I posted once about The Best Life Advice I’ve Ever Received. For a little fun, and as a cautionary tale to you all, I thought why not post some of the worst?
As I have the day off and nothing better to do, since I’m just catching up on laundry and housekeeping (and forgot about a casual event I was invited to attend – scheduling, maybe grounds for a future post!), it seemed a two post kind of day.
You have likely encountered some of these yourself!
“Go for the ugly guys. They will treat you better. Just look at (insert their partner’s name here).” I’m not going to credit this. To say nothing of looks, that person’s partner was mentally abusive, neglectful, a cheater, and eventually walked out on them entirely. It doesn’t matter what a person looks like, but they need to be attractive to you. Even if you’re the only one who thinks they are. And the old adage holds strong with people, same as with everything else, to never judge a book by it’s cover.
“To fix your problem, you just need to turn on the knob.” Again, I’m not going to credit this. Being informed that the issue lie with turning the malfunctioning device on in the first place was not helpful, not correct, and did not fix the problem.
“Think happy thoughts.” “But I should make you happy.” “Those pills are just feeding into the pockets of greedy pharmaceutical corporations.” – Most of my exes, undermining my diagnosis of depression, trying to force me to stop taking my prescribed medication and refusing to educate themselves on the topic. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing and be thought an idiot, than to open your mouth and prove it.
“Just let it slide, just keep your mouth shut, stop bringing it up, don’t pick a fight.” – Uncredited. If something bothers you enough that it makes you unhappy, if you have been keeping your mouth shut about it and smiling for so long all the while just tolerating something that upsets you, then expect things to never change or get better. You are telling yourself you have to live with your discomfort because it’s better than making someone else feel uncomfortable. If it is a person you are allowing to treat you a certain way then they will continue to treat you the same way, not aware that there is an issue, and if they know you have a problem with it and you just let it be, then you are in essence ‘training’ them that they can continue on with that behaviour and you’ll just stick around anyhow.
“You’re too old to do anything about it at this stage in your life.” – What do you know, uncredited! Had I taken that person’s advice (which was really quite sound) prior to them inserting that follow up to it, I would have completed the task they had suggested I try out 5 years ago. If, for instance, this person was suggesting you drop everything and head to law school, it is 3 years of schooling here in Canada. If in theory this had been what the person was suggesting I do, being in a small town with a small bar, those 5 years would have secured my status as an experienced professional, and would have me well underway to securing a partnership. I’ve seen it happen. And since I am ‘only’ turning 37, with 23 more years to go before my pension kicks in, at several hundreds of dollars per hour, if I worked at the rate I do now, I could have made a very good go at it. If that’s what we were discussing.
“You should go for that guy. He’s fun and cute and he likes you.” – A good friend. That guy is a party boy and an addict, which is why he’s fun. He likes me because I’m flat out awesome (wink, wink). And he’s cute, but you can’t compromise on your standards just so you have something nice to look at. (And for what it’s worth, the very next day I met my boyfriend, who I think is the most amazing person and sexiest thing going)
“You’re always going to be in debt, so you better get used to it now/ buy it anyway.” – From someone who made too much money, knew my situation at the time and should have known better. You CAN get yourself out of debt! You CAN save enough money to pay for things in cash. You should never get used to living with that stress and fear. You don’t NEED it, so why buy it when you could be using that money to get yourself out of debt?
“Everybody is doing it.” “You should try this.” – Ex friends. Just because everyone is doing something, if it doesn’t feel right to you, then you shouldn’t. Not everybody is doing it. Only the people who are doing it are, in fact, doing it. And you know how I know not everybody is doing it? Because I’m not. As far as ‘trying this’, I mean it in a different sort of context – when I was still quite young I was once told I should try something called jib; if you’re offered a substance at a party and it’s a cutesy name so it sounds pretty harmless, you may be surprised to learn you were in fact just offered crystal meth. If you don’t know what it is, don’t do it. If you don’t want to do drugs, don’t do them. I don’t. And I left that party. And I’m not sure when my friends at that point decided to do them, or how they came across them (and since then, I’ve found new friends), but someone told them that it was okay to do something because it had a cute and fun name, so how bad could it be?
“You should do (insert task here).” or “You should let me (insert horrific sounding thing here) – my ex would do it.” – Exes. For a reason. If they liked something their ex did, they should have stayed with her. If all of their exes did it, then if that’s the way they spoke to them, I can only imagine they felt pressured to, which is essentially abuse. You can find somebody better, just as I did.
“Move in with your boyfriend. You’ll save money.” – Lots of people. My boyfriend is not my income source. This was also very early on in our relationship, and we were progressing healthily and happily, and taking our time. You should never cohabitate just to save money, and only do it when you are ready to be more serious.
“You should not get a dog. You can’t take care of yourself.” – Someone who had very little insight into my life but knew I had depression. I feed myself, provide for myself, clean for myself, go to work myself, have maintained a good job for 13 years, have tried numerous different things, have set goals and achieved just about every single one I’ve ever worked at, have encountered problems and worked through them all myself or with a little assistance, when something in my life goes wrong I take the steps and seek out the resources to address it, have been placed in IQ tests as gifted, coming in just shy of genius (my moment of gloat here), have travelled alone, have lived happily in three different provinces, am certified in First Aid, WHMIS, fire training, etc., have received awards, headed up several successful charitable endeavours, have volunteered, head up two committees (one official for work, and one informal, although also through work), survived a bad marriage and many nightmare relationships, and pay my own way. I am literally prepared for everything, and even have extra clothes and food for my coworkers when we travel (that I bring in their size, should the need arise), and they know they can always turn to me for those things. I think I do very well, thank you very much. And that dog, he is the best damn antidepressant I’ve ever come across – and a happy, healthy one at that.
“You should have kids!” – Random people. When you don’t have any insight into a person’s life, finances, relationship status, home life or fertility, you are not in a position to offer such advice. If someone is over 30 and does not have them, trust that they have reasons why. Even if it’s just because they don’t want any or because they have never been in a position to actually have any.
“You could never be a mom. You can’t get away with that when you have a family.” – All of my jealous mom friends. I’m not a mom because I don’t have kids. That’s it. And since I don’t, I’m going to enjoy all of the liberties that comes with not having any. Should I ever have them, I fully intend on stepping up to the plate, just as I do in all other aspects of my life. Don’t ever let people tell you that because of your lifestyle you cannot do things just because they think they know better. You can do anything you want to, so long as you are prepared to do the work. And until that time, enjoy not having those responsibilities. I’m gonna sleep in, eat what I like (which is healthy, though kids don’t much care for my food), spend a little extra on eating special dinners because I’m only feeding one (or sometimes as many as two), exercise if I feel like it, watch what I want, and buy as many shoes as I can justify spending money on. People, I tell ya.
“You need more confidence, smile, keep your head up!” – From strangers in the street. This would be good advice in the right situation and from the right person, but let me explain why this is bad. 1 – I have enough confidence as it is. I’m literally oozing it. 2 – I’m heading off to a medical appointment, am in a hurry or maybe I have just found out a close relative is sick or passed away and you are a stranger in a bad part of town, you are leering at my chest, and smell as if have just left the bar in the middle of the day; I have better things or bigger matters on my mind and smiling at questionable strangers is not on my priority list. 3 – I am watching where I am walking so I do not misstep. See that person falling over the curb with the gum and dog feces stuck to their shoe over there? Yeah, that’s not me. And excuse me while I pick up this 20$ bill I just spotted on the ground beside you.
I’ll likely revisit and add on to this in the future. (I may already have done so.) But for now, anything here resonate with you? What experience have you had following others misguided ‘wisdom’? What is the worst advice you have ever received? Anything you think might be good for a laugh, or that you found particularly frustrating and unhelpful, or that you think others could learn from?