less likely they deserved it.) I find that people tell you essentially to do whatever you're not doing:


If you're using online dating, going to bars, asking people out, and mentioning to friends that you're looking, then they say: You're trying too hard. It'll come to you when the time is right. Why just the other day my friend was at the grocery store--of all places!--and met this nice young man... It just happened. It happened because their time was right. And then you'll hate everyone involved because not only are they all retarded, but they have what you want and clearly seem too stupid to appreciate it.


If you're focusing on yourself, your career, your hobbies, your friends, and generally not putting forth effort toward romance but remaining open to the possibility, then those same friends will say: Well how do you expect anything to happen if you don't put yourself out there? Oh, I know what we'll do. We'll fix you up. I know a great place where we can go and meet people... And then you've become a charity project.


In either case, some well-meaning but essentially unthinking outsider hijacks your life according to principles absorbed from common sense (which isn't sense at all) and television.


Why do we ask, then? Well: the dissonance is good, in a way, isn't it? Something about hearing others speak thoughts you've already generated yourself seems to change things. The same is true about writing things out.


And occasionally there is that person who does have solid, unobvious, effective advice. Usually it comes from people who have endured a similar problem and crafted a way out. Even then, those people are usually wise enough to provide disclaimers (and that's how you know to trust them). They say: I can't make any promises, but when I was in a situation like yours, I did this, and this is what I got. It isn't exactly what I was shooting for, but it was something... For many gays, however, this person is difficult to find. For me, a lack of role models ranks among the top problems facing gay youth.


If there is a positive to asking people for advice, even if they have none of value to offer, it might be that being involved in the solution to the problem makes them listen to it in a way they might not otherwise. From that you get a degree of recognition and understanding, if nothing else.

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Maybe it is just the company and comfort of your friend you want and asking advice is the device of choice.

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Oh I'm late to this party.


I would ask you this: Why do these answers bother you so much? Why, beyond being drunk, are you dedicating a blog to this question?


In the end, nobody makes decisions for us (that is, when we truly have a choice, we are the only ones with the power to make them). Yet we all ask for advice. So, if any answer ever triggers an extreme reaction from you, perhaps you should think about the reasons behind it.


(though it seems to me like you want them to 'react' with you, rather than giving you helpful advice)

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