Pet Peeves for the Common Man: About the Advice You Gave Me

Hey there chief,

About the advice you gave me… Look, let me just start by saying that I know you had good intentions. You meant well, and I appreciate your well-meaningness.You’re a good friend/mentor/parent/random acquaintance who asked “how are you” and got way more than you bargained for. I value you as a person and the fact that you cared enough to pull something out of your ass to try to guide me through life. I really do.

But we know what the road to hell is paved with, don’t we? American tax dollars! Just kidding, it’s good intentions like the ones you had. Your advice was not good, and since I’m the kind of ungrateful doucher who criticizes gifts freely given, I am going go critique you so that you can do better next time. Take a seat.

Let’s start with your tone. You see, I’m at a point in my life that some might define as “hopeless,” “disillusioned,” or “on the verge of joining the military.” What I need from you is pure, unadulterated, unfiltered positivity. You’re my cheerleader right now. You don’t have to be stupid or slutty. You just have to be positive. Tell me everything is going to be okay, even if you don’t know that to be true.You’re not an oracle. I know that.  Don’t tell me you don’t know the future. I don’t need to hear that, and we’re focusing on my needs because I’m a selfish bitch.

Too many advice givers make the mistake of thinking that I need to hear that “the real world is a tough place” and that I need to hear a perspective that isn’t “sugar coated.” That’s just back asswards. Life is kicking me repeatedly in the crotch. I don’t need you to tell me that life is hard. I know that very intimately. What makes you think that not sugar coating your advice is going to do me any good? I’ve had tons of sugarless life. My life-glucose level is dangerously low at this point. I need a high-sugar life candy bar to keep me alive. So come on now. Say something positive. Throw out a cliche you read on a bumper sticker or on a Christian bookmark. I really don’t give a damn. You’re my Obama, so give me the false-hope that I need to survive.

And now for your message. I asked you for advice on discerning my purpose in life, and you told me to “get out there and just do something.” What the hell kind of advice is that? Should I deal drugs? Should I move to Vegas and become a male prostitute? Hell, ponzi schemes seem lucrative (thanks for the idea Madoff!), why shouldn’t I do that? I realize I need to do something, I came to you for help figuring out just exactly what that something is. For you to repeat my question to me as an answer just puts me back at square one. Either that or square zero, having been discouraged so much that I lost a damn square. I need those squares right now man. I can’t afford to lose one.

So just for future reference, if someone like me asks you for advice about something and you really don’t have any good advice to give, just say “everything is going to be alright.” Because hey, guess what? It just might be true.

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