Thursday, August 30, 2012

If You Don’t Want to Know, Then Don’t Ask

Giving advice is often an unwanted gift. You may give it, but the receiver may have no interest in taking it. Some people love to give advice (whether solicited or not) because they wish to be helpful or just love to be in the thick of it all. However, I’ve never really reveled in giving advice because everyone’s so different; people have different priorities and perspectives so it’s hard for me to want to tell them what they should do in a given situation. But if they really want to know my opinion, I’ll give it…although sometimes it’s not what they want to hear.

When someone asks me, “What do you think I should do?” and I give my thoughts on the matter, and the response is, “Well, don’t you think…” Then I know my advice has fallen on deaf ears. They’re then trying to convince me to agree to whatever their foregone conclusion was, and they didn’t actually want my opinion at all. They just wanted reassurances that they were making the right decision (and I just ruined it for them). [Sigh.]

So common sense tells me: don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to. If you’ve already made up your mind, then you don’t need me to tell you anything. Because it’s one thing if you actually want my opinion, but if you’re just looking for a “yes man” to make you feel better about your own conclusions, then by all means don’t ask me. That’s the sort of verbal validation that means next to nothing—you may as well be talking to a stuffed bear…and I am not a stuffed bear.

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