Posts Tagged 'Advice'

No Way to Make Friends

I'm Not Here to Make Friends

I'm Not Here to Make Friends

Sometimes I do or say things that remind me just how differently I see friends and friendship from the rest of the world.

On Facebook today a friend had the following status:

Well, I’m trying to think of New Year’s Resolutions. I want y’all to help me though. Please leave a comment with a trait that I need to work on and a trait that I am good at. The first so that I can get ideas for my resolutions, and the second so that I have something to feel goood about. Thanks.

I decided to be brutally honest and replied with this:

Hum. I’m digging deep here for some honesty. First off, you’re a great guy and a lot of people just adore you which means you’re doing a lot of things right. That’s excellent.

Now… About your resolution. How about making it your resolution to never ask others for their opinion of your strengths/weaknesses? Look inside yourself and find the courage and confidence to be your own critic and leave others out of your personal matters. 😀 If you need a second opinion outside your own, look no further than the Lord. Through prayer and scripture study He can more accurately point out your flaws and strengths better than anyone else I know.

And I mean that with the greatest love and friendship I can convey via the Facebook platform. Have a happy new years!

Am I wrong to be honest when people ask me questions like this? I’m half expecting to find that he has revoked my friendship status on Facebook after this. Of course, I believe the advice is sound, though imperfectly worded.

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Cheep Advice #1

I need to get some writing in tonight. I’m not going to do much, because there is a lot that needs to be taken care of around the house, but I’ve been slacking off a little.

I don’t feel that I’ve been wasting my writing time (with the possible exception of this morning), but I don’t feel that I’ve been getting any quality writing done.

I have, as you may have noticed, felt slightly uninspired; but that shouldn’t stop me. This morning I just plain slept through my writing time (I honestly felt that the sleep was a better use of my time since the baby had kept us up late and all night). That’s the first time since I started getting up early that I slept though my morning writing time though, so I don’t feel all that bad.

Today on the way home from work my wife and I were discussing something that brought a saying back to mind that I learned in Mexico. It’s one of those ideas that you are aware of, but might never hear it put into words. The wording in Spanish is elegant, but it still works in English.

In English it goes something like this: “If your problem has a solution, why are you worrying about it? If your problem doesn’t have a solution, what are you worrying for?”

Simply put, every problem either has a solution or it doesn’t, but worrying about it never does any good. I think the saying came to mind because of some issues at work where everyone is nitpicking about the details of how something is going to be scored. In the end, if you do your best why would it matter how they score you? I’ve always seen inquiries like this as “how bad can I be” questions. Like when you want to know how far over the speed limit you can drive before the cops will take notice, or how many times you can call in to work with a family emergency before your boss will fire you. It’s important to have and be familiar with limits, but not with the aim of knowing how bad you can be.

I remember the story of a trucking business that needed a new truck driver (I think it’s made up, but it teaches a good lesson). The owner of the company put out a wanted ad, and eventually narrowed the applicants down to three drivers. The route the new driver would be negotiating had a very dangerous mountainous stretch with steep cliffs right at the edge of the road. So, the owner took the three of them out to this part of the route and had each of them demonstrate how they would negotiate one particularly treacherous turn.

The first was a middle-aged driver with several years of experience. He assumed that the manager wanted to see how skillfully he could make the turn, so he took it at a moderate speed but got as close to the edge as possible. When he was done the manager acknowledged his skill stating that he had taken the truck closer to the edge than anyone else before him.

The second applicant saw this and thought, “I can do better than that.” He was, of course, the youngest of the bunch, but he was very skilled, and indeed he pushed the truck past the edge. Some of the tires were hanging off the cliff as he tore around the curve well past the recommended reduced speed limit. He returned safely, smugly tossing the keys into the hands of the astonished business owner and shooting a smirk at the first driver. With a proud, crooked smile he thought to himself, “Let’s see what this next guy can do. I doubt he can do better than that!”

The owner handed the keys over to the final applicant, an older driver who had been in the business for longer than the second driver had been alive. The man climbed slowly but swiftly into the cab and started the engine. First gear, second gear, on up he accelerated carefully to the recommended speed and went around the curve, almost hugging the mountain on the inside, as far away from the edge as he could get. Thinking themselves to have clearly demonstrated greater skill, the first two drivers laughed at the last driver.

When he returned, he climbed down from the truck and walked over to the owner. The owner took the keys from him and thanked him, asking him when he would like to start his new job. The other two drivers protested, saying that they had far more driving skill and one of the should get the job, to which the owner responded, “I don’t know if the man I’ve hired can do what you can or not, but I do know that he will always transport my goods safely and they will always arrive at their destination.”

That last driver did not ask “how bad can I be?” He just did his best with integrity. Living in this manner we never have to worry about the details of how we’re “scored” or how we’ll be judged (of man or God). Whatever your problem may be, a test, a judgment, or a relationship; if your problem has a solution, why worry? If not, what are you worrying for? Just do your best.

OK, that’s your cheep advice for the day. Take it or leave it!

Dear John

I have two friends that have been dating for a while now. They are good for each other, but I have noticed something in them that many couples struggle with. So, I write this letter to my friend, but it could be for anyone:

Dear John,
I think you’re a great person, please don’t ever forget that. As I think back to the first time I met you, I remember not knowing quite what to make of you, and I remember discovering that you were someone I could like.

I also remember when I found out that you and our friend [Sally] began dating. At first I wasn’t sure what to think, then I saw how you loved her and how much she loved you. All of my worries disappeared. The most important thing between any two people in a would-be couple is love, and you two had it. Through the time that has passed since then, I have watched the two of you grow and work together. I am aware that you have sometimes spoken together about marriage (I think I asked you about that once) and I remember thinking it sounded like a great idea for you guys.

John, I know you are a good man doing his best to succeed in life, keeping up with work, keeping the girl happy, keeping yourself happy, etc. I know how difficult it can be to do all of this, because I have been doing it for a while and sometimes I’m not sure how I’m going to keep going.

The reason I wanted to write to you is to tell you one thing: Don’t be stupid.

This is good, free advice that may seem readily available (and it is) but it is often missed or misunderstood. I bring it up because I have noticed something amiss between the two of you, and especially in [Sally]. Keep in mind, I don’t know anything outside of what I can see, but I see much more than you think. I do not know everything, but I know relationships and I can see it when there is something wrong.

Again, I don’t know exactly what is going on with you guys, and I don’t feel that it is my business. However, I decided to write this for you because I wanted to send a few messages to the two of you, as well as sharing these ideas with others. I have noticed in [Sally’s] face and demeanor that she is sad. It’s the kind of sadness that happens when a guy is being a guy. Men are naturally jerks (as everyone knows) and as hard as we try to fight it, we will invariably be a jerk from time to time, mostly by accident without even realizing it, sometimes on purpose only to realize our mistake after it is too late.

Besides being jerks, I believe that men are absolutely stupid when it comes to women. Being naturally stupid jerks, we have a huge responsibility when it comes to relationships with women. This responsibility has two, simple parts: 1) love our woman more than we love ourselves and 2) remember that the man is always at fault when there is something wrong in the relationship.

I don’t care what happened. You are to blame. Keep in mind, you can only take this to a certain point, but it always needs to be the first reaction. It works as long as both the man and the woman of a relationship are of similar levels of maturity and have similar levels of commitment to the relationship.

Thus, if there is something wrong in your relationship (and I really think there is), you need to start by asking these two questions:

1. Am I about as mature as she is?
This question may seem difficult to answer, but as long as you both are close in age (within five years or so) and close in mental capacity (none of you is retarded or mentally ill) then the answer is yes. You two are both smart, so I know the answer is “yes” to this one.
2. Are we both 100% committed to this relationship?
You may need to gently, lovingly bring this up in conversation with her when you both are thinking straight and you aren’t mad at each other. If either of you has his/her heart somewhere else, then nothing can save the relationship except recommitting and trying again. I happen to know that her heart is in the relationship, and I thought yours was too. We’ll assume it still is, and the answer is “yes.”

If you can answer “yes” to both questions (and I know you can), then you are ready to fix the problem. Are you ready for the solution? Here’s the answer: take responsibility and fix it.

Do you want to lose her? If you are both at similar levels of maturity and mental capacity, and you both want the relationship to work, but there is a problem, there is nobody to blame but yourself. I don’t care if she started the argument, or you did, or the neighbor did. Once the two questions above are in the affirmative, it is your responsibility to make things work, not hers.

That’s right, not hers. Sure, you can go ahead and leave her, telling yourself, “If she were only willing to admit she was wrong, then we could still be together,” or, “If only she weren’t that way, then we could get along fine.” Is that what you want though? Don’t you love her? If she never admits she was wrong, or if she never changes that one little habit, you would still love her. Rather than trying to change things you have absolutely no control over, why don’t you take charge and do what you can to keep her? Don’t lose her, she’s special, beautiful and in love with you!

Over time, if you patiently accept her for who she is (mistakes, bad habits and all) she will eventually mature and grow past those little things. Besides, don’t you think you probably have things that you need to change too? Are you so perfect? What if it’s your mistakes and errors that she’s always getting mad about? So what? If she really loves you, and you are patient and loving with her, then she too will learn to look past those things on her own.

You are adults. You are an adult, and so is she. If you treat her like an adult (without trying to “help” her grow up), she will learn to see you as one too. This is part of the process of growing up. Everyone has to do it on their own. It takes time, support, and tremendous effort, but it can be done.

Don’t be stupid. Don’t let that woman go. Do everything in your power to keep her. Remember, do everything in your power to keep her. You cannot change her, that’s not in your power. You can change you. So do it. Just get it done.

I think you are both really wonderful. I have met a lot of people over the course of my life and travels, and people like you and [Sally] are not common. You will never find another woman as great as she is. Take my advice and stake your claim. Let your love for her tell the world that she is yours.

Good luck, and if you ever need someone to talk to, you know where to find me.

Your friend,
Brian


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