Asking for Advice, or “Who, Two Divorces and Joey?”
At some point in any relationship, there will be problems. Maybe you will differ on when to have children. Maybe you will battle over how to pay off your credit cards. Maybe you will row over how involved you let your parents be in the relationship. But no matter how happy and connected you are to your partner (or friend, or parent, or coworker), you will experience an issue that you are both stuck on.
At this point, you will need to ask for outside help. But whom do you ask?
One of my longtime favorite shows on TV was “Friends“. I loved watching the adorable adventures of these six chums as they figured out how to make their way through life. One of my favorite moments came after Monica and Chandler had started dating and Chandler became worried that Monica wanted to get married right away and they had a fight. In his desperate attempt to solve the problem, he asked Joey and Ross what he should do. They advised him to “make some kind of a big gesture”. Chandler’s solution to this is to run out and buy an engagement ring. The results are, well, less than positive.
Sorry for the poor quality. It was all I could find.
When you seek out advice, it is important to go to the right source. if you’re having relationship issues, don’t go to your single friends. If you’re having financial issues, don’t go to the person living paycheck-to-paycheck. If you are concerned with your children, don’t ask someone whose never held a baby. If you’re having a crisis of faith, don’t go to the atheist.
Finding the right source for advice is extremely important when trying to resolve a situation. Here are some tricks I use to help me come up with solutions.
- Talk to the person with whom you’re having a problem. If Michael and I are having an argument, I look to him to help me solve it. Who better to know what we need to solve our issue than ourselves? Usually by just sitting down and discussing the situation with your opposer (there seems to be no kind synonym for rival) you can come to some conclusion that is agreeable to both parties.
- Ask someone who is in a similar situation. Your non-smoker brother will not be able to offer advice on how to kick your nicotine habit. Instead, ask your uncle who quit thirty-two years ago. If you need help getting your homemade bread to rise, the Wonderbread Kid is not going to give you the information you need. Know your audience and ask the right person.
- Regard unsolicited advice from the wrong people warily. While I was pregnant, two of my husband’s relatives, who have never had children, offered me several pieces of advice on how to cope with my nausea and sleeping issues. While well-meaning, I didn’t heed their advice as much as I might someone who had gone through it. My friend Niall Doherty talks about this in his manifesto. He tells of how many people who have never run a home business have copious amounts of advice to share. It’s true. Occasionally it is valid. My good friend, though she has never experienced childbirth herself, has worked as a doula for years and has helped many women through the pains of labor. On her advice, my husband and I were able to make it through ten hours of labour with breathing and exercise techniques before the epidural became necessary.
- The Internet is a great place for advise, if you’re careful.. However, it can also be extremely detrimental. As a person who believes in the attachment parenting philosophy, I was seeking kind and gentle methods to help Naomi to sleep. Searching for advise on this provided me with sources that promoted co-sleeping, sidecar cribs, and nursig down. However, I was also bombarded with advise to just let my daughter “cry it out”, which goes against everything I believe in. Were I to do that, I’d be leaving my poor baby to scream for hours alone in her crib. That is not something my husband and I believe in and therefore we looked over that advise in favor of a sidecar crib arrangement, which, as you have seen, worked out quite well for us.
- Even good advice from good people can be wrong. I once worked at a part-time job in a store I really liked. When I found out I had been accepted at a school out of town, my mother advised me to tell my workplace, even though I didn’t know the date I’d be moving. Three days later when I asked for my schedule next week, they told me they were going to let me go and had already hired someone else. I was quite upset, not only at my mom for giving me bad advice, but also at my workplace for canning me and leaving me without work for the summer. However, that brings me to my final point:
- No matter who gives you the advice, you are responsible for taking it. In my above example, my mother had suggested I tell them I would be leaving so that they were prepared ahead of time, and had of course meant me no ill will. But it had been my decision to go ahead with that advice. Even when you make the right — or wrong — decision, it is still you who made the decision and you have to take responsibility for it.
I regularly call my best friend, a mother of three, for baby questions. I go to my priest, or my very devout grandmother, for spiritual advise. I look to my personal hero, Shane Claiborne for concerns regarding social justice. When I have concerns regarding mininalism, I look to Dave Bruno and Leo Bakuta. And above all, I go to my Beloved for every issue life puts in my path. His advise, both good and bad, is always with my best interests in mind.Advertisements
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