I am great at giving advice. I know this sounds like one of those sweeping statements, but I am particularly good at listening to all the points of view and then giving a measured answer (if I don’t say so myself!) I think I missed my calling in life, as a judge. My word would be final. But honestly though, I am a bit of a messiah for the afflicted, and I regularly find myself with a housemate on the end of my bed, pondering the great mysteries of what to do about this or how to go about that.
If only I could take my own advice. If I could, I would be a much better and more rounded individual. It applies to every corner of my life, and annoys me at how easy it would be just to listen to my own sage advice, rather that knowing that what I am about to do is wrong, yet doing it anyway. I don’t even plunge in without any warning, I’m one of those sorts of girls whose angel on her shoulder is screaming “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!! THIS WILL END BADLY!!!”, so she just brushes it into her knicker drawer, slams it closed and proceeds anyway.
Example number one: Work.
If there is something that happens with my friends at work that they are concerned about or feel that they aren’t getting help with, I give good advice. I instruct them to be calm and explain rationally what is the issue and how they feel it could be resolved, being constructive and not getting upset.
My reality: I know this all to be true, yet I keep quiet over certain things for too long. Then when I get so annoyed about something that I just have to bring it up, it makes me look like I am having a massive rant over something really small, rather than adding to something that people are already aware of. I’m aware this makes me come across as abrupt and a bit difficult, and it’s funny because that’s not what I’m like at all.
Example number two: Men.
The age old story, I can give my advice but I cannot take it. Man messing my sister around? Just don’t answer the phone any more. Boy giving my housemate grief? Maintain your distance. You are better than that. Toughen up.
My reality: I used to be fairly easy going, until recently. Said individual and I stopped seeing each other on the basis that he was too busy with work and lives a bit away which made the whole thing a bit fraught and more stressful than it should be. The issue is, we still talk to each other. And I don’t think this is healthy for me. He calls, I miss it. I call him back, he misses it. We carry on playing answerphone leapfrog till one of us messages the standard sorry love, missed you, try again tomorrow, hope you’re well…. text. I went through a stage where I thought I would not answer the calls any more, it would get easier and life would resume as normal. Oh no. What really happens is that I miss the call, find myself feeling all smug that I have resisted the urge to pick it up and babble inanely about my week, but then end up either messaging apologising for missing the call, or calling back the next day, and the answerphone leapfrog continues.
Example number three: (this is a silly one) Car Maintenance.
If my friend breaks down because she played the petrol lottery, I wisely instruct her that maybe in future she should fill up more often (I’m conscious that I’m sounding a little patronising!) and do the whole oh well you’ll know for next time won’t you? line.
Yet should my car flick onto the fuel light on the way home I do a petrol bargain with myself. I think that I can get home on the fuel light, and I will have a cup of tea and then head out later to fill up my tank. I get up the next morning, having forgotten to go back out, and the fuel light twinkles at me all the way to work. No matter, I think, ill head out at lunchtime so that I don’t have the same trouble as yesterday with not wanting to head out again. But then I eat some lunch, forget and do the mad dash from the office to the petrol station while the fuel light flashes manically at me, my car threatens to die and runs just on the petrol fumes.
There are some things I will just never learn!
What advice of your own should you take?