Friday, September 26, 2008

The good advice that you just didn't take


Been thinking about advice lately. Some people give advice; most people don't take it. It's hard to know when someone is really asking for your opinion on how to fix something or when they just want to vent. And nothing is worse than someone telling you how to make something all better when you just want them to agree with you that it sucks.


People tell me I have a knack--but I'll tell you a secret. My best advice for giving advice is to listen...really listen...to what your friend is saying. Almost every time they will tell you in their own words what they really want to do when they are telling you what is going on. You just have to pay attention and say it back to them. Even if it isn't what you would do if you were your friend.


So...tell me the best or worst advice you ever got. And did you follow it?



I'm giving away a "What Gwen said" mug to a random commenter between now and Sunday evening. Winner to be announced on Monday.














23 comments:

  1. Random Random Random Random...

    *grin*

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  2. Okay, sorry about that...I'm feeling goofy. Best advice I followed? I seriously have no clue.

    Best advice I failed to follow was probably in the late summer of 1989. I was told that an impending move was a perfect opportunity to divest myself of a very unstable relationship.

    I didn't. Eight months later she ran off with another guy and emptied our bank accounts and maxed out our joint credit cards.

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  3. Ouch.
    I did a lot of stupid stuff the summer of 89 too, Will. Let's blame the planetary alignment, shall we?

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  4. Got a rejection letter from an editor with an clear explanation of what was wrong with the heroine and how to fix it. I was advised to make the adjustments she suggested (she was so on the mark with her comments) and resubmit. I didn't. Why? I didn't know any better.

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  5. DanaB1:18 AM

    My mom suggested I go to med school after I graduated from law school and told her I didn't want to be a lawyer.

    I don't know if that counts as advice. I prefer to think of it as a highly optimistic verbal hallucation.

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  6. My brain told me not to marry my first husband, but my girly parts disagreed. Guess who won?

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  7. By far the worst advice I ever received was "have another baby. It'll help him grow up faster." Thank God I didn't listen! Best advice was "stick with your music. You'll always be able to make some money." I took that advice and it has paid off time and time again.

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  8. My brother told me not to go into en suite accomodation for my first year at university, but i didn't want to share bathrooms with people who drink to excess.

    I really should have taken his advice :)

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  9. So right...about the friend ultimately telling you what she wants to/will do. Listening is key. How many times do we just need to talk ourselves into (or out of) something by bouncing it off of a rubbery friend?

    When it's all said and done, I'm responsible for my choices...though it's awfully tempting to blame someone else when I screw up! That might be why we seek advice in the first place. We're too scared to screw it up and have only ourselves to blame...

    I'm really not this pessimistic —honest!

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  10. Dude, I totally want the mug! It's what Gwen said.

    Best advice I ever got? I was whining to my grandmother (who is DA BOMB, btw) about how some romance novelist had messed up a book and killed off one of my favorite secondary characters, and she said, "Then do it better."

    So, the best advice I ever received was to start writing. My Grams is my hero(ine).

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  11. Blah, blah, blah (I really just want the mug). :D

    Ok, um, one of my friends advised me to go to school and I did. She suggested what school to go to and I went there. She gave me the idea of going for a BA in English, so I'm working on it... I guess I follow advice pretty good.

    Also coworker advised me to date this strange guy, so I went all out and married him. Maybe I obey too well?

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  12. Best? Gosh. Toss up:

    "Worry is like rocking in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere. Don't fuss with worry."

    --Carrie Virginia Olinger (Granny)

    "Forget everything you were told about who you are. You get to decide that. It starts here."

    --Douglas Hewitt, mentor at Worcester College, Oxford

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  13. OH, yeah, worst...

    "Don't ever date anyone foreign and don't date guys you meet online. And that guy is both. I think he's probably a terrorist."

    --former friend Rosemary (still single and mean)

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  14. I think it has to be my mum telling me I'd didn't have the talent to be a writer, a singer, an embroiderer or a nurse.
    Yes, that just about covers it! (LOL)

    Best writing advice?
    Write tight, write the books you want to write and be patient.

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  15. Okay, so years agao before I got married I had this best friend named Steven. (We had been best friends since ninth grade). So one day after my boyfriend Timmy dumped me I cried on Steven's shoulder as always. We went through the whole 'You deserve better' and 'Someone else will come along' routine. Yadda yadda yadda. Well ... then he proceeds to get down on one knee and tells me that the best thing I should do is marry him since he knows me better than anyone and we're the best of friends. ACK! That's not all. He also said that even after we got married I could still have sex with other men if I wanted to just as long as I always came home to him. 'I just want you happy' he said. Double ACK! Needless to say I didn't take his advice. Gag. He was like a brother to me. LOL!!

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  16. Good advice I didn't take:
    Become an accountant.
    Get a masters on parent's dime.
    Go management track at Borders (this might not belong here considering.)

    Good advice I did take that didn't work out:
    Buy a house.
    Refinance your house.
    That job in Chile sounds great. Go for it.

    Bad advice I did take and lived to regret:
    Try this. It's a local food. I can't tell you the English word for what's in it.
    Have another drink and talk to my pal.

    Bad advice I didn't take and am still relieved by:
    You should have kids.
    Why would you want to teach overseas?
    Why are you painting your foyer purple? Tan is a much better color. Tan or white.
    (I should say, all three of these came from my MIL.)

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  17. Wow...so many good stories!

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  18. Have to go with Kristen on the little voice telling me not to marry my ex - same result as Kristen as well.

    Good advice came from my sister when I separated from my ex. She told me not to take action based on emotions, that, once I calmed down if I still wanted to do something, I could but that once I did something, I could never take it back, no matter how much I wanted to. It was good advice for the separation and just good advice for life in general. I follow it to this day (well, in most cases anyway).

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  19. The best advice I ever got was from my grandmother on the occasion of my marriage to my DH. She told me "Never go to bed mad at each other - always sort it before you sleep". After almost 32 years of marriage I still follow that advice and have passed it on to other newly weds along the way :D

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  20. When it comes to following your dreams against all odds (like wanting to be a published writer) my dad told me to put my guts to the pavement and keep going. Still not quite sure what it means, but I think he wanted to reminded me that sometimes following your dreams hurts. You get all scraped up and little pebbles get embedded in your skin, but if you keep going, your skin gets tougher, the pebbles deflect any broken glass some creep has thrown out his car window, and eventually you get to where you are going.
    I like it. A lot.

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  21. When it comes to following your dreams against all odds (like wanting to be a published writer) my dad told me to put my guts to the pavement and keep going. Still not quite sure what it means, but I think he wanted to reminded me that sometimes following your dreams hurts. You get all scraped up and little pebbles get embedded in your skin, but if you keep going, your skin gets tougher, the pebbles deflect any broken glass some creep has thrown out his car window, and eventually you get to where you are going.
    I like it. A lot.

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  22. Ooops, so I guess this was advice that I ended up taking.
    The bad advice dad gave me was to declare a Computer Science major in college. If I had been Bill Gates it would have been a good idea, but I am so NOT Bill Gates. After having to take the first computer software class twice I dropped out of the major.

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  23. There's a difference between taking the high road and letting someone walk over you.

    :)
    bria

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