Posts Tagged ‘respect’

If a friend asks you for your advice, do yourself a favor and don’t give it to them… unless you don’t want them as a friend anymore.

Consider these words from a former Facebook friend:

“I appreciate so many people wanting to… fix me? But going to YOUR church isn’t going to fix anything, re-watching/re-reading, movies & books about stuff I watched and read 10+ years ago isn’t going to fix me… And I’m not really into the bizarre self help seminars, webinars, YouTube videos, and so on.”

The more someone seeks advice, the less they really want it. The above quote illustrates this, which is one of life’s greatest contradictions. After reading his/her latest Facebook rant toward his/her well-meaning friends, I was reminded me about a famous line from the HBO series “Deadwood.”

It was was said by the character “Wild” Bill Hickock, who was addressing his good friend, Charlie Utter. You see, Charlie was trying to get Hickock to give up his self-destructive drinking and gambling habits. In an emotionally-charged moment between the two, “Wild” Bill says, “Can’t you let me go to hell the way I want to?” I believe this simple yet profound statement sums up what my friend above was trying to say about advice, solicited or otherwise.

From my experience, those seeming to “seek” advice – as well as those who seem to be in the most need of it – fall into one of four groups:

Group One, aka “the Venters:” Trapped in repetitive, dysfunctional relationships/situations, this group simply wants someone to listen. They bottle up their anger and resentment until they can’t take it any longer; then, they look for a sympathetic person to unburden themselves upon. After unburdening themselves, they’re able to return to their dysfunctional relationship/situation feeling refreshed and renewed. Don’t try giving them advice – like, “Why don’t find someone/something new that will help you be happy” – unless you never want to see them again.

Group Two, aka “the Blue Needies:” Ever feel like you’re a human dumping ground for a friend or family member’s woes? Chances are you have a Blue Needy in your life. Always down and depressed, these folks need someone to listen and tell them all the things they want to hear: “You’re right,” “You’re great,” “You’re awesome,” “He/she doesn’t deserve you,” etc. Try giving this group any advice and you’re likely to create some hurt feelings and maybe even experience some backlash from their wounded egos. (Note: the line between “Venter” and “Blue Needy” can become blurred at times.)

Group Three, the “Lost Souls:” If you like giving advice, you’ll love this group! The problem is, they’re a rare one, at best. After having done the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results, Lost Souls find themselves on the threshold of understanding that they might not have all the answers. This sometimes leaves them open to the possibility of hearing how they can change their approach to find the success they seek.

Group Four, aka the “Hellbound:” This is “Wild” Bill’s group. They’re committed to doing things their way even if it (most likely) means their own destruction. Trying to give these folks advice practically guarantees they’ll do the opposite. The best thing friends/family/lovers can do is stand back and allow the Hellbound to go down in flames… They won’t have it any other way.

So remember, no matter how screwed up some people’s lives are, they don’t want any advice on how to fix it… especially if they ask. And by “ask,” I mean everything from soliciting someone’s advice directly to various cries for help via social media. So the best advice that can ever be given is: don’t give advice. Trust me, you’ll be happier this way.

About J.P. Ribner
J.P. Ribner is the author of Viking fantasy adventure series “The Berserker’s Saga.” Currently, the saga features two novels – “Legacy of the Bear” and “Prophecy of the Bear.” For more about his written work, check out his website.

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