I give, I think, very good advice.
I am not your typical “feeling” female (I know you don’t believe me). I’m going to get a bit stereotypical, but for the sake of my story, let’s say that generally, women are more emotional and men are more pragmatic.
As I meander through life, I tend to be very pragmatic about my decisions. Dude-like.
I noticed this especially when I was still dating, and going through scores of good, bad, and ugly suitors. I started to see patterns in the ways the men I dated treated me and acted, and stopped being a girl when it came to my reactions and expectations.
Perhaps this is why I had better friendships with men than women in my 20s. When I asked a dude pal for advice, he’d give me a couple of viable solutions. Boyfriend troubles? Dump him – find a new guy. Friend being silly about some gossip she heard about me? Confront her about it, or ignore it. Nervous about whether I’m getting a raise this year? Just tell them you’ll quit if you don’t get X percent.
I may not have followed the advice, but I liked it. A lot better than a friend automatically siding with me or not offering up anything helpful to add to my situation.
Because when I asked a female friend for advice? Lord. I don’t have enough space here. Boyfriend troubles? There are 1,246,339 different analyses for that one alone.
Of course, I’m being overly general. So don’t get on me about how I’m being sexist. I told you already, I’m just trying to illustrate a point.
So: When a friend comes to me for help, be that person male or female, I look for a way to solve the problem. I have never really been one to look at the problem backwards, from the solution someone wants to hear, trying to come up with every idea and plan that could help that friend get that result. I tend to work from the set of issues they’re working with, conceive the most probable cause for it all, and suggest a course of action that actually makes sense. Mind over heart.
If my girlfriend is having man issues, I’m not usually a shoulder to cry on. Yes, I’ll sympathize. But then I want to get into the nitty gritty and help her solve the damn problem. I ask questions, make suggestions. When my friend gives up a soft reason why my suggestions don’t work, I plunge deeper and find work-arounds. If I feel confident that something is hopeless, I’m not afraid to dish out tough love statements such as “look – it’s been 6 months. I think you need to dump him.” With me, it’s never “oh sweetie, I’m sure he’s just going through a phase. Just give him another chance!”
Boyfriend a jerk? Dump him.
Boss keeps passing you over for promotions? Find a new job.
Not meeting any girls in this city? Quit swiping left on everyone.
Hate your flabby arms? Let’s join a gym together.
Can’t decide between the hotty who’s kind of a jerk or the dork who treats you like gold? Whelp…
I was truly exasperated the other day when I was trying to help figure out a plan for a friend who’s going through a nasty divorce. I realized I couldn’t come up with a clear answer or solution for her. I ended up texting her, “I always feel like I need to help by coming up with a solution for my friends. It’s frustrating that I can’t.”
But overall, fuck man. Life can actually be a lot easier if you just make the decision that you know is right. Doing the thing that you know needs to be done. If you car engine is making a funny squeaking noise, you go and you fix it. Talking to your friends and crying over it and talk about how your car’s a really nice shade of red and the wheels are brand new. You don’t take it to the car wash and then revisit the squeaky noise problem with your friends again over a few bottles of wine, discussing how long you’ve had the car and how there aren’t other cars out there like it. No. You take the car to the damn shop and pay dollars and have it fixed. And if you find out that you can’t fix it, you get a new car.
I give all this great advice. Really, I do.
Sometimes I look at a text I’ve taken no time to craft, or think about words I’ve spewed out so easily, and marvel at how simple it can be.
But then I look at my own goddamn life.
Right now, it’s so simple.
Wake up. Get dressed. Go to your fucking job. Do your job. Come home. Love your man. Clean the house. Work out. Go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Have a coffee. Have wine. Go to bed.
Life isn’t hard right now.
I’m no longer dealing with a difficult work situation or people or the physchological brutality I was going through six months ago.
But do you think I can give myself a succinct tidbit of advice to follow right now?
No. Of course not.
All I want to do is talk about it. Whine about it. I don’t want to work on anything.
I don’t want to hear anyone’s advice or get any ideas. I don’t want someone to think up 10 Easy Steps to Walking Around Downtown in Your Own City Because You DO Belong! so that I can fix my issues of being seen in public.
I just want to be a GIRL about it.
I want to talk about my problems at length. I want to have a glass of wine with a friend, talk exclusively about my problems have that friend agree that my problems are hard and real and unsurmountable and the worst version of that particular problem ever. I want to be agreed with and have someone say “there, there, now” and rub my back as I complain and let myself be the victim with no options.
I want to just let it out and vent.
Vent vent vent.
Don’t give me any advice. Just be there for me and tell me I’m right.
I want to be the hypocrite I know I’m being.