All Articles Tagged "giving advice"
Men often say that women giving relationship advice to other women is like the blind leading the blind. Although I don’t totally agree, I do understand.
Over a ten year period, I went from being the girl who analyzed, supported, and offered plentiful advice to girlfriends who were caught up in crazy relationships and the girl who spoke freely about her own relationship TO the friend who listened quietly, and who in turn started guarding the details of her own relationship.
Before entering the world of dating, I had pre-conceived notions, like my fellow girlfriends, as to how that new world of romance would work. I remember watching daytime talk shows with my mother when I was in junior high and seeing woman talk about escaping domestic abuse situations and wondering…why the hell were they in the situation in the first place. If someone, disrespects you, you would leave. If someone treats you less than the wonderful Queen that you are, you find someone who would, right? It all seemed so simple then.
Slowly but surely(but more so slowly), I came to understand that the reality was much more complicated.
In the early post-college years of dating life, my girlfriends and I advised each other on men who were not treating us well enough, men who didn’t care us about enough, men who cheated, and men who were simply not worthy of our stellar attributes. I thought it was the right thing to do to sound off when I thought a friend of mine was selling herself short. But the more encounters that I experienced that warranted that advice, the more I realized that it was the same girl who was on the receiving end. Some of my friends learned their lessons and vastly improved their lot in the dating game but a substantial amount did not.
My friend Serena (name changed obviously) knew she suffered from low expectations, but even with that realization she still got into relationships with men who were lukewarm about her and who did little to win her over, while she doted on them and went the extra mile to keep them content. By the time we hit our 30s, I knew I could no longer continue giving her advice; if I did, I risked sacrificing our friendship.
Last week was a very big week for me. One of my sisters, who had been living overseas for two years, was moving back to the states. I was going to finally meet one of my nephews, and it was time for all of us to be together again. So we all decided to stay at our parents’ house; kids, husbands, and all, so we could hang out anytime we decided to. However, my daughter, who is used to only being around me, was so excited to be around all the other company that the first night she had a problem going to sleep. By two o’clock that morning, I was exhausted, my head was hurting, and all I wanted was for her to go to sleep. I brought her downstairs to try to give her something to help her sleep, and that’s when my irritation level began to skyrocket.
A certain family member, who had the BEST intentions in the world, I do understand that, started getting in my face and my daughter’s face and started dictating to me about what I should do to help my daughter go to sleep. Now, I appreciate tips, especially from people who have been mothers before me, but the way she was doing it was just… so intrusive. One of my brother-in-laws, and my sister became quiet because they could see the frustration in me rise, like mercury in a thermometer on a hot day. Wanting to yell at “helpful family member” to get the (expletive) out of my face, I held it in, and excused myself to the office, were I sat down for a second, calmed myself down and then returned to the task of getting my daughter back to sleep.
Like I said before, I completely understand that she was trying to be helpful, but there’s a way to do it. When someone is frustrated, tired, and already visibly upset, getting (literally) 3 inches in their face, and trying to explain what they’re doing wrong, and then talking over them after you ask them a question is really asking to have that person blow up on you.
Now, I take criticism very well, and I always wondered if this is the reason why certain people in my family give me answers to questions that I never asked them. But, being the human that I am, I’m going to need some people to realize the times that they need to fall back and give a person some space. In case you’re one of these people, here are a few helpful hint.
You might be overstepping your boundaries if…
When you ask a person a question, and while they’re trying to answer and you start talking over them. – Why even ask the question if you don’t want to hear that person’s answers?
When you dictate what they should be doing. – No one wants to feel like they’re being dictated to. We know that you have good intentions but sometimes it’s better to offer advice (“hey, I think I know something that might help, do you mind?”) than to just force it on people (Do this!).
When nothing in your criticism is constructive. – If all you’re doing is telling a person what they’re doing wrong, but not offering a way to fix the problem, you’re bound to get the side-eye… maybe more, depending on how close on the edge the person you’re talking to is.
Signs the person is giving you that you’re treading close to getting snapped on:
When you’re talking to them, and they give you their profile.
According to body language experts, when a person is angry, annoyed or about to become hostile, they’ll give a person who is talking to them their side profile. It’s a physical way of shutting that person off.
They avoid giving you eye contact when you’re talking to them
Eye contact is a friendly gesture; one that lets people who are talking to you know, “hey, I’m listening to you, and I appreciate that dribble that’s coming out of your mouth. Please continue.” If you’re talking and the person is staring intently in a different direction, please just stop.
The audible sigh
Apparently, you haven’t gotten the hint with the profile and lack of eye contact, so this person is going to try to make it a little more clear that they don’t want to hear what you have to say. Sighing loud enough so that the person hears you is their way of playing the music that plays at the end of the Oscar speech. Get to the point or get on.
There’s a phrase “the quiet before the storm” that pops in my head when I’m very agitated and I realized that I’ve gotten extremely quiet. That’s the same phrase that should pop in your head too. People, when you’re on their last nerve, will get real quiet, and usually, where that silence ends is where yelling begins. Just letting you know.
Kendra Koger appreciates the love and the criticism. Share it on her twitter @kkoger.
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