Tag Archives: advice

With Friends Like These…

Reading an advice column the other day, the opinion seeker declared that her best friend was getting married, but because she didn’t approve of the fiancé – describing him as a cheater, a liar and a thug (several of many traits that apparently make up a ‘ratchet’-type individual), she wondered how best to break it to her friend that she wasn’t going to attend the wedding – not even as a bridesmaid.

The columnist’s advice was based on her own similar experience, and so she recommended that she buy the dress, put it on and show up to support her friend. Because when she had neglected to do it years earlier for her own friend, their relationship went the way of all flesh. As did the marriage.

I’m reminded of a similar story where I knew the participants. Luckily I was neither the bride nor the bridesmaid, but I heard the story because one of the maids was busy telling everybody who would listen that she didn’t approve of the union. I always wondered whether the person who really ought to have known was any the wiser about how her “bestie” really felt.

And I said to myself, with friends like these – you’re better off with enemies, because at least with them you know where you stand. But, maybe she did tell her to her face, because as far as I know, this bridesmaid did attend the wedding. And I don’t want to think that she did so without ever telling her how she really felt.

So I agree with the columnist’s advice if she also insisted that she make her true feelings known to her friend, otherwise they’d end up in two different places – with one of them being seriously mislead.

Weddings require that you smile – a lot. Both my husband and I are no slouches in that department, but I know some people who shut it down two hours into the reception.

And they’re happy to be there.

So I take my hat off to the person who can smile even though she’s convinced that all the dresses and the food and the entertainment and the location rental are a total waste of money.

I am in awe of the person who can smile even though she thinks that the hours spent hosting a bridal shower, helping to prepare the favours, to choose the flowers and box up the cake were a colossal waste of time.

I bow deeply to the person who can smile when the photographer asks for just one more picture, even though she’d prefer to cut her eyes and suck her teeth instead.

I marvel at the person who can smile when asked to make a speech or give a toast which requires wishing the happy couple all the very best, even though it doesn’t gel with what she’s been telling everybody else.

Anyway, if the marriage that she considers doomed to failure actually survives, she will have already mastered the acting skills required when she’s obliged to be happy at the outcome.

But if the marriage does falter on the rocks, she will have already mastered the acting skills required when she’s expected to feign surprise at the outcome.

And she’ll be there to provide a willing shoulder to cry on.

I just hope she doesn’t spoil it by saying, “I told you so”.

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Talk To Me

At work, I come into contact with several people on a daily basis, and sometimes, since some people prefer to wait while having their services done, there is ample opportunity for them to strike up a conversation. It is during those times that I realize that some people have absolutely no problem telling all their business to somebody they don’t even know.

Facebook has taken over, mind you, but some of the things that people tell me, wouldn’t even be detailed there. I would constantly marvel at the fact that they would give me information about themselves and their situations, when all I wanted to accept was their money for services rendered.

I like to think that my face is a fairly pleasant one to look at, but apparently my eyes seemed to have hypnotized them into telling me all. Maybe I missed my calling as a therapist, because I dutifully listen, make the appropriate noises to assure them that I am still listening, and profess outrage when it seems appropriate to do so. They never ask my advice – which is good, because I would have been hard pressed to provide any.

I mean, what do you say to the guy who tells you that he’s interested in a woman, but when he talks to her on the phone to try to get to know her better, she declares that his conversations bore her? I guess you would ask him what it felt like to hang up on somebody who wasn’t worth his time.

Or to the person who tells you that his former girlfriend married someone else very soon after leaving him, but her husband has been in trouble with the law – a few times? Probably, to take his time to find a new girl and that when he did, to be sure to drive by his ex’s house – very slowly.

I’ve always thought though, that people who write into advice columns already know the answers to the questions they’re asking.

Such as, “My boyfriend says that he doesn’t believe in marriage. I’ve been dreaming about walking down the aisle since I was a little girl. Should I fool myself into thinking that I’ll be the one to change his mind?”

Or, “Should I tell my friend that her husband is cheating on her? Or should I just call our friendship quits now, because she’ll certainly do that when she eventually finds out?”

How about, “My family doesn’t like the person I intend to marry. Will we be happy even though I’ll blame him when I no longer have contact with them?”

Just this week, after asking how many children I had, a customer declared that she was giving herself until the age of forty-six to have her first child – and she tells me, she isn’t too far away from her deadline. It seemed a strange number to pick, but knowing that she was engaged in studies, I remarked that she had other things that were probably taking first place.

After she left, I wondered how successful she was going to be in her quest at motherhood, and I was thinking that maybe I should have gotten some more details. Like, did she actually have a boyfriend? If not, how was she going to meet her goal? And what would happen if things didn’t work out for her as they had for Halle Berry, whom she mentioned, and who at forty six recently had her second child.

But I’m sure she didn’t want me all up in her business. She just wanted to talk.

Call Mrs. Johnson

The easiest way to make money has got to be asking people what they want to do with their lives, and then asking them how they think they can achieve it. This is the job of a ‘life coach’. I think that I want to be one when I grow up because, well, I have a life don’t I?

If you don’t think that any of us can enter this profession, take a look at some of the things that a life coach does. Then tell me if you don’t think that you (and several people you know), have what it takes.

Since a life coach is a person who supports you, motivates you and “holds you accountable to achieving your vision for yourself”, that could very well be your mother, your sister and your husband all rolled into one.

The life coach is the person who will help you get what you want out of life. Sounds like your boss at work, since it’s her business that’s enabling you to get the money to buy your groceries and pay your rent.

However, a life coach is not a therapist. Thank God for that! Because some of us Caribbean people have a fear of sitting on a couch and telling somebody we don’t know, all our business.

But since life coaches are considered experts at the process of changing behaviour, my grade school teacher from back in the day or my mother accompanied by her trusty belt, are the people who come immediately to mind.

Some even say that a life coach can get you from Point A to Point B, but I doubt that she will lend out her car to anyone who asks.

And while life coaches are supposed to ask a lot of questions, they wouldn’t have anything on the kids who wake up asking ‘why’ and go to sleep wanting to know ‘how come’?

So shouldn’t the person whose life is so screwed up make him an expert in this field? Apparently not, since one life coach admits that her “validity as a life coach isn’t based” on her personal life, but cites things like a resume and years of experience.

What about the person who’s always giving free advice because she isn’t using it? Encourage her to hang out her shingle, because she might as well get paid for something that other people seem to need.

These days you can find a life coach for just about anything in your life that can use some improvement – love, career, image, relationships, job. Most say that they don’t just give you advice and tell you what to do. So although they’re not therapists, similar to those professionals, you actually end up doing most of the work.

Singer Millie Jackson, can be considered one of the first life coaches, when she advises the couple who has fallen out of love to call Mrs. Johnson to babysit the kids for a few days so that they can take a trip and do all the things they used to do.

And she gave them homework. Like dancing till dawn and making love all night long. And if they weren’t “back in love by Monday” – unlike today’s life coaches, she told them what to do.