Sunday, January 17th, 2021

Do You Have Free Advice Syndrome?

By Deborah Kimmett on Jun 27 2011 • Filed under Balance

When to give free business advice (Photo)

Recently, I went in for some medical tests because Merle told me I was suffering from high-blood pressure. Merle isn’t a doctor or anything. But her sister is. So she thinks she can give advice by proxy. Like medical expertise is inherited. I don’t know if I believed her.

I guess it’s because we are suffering from Free Advice Syndrome. (F.A.S. I called it so I could register it as a charitable organization. ) We’ve read the book, listened to the C.D, seen it on Oprah, and we love to jump in and give our two-cents worth (that’s the actual market value of the pearls of wisdom, too) whether we know anything about the subject or not.

A friend of mine gave me some advice. Before you jump in with your opinion, you should ask yourself two questions.

1. Did they ask for advice?

2. Did they ask you for advice?

Of course, I never asked for his opinion, so he broke his own rule, but you get the drift. For instance, when your wife says, “Why am I such a jerk?” maybe she doesn’t really want you to answer. Maybe she’s thinking out loud. I had to learn to keep my opinions to myself, the hard way.

When my daughter Laurel was around four years old, she asked me whether I believed in the Easter Bunny. I got complicated. I told her that I believed in the bunny in a metaphoric way, that perhaps he was a fertility symbol from Pagan times and his need to give chocolate to children was the only way he could show love. The hole I dug got deeper and more convoluted, and then she turned to me with her hands on her hips annoyed and said, “Mom it was just an “ertorical" question.

This free advice has to be stopped now, because we are an aging population. And as you age, your bad habits only become worse. That means there will be more of us with a lot of time on our hands thinking we know what’s wrong with everybody else. Packs of us will be huddled together in the common room at the nursing home, dispensing advice on how to cure bunions and cancer. I’m planning to go deaf, myself.

It will be horrible: annoying advice-giving do-gooders, showing up at my deathbed with banana bread, telling me to go to the light. I swear if they do this I will sit up and with my second final breath ask them, why don’t you go to the light if you’re in such a hurry?”

And if they get offended, I’ll just say, “Hey, it was just an ertorical question.”

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