If someone is shooting themselves in the foot without knowing that, wouldn’t they appreciate pointers? If someone is alienating people by their behavior and attitudes – wouldn’t they want to know?
Or … in pointing that out perhaps they are forced to take an uncomfortable look at something they are very uncomfortable about.
Why try? Perhaps I’m misguided in this, but I like to help people who need help. Don’t we all? I don’t mean telling an idiot they are being an idiot. Surely idiots know that already. But telling someone who didn’t understand consequences of their action, or their inaction, is something they ought to know, right? The question of course is whether I should leave them in ignorance of what they’ve said/done – and just move on, or not.
What I learned yesterday, I taught myself this morning. I replied to my daughter Carl’s request for comments on something – and I offered mine, best I could, and I hope I did it well. As I crafted my words I was wondering, what would I say differently is my comments were not invited? Would I say nothing at all?
Should I offer it all …
Recent days experiences around my giving, hesitating, then giving some unsolicited advice have taught me something which is both complex and clear at the same time – not sure it did any good for the world. Or for that person who received my thoughts on a couple of subjects. Methinks she wouldn’t go out with me again if I asked. Oh … and I wouldn’t ask.
And I’m not so sure I should conduct future experiments of this kind. I’ll not air the issue/person on public pages – but I’m curious to better understand what happened, and why. Next time I try to help someone with my unsolicited advice I’d like to either be more effective or simply shut up before I blurt out …
What I learned yesterday, what I taught myself yesterday in an attempt to help someone – probably didn’t help much at all. Smiles, listening – but what good is that if the mind is turned off.
As if I was speaking a foreign language. Perhaps I was speaking consideration to someone who didn’t understand it. Speaking pride and joy to someone who doesn’t possess so much of that commodity.
Not telling them what they said/did told about them and how they aren’t likely to get the result they want without change. If I was talking about steps in a recipe, most people would appreciate the tweak. Talking about steps in making friends of alienating them, that seems to be a different matter – one I’ve as yet failed to master. I doubt it can be mastered at all …
Ordinary people aren’t ordinary. Or extraordinary. Yet they just ARE. For every exception we encounter I believe we tend (I know I do) to not think extraordinary – but we think them weird somehow. Sometimes they are.
Is it our job to tell them? It is my job? Each time I don’t, I wonder. Each time I do, I wonder. What would have been different if I hadn’t made that choice?
If, risking adverse reaction and consequences – what was the value in that unsolicited advice I gave? What good did it do for them? For me?
Sometimes it is best to just let matters alone, let people alone, and move on. I’ve always understood theory of that. I’ve found I’m not so good at actually doing it.
Not because mine wasn’t good advice, but because people don’t see/hear things that way – they take it as adversarial rather than helpful, threatening rather than caring …
But if THEY don’t think they need help, however innocuous or simple our offered help may be, there will be a reaction – and admit I have once again found someone whose reaction was neither appreciative of changed …
I probably didn’t help much.
P.S.: there could be no more perfect day than this one, so much bliss in this one – travelling from where I am to where I am, from my home to my other home, from solitude to children, from where I sleep to where I can sleep unbelievably well. It isn’t the silence, or the guest room in the basement, but it is that difference of being where they are rather than being only where I am – alone, when hanging out with precious grandchildren who see me only through their eyes and not through my own …
column written/ published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: 4C/39F, mostly sunny … walking slow, but happier. Advise to use heat rather than ice on my knee produced improvement overnight. Walking tenderly (with Gusta obediently pacing along beside me) worked out well. More heat, more slow walking, but swelling and pain-level has declined into the ‘sane-range’ and I am so grateful for that. Kudos to Emily for a fantastic massage and some very good advice – which I am taking. Advice and good hands seem to go together.