Friday, February 07, 2014

what did you just say?

This morning there was an amusing conversation on the radio about the top five worst pieces of advice you can offer: listen here or in summary:

1. You just need to watch what you eat
2. You just need to figure out what you want to do with your life
3. You just need to have a positive attitude/cheer up
4. You just need to believe in yourself
5. You just need to be yourself

Isn't that the truth...what a load of rubbish - five platitudes that mean absolutely nothing and offer nothing of value to anyone.  Now I am all in favour of the ''if its not nice don't say it'' line of thinking.  However, I am (usually) brave enough to offer an opinion if I'm asked for it.

But how do you know when the right time to be honest is?  Someone recently said that they often hear ''whatever makes you happy'' from a particular friend.  My view is that this is probably not what that friend means at all.  In fact, I'd go so far to say that there's a pretty good chance that either a. the friend actually doesn't have an opinion/doesn't care, or b. the friend has a very strong opinion but it doesn't take the popular view( or she's scared of how it will be received).  On the other hand, I know someone who is famous for their phenomenally bad advice - usually on practical matters but never based on fact or reality.

A few months ago, over at the other blog,  I wrote about my ''intervention'' when I was asked for an opinion (read it here).  I was gentle about it (of course I was) but I still gave an opinion. Not ''do what feels right'' or any of that rubbish.  No platitudes allowed.

So what's a girl to do? Does one take the ''everyone is entitled to my opinion'' line?  Does one put up and shut up?  When asked for an opinion, do you trust that the person asking actually wants to hear what you have to say? And are you brave enough to be honest?

Have you caught yourself offering a bland, vanilla kind of piece of advice when you know you could do so much better?

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