On Giving and Receiving Advice in Difficult Situations

When we are faced with difficult situations where we are simply unable to make a decision on our own, we turn to those who know us best for advice, whether it be a friend or family member. Even then, when we receive advice, we often still can’t arrive at a concrete solution. Why is this? Why do we turn to the advice of others when we don’t even take it into consideration a majority of the time. We often completely dismiss it or argue with them from every angle. It’s difficult to see things from an outside perspective when you’re in the situation yourself. Of course, it’s easier to give advice than to receive it. When you’re the one giving advice, the answer almost always seems clear.

Say for example, a friend turns to you immediately after getting into a fight with his or her significant other. From an outside perspective, you can easily dissect the argument. You point out the errors in communication (or lack thereof), tell them that they should/should not have said something, or advise them to react differently for future circumstances. As you are giving them with this advice, I can assure you that their immediate reaction is: They are 100% disagreeing with you in silence. That little person inside their brain is sitting there with arms crossed, and shaking their head left to right.

If you’re the person receiving this advice, you’re thoughts begin to populate and you silently respond in various ways:

“But she doesn’t even understand what happened”

“She doesn’t even know him”

“She’s not the one in the relationship”

Your defensive barriers begin to climb higher and higher and eventually, you completely tune out from everything they are saying.

Then, do we even bother asking? We ask because we care about the opinions of those that matter to us. We ask because deep down, we know that they can see things much clearer than we ever could when we’re in the heat of the moment. We ask because we often know the answer, but hope to hear something different. We ask because, even though we don’t want to admit it, they are usually right.

I’m a big fan of Elite Daily and I quite often read articles on topics such as relationships and dating immediately after I get into a fight with my boyfriend. And immediately after reading them, I get even more frustrated and angry on the opinions of these internet strangers. I often respond in one of the various ways that I provided above. But the thing about giving and receiving advice is this- It is always coming from an outside perspective. No matter what, at the end of the day, no one can know the inner workings of any difficult situation whether it be your best friend, your sister, or your husband. They can only tell you things from their point of view.

So, all you can really  do is to try to put yourself in that outside perspective and ask yourself, “What would I do if I was watching this happen live?”

Again, this is always easier said than done, but if all of us tried removing ourselves from the situation, then there would be a significant drop in errors in communication. Sometimes, we just have to take a step back and remove ourselves from the situation and see it for what it is. Often times, we are too emotionally invested to see things clearly. To remove the fog from the glass, try a different window. Hopefully then, a solution will come.

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Forced Togetherness

A subject that I’ve been trying to avoid writing about is love. I’ve drifted very far from understanding the idea of it.The concept of it. The meaning of it.

Last night was one of those nights when you’re out with your friends and the conversation revolves around relationships. Unfortunately, I had nothing to contribute from my personal life because it’s been a while since I’ve been close enough to someone to consider it a relationship. Lately, I haven’t even reached the point where I didn’t have to wonder if the guy was going to text me that week.

What I was able to contribute to the conversation was a quote that I saw on someone’s Instagram. It went something like, “How lucky one must be to have someone that makes it so hard to say goodbye” I’m not exactly sure if that’s the correct wording, but hopefully you can comprehend the gist of it.

I miss the feeling of having someone who makes it hard to say goodbye.

Ever since I’ve been single in New York City, I’ve learned how easy it is to forget about someone. The hard part has been getting to the point where it’s hard to say goodbye. They say that the recovery time of a break-up is half the length of the relationship. Well, I’ve been long past my recovery time from the last relationship that I was in.

Since living here, anyone I’ve dated hasn’t even come close to retrieving relationship status. They’ve all been cut short…by me. It’s become too easy to drift away from someone, especially if your paths don’t typically cross on a daily basis.

Yesterday, I watched a Youtube video by Buzzfeed that said that many relationships grow out of “forced togetherness”. I 100% agree. It makes sense that the more time that you spend with someone, the more they grow on you (of course, it can go in the opposite direction as well; you can end up hating each other)

The more time you spend with someone in the beginning stages, the more you get to know them. Then, when you get to know them, you can decide how you feel.

However, if you cut it short, you’ll never know if it could have grown into something more.

I think what the problem is, is expecting the magic to come first. We want to dive right into love and obtain it right away. This is one of the many problems of my generation. We want quick results.

Well, what I have learned from my past is that you fall more and more in love with someone as you spend more time with them which is why it takes so much longer to recover from long-term relationships. This is also why it’s so easy to get over someone if you’ve only been on three dates with them. You don’t really have much to lose.

I’ve been expecting the magic to come first. Instead of putting in the work early on, I just want to get to the “being in love” part because I know what it feels like. I want that feeling so badly.

Many of us have had that one person that set the standards for all of our future relationships. There’s that one person that really got to you. That one person that hurt you more than you’ve ever been hurt. That one person that you’ve been so head-over-heels for that you would do anything for them.

Unfortunately, those of us who have been traumatized by that one person have been so affected that we’re incapable of feeling like we’ll ever get to that point with another person.

This is the place that I’ve arrived to.

I don’t know if I’m just not trying, or if I’ve become jaded, but I’d just rather not put in the effort of getting to know anyone anymore. It’s not a place that I want to be and I didn’t hope to be here.

Right now, I’m just waiting for someone to prove me wrong.

The Relevance of Age

To preface this entry (as I usually do), I have to say that I generally prefer not to write about people from my personal life- especially in a public space such as WordPress where they can easily find that I have written about them.

But, in order to make my point, I have to introduce this individual (who will remain UN-named) so that you can see the bigger picture.

Here it goes:

I recently ended things with a guy that I had been dating for approximately 2 months. I met him in mid-December and broke things off shortly after Valentine’s Day (ironic, I know)

His major qualm between the two of us was our age difference and to be honest, there wasn’t much of a difference at all. He’s 26 and I’m 22. From my own personal experiences, I’ve noticed that after the age of 21, people within the 20’s age-group are all pretty much in the same playing field. We’re all lost, searching for ourselves, etc. etc.

Now back to this guy…

It always irritated me at how concerned he was about the fact that I’m 22 and had just graduated college. He insisted that I still had so much to learn and so many experiences to face, which I can’t disagree with. I definitely still have a lot to learn and experience. I, on the other hand, believed that despite that one, tiny factor of age, we generally saw eye-to-eye on most things.

This may be an exaggeration, but it seemed that any time that I contributed my opinion on a serious topic, he would practically remit my contribution and insist that I still have “so much growing up to do”. And this was usually only whenever he didn’t like what I had to say.

I hated that.

Now here’s another piece of information…

My ex-boyfriend whom I dated for 3 years was his exact same age- their birthdays were actually only several weeks apart- and he never once, critiqued our relationship based on our age difference. This was also because I had far surpassed him in maturity levels.

I don’t want to sound like a young, naive, narcissistic 20-something year old who thinks that she has it all figured out, but I will say that I actually am mature for my age (at least far more mature than a majority of my friends) I’m proud of myself for how much I have accomplished as well as the life experiences that have been bestowed upon me to make me the person I am today. I was fortunate enough to graduate college in 4 years as well as get a job right out of college- even more so, a job at my favorite magazine of all time, Runner’s World. And this did not just happen because of luck, of course. I worked hard throughout college and had a great internship. I’m also a driven and self-motivated individual.

Now getting back to my point about the guy that I dated…

It’s safe to say that I was often discouraged to give my feedback on a situation whenever I talked to him because I felt that my opinion would immediately be dismissed.

I felt like an elementary-school student whose teacher would harshly tell them that they are wrong after enthusiastically answering a question.

This really made me question my credibility as an opinionated person.

But then I thought, it’s my opinion. There shouldn’t be a right or wrong, nor should it be heavily correlated to my age.

And so, the moral of this story is this:

Everyone has an opinion. It’s neither right nor wrong. It’s just how a person feels about a certain topic or scenario. Everyone experiences different things at different times. The relevance of age is that it is irrelevant. Someone may experience flying on an airplane at the age of 50, while another person has been flying on planes since birth. Experiences make up the things that we are familiar with and they shape our opinions. I’m not saying that age should be completely thrown out the window when it comes to wisdom though. I completely respect my elders and am always willing to take advice from them. As you grow older, you do gain more wisdom and insight towards life, but when it comes to dating, a 4-year age difference when you are in your 20’s really means nothing.

The verdict: Age is irrelevant.