Getting the right type of advice.

There’s a curious thing that happens when you’re feeling low.

Some (no doubt well-meaning) people will try to impose their solutions on you.

‘You should do X.’

‘Do Y.’

‘Why don’t you try Z?’

And of course these are the last things you’re going to do.

In fact if someone suggests Z, you’re more likely to think about doing A, through sheer cantankerousness.

But it’s weird.

If you’re anything like me, there’s a part of you that is actually screaming out for someone, somewhere to tell you what to do, at the very same time that you’re actively ignoring everyone’s ‘advice’.

I think the solution, if you can possibly pull it off, is to find a friend who gives advice rather than ‘advice’.

Someone who’s in tune with you.

Someone who can see things through your temporarily blurred eyes.

Someone, perhaps, whose elegant solution is to persuade you to sit down, have a cup of tea, and return to the thing that’s bugging you tomorrow.

Because problems sometimes look smaller from a distance.

And a good friend can help you understand this, when you’ve temporarily forgotten.

3 thoughts on “Getting the right type of advice.

  1. The Quakers have a book, which they call ‘Advices and Queries’. It is always on the central table in meeting, alongside the Bible, and is often used as a basis for witness/ testimony. As an English Language ‘Adviser’, I’m always intrigued by the ‘Middle English’ plural. It suggests to me that simple, practical pieces of advice are often more valuable than generic ‘advice’ to the recipient. To be effective, advice needs to be specific, constructive and to involve action which is within the control of the receiver. In those circumstances, countable ‘advices’ have more chance of bearing fruit, just as solutions are best achieved step by step.

  2. I love the word ‘cantankerousness’. Funny thing is it made me smile! I can picture an elderly gent with a hat and suspenders sitting on a porch angrily swatting at no-see-ums. I can also picture..me, no suspenders! I can certainly relate to feeling low over the years, needing some advice but just not wanting to ‘hear’ it. Two friends came to mind when I read this..very special ladies that I’ve known for 35+ years. I remember the advice, the care, the love they shared with me. And, I remember me.. and the cantankerousness I gave them in return! Things haven’t changed. But, I also like the phrase ‘..problems sometimes look smaller from a distance.’ This is a good one! Im stubborn, not stupid!

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