I am getting married.

Married!

I am marrying an amazing human being and we are so very confident in who we are as individuals and the entity that is our relationship.  As Jose Saramago says, the relationship is the third being in our marriage; one must be a respecter of this 3rd entity.

With our specific marriage comes a wedding.  A wedding of traditional sorts.

With a wedding of traditional sorts, comes free advice.

Advice makes me want to puke.

On the Lisa Irate-O-Meter, it falls just below "you'll know when you have children" but somewhere above countless daily Facebook status updates from non-writer types.  Advice is different than sharing personal experience.  I like to hear personal experience, sure. Advice, as in, "you should" .... can be ... bad.  Just bad.

And ignorant.  

People have been asking about the wedding.  That is awesome.  And natural.  And I am happy to answer questions.  I'm fairly open, so when there's something that's not working out as well as I'd like it to, I name it.  Naming it, however, doesn't mean I want other people's answers.  With this wedding comes very, very, very complicated family dynamics.   And if I have to hear one more person try to  boil it down simplistically (as in, "well, you just have to talk to that person" -- like I haven't been dealing with these people for years or haven't gone over every angle in my head over and over and over and over again), I'm going to ... I"m going to .... I'm going to .... look at that person very meanly.

Well. Obviously, there's not a lot I can do (that's legal or diplomatic).  Other than just cheerfully say everything is going swimmingly and perfectly.  Which I probably will start doing.

Ok, this next part comes from my professional side.  Ready?

It is largely inappropriate to give any sort of advice after talking to casual acquaintances for 10 minutes.  Not only is the relationship quite simply not there, but there is no possible way that one can fully understand the rich dynamics of the situation at hand in 10 minutes.  Even professional counselors must be able to sit with the truth that they will never fully understand their consumers, because people are dynamic and changing.  There is always something more to be learned.

Boiling it down to, "You just need to ..." is poop.  I wish I would never have to hear that ever again in my life. (All right, that was obviously less than professional.  I don't say "poop" in session ..... unless I'm working with kids.)

Unless the person one is addressing is on Heroin.  Then one might say, "You really need to ... stop the heroin."  But even then, one shouldn't assume one understands all of the reasons WHY somebody is doing heroin or boil it down to, "You just have to stop."  But I digress.  This post is about advice giving, not Opioids.

Just LISTEN for heaven's sake.  Commiserate.  Say, "Oh my word, that's absurd!"  Say, "Oh good night.  What did you say then?"  Laugh (if appropriate!).  Ask, "What do you think you'll do?"

If people want advice, they will let others know with small, subtle hints like, "I don't know what to do.  What do you think I should do?"  I know, I know.  This can be easily missed, but listen carefully.

Similarly, it drives me absolute batty when I hear somebody say, "I'd be a GREAT counselor ... I give GREAT advice."  Or the person who says, "I'd be a GREAT counselor" never takes a breath when talking.  I once had a hair dresser who continually told me she'd be a GREAT counselor.  I didn't think so.  Mainly because I couldn't even catch a minute to say, "Hey, wait, not so much blond this time, ok?  How 'bout those low lights?"  Oy, oy, oy.  Good counselors listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, ask open ended questions and then listen some more.  If anybody's ever curious about how the helping process works, ask me.  I'll expound.  Spoiler alert:  It's not through empty advice giving.

We listen to understand. The understanding doesn't come flooding through an open mouth.  Those channels aren't connected.

Ok, I think that's enough of the Lisa Irate-O-Meter.

Time to go make zucchini apple cake and watch, "Texas Women."

Well.  We all get down time somewhere, right?

4 comments

  1. Sarah on August 19, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    This is exactly why we ran away to Fiji to get married - could not manage the dynamics and didn't want to make it about anything other than us. You will navigate it all - and vent when needed.

     
  2. Elizabeth on August 19, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    I think I might fall into the category of unwanted advice....but i do it because I care.....and the Gary/Katie thing is driving me INSANE. So I say things that I regret later because they didn't come out the nice way they should have and I know he'll learn and I know he'll need to learn...but geez Louise does it have to take so long to learn.

    Anyway no unwanted advice from me...this is your wedding (Well Shoe's too, but I have a feeling he's a lets just go with it attitude). So my only advice for you right now, is to ponder whether you and Shoes would like to come hang out and do O'fest with us again this year. We'll have to of course find a sitter for miss Rebekah so we can have drinking fun (of course I'll be DD again...cause beer/wine are ucky)...but it can happen. There are a lot of people in the world who would love Rebekah for a night so we can have fun. You guys need more fun in this engagement...so lets do this!! :0)

     
  3. Katelyn on August 19, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    The cynical side of me likes Irate Lisa... I feel she should come out more to play.

    But really what I think you should do... ;-)

     
  4. Willow on September 29, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Catching up on posts. Yes, I agree...I like Irate Lisa lots.

    And I also learned, I would suck at counseling, that I post way too much on FB and should have "you just need to" surgically removed from my body.

    And yet...you still seem to tolerate me. You're awesome...you'll make a great counselor one day...but you'll know that when you have kids...you just need to relax. :-)

     


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