Anecdotals – BTW… Did I ask?

Post 696 of 930

The funny side of …well, everthing  really 😀

Shilpa Mehra

Are you bombarded with advice all the time, without asking for it? Or is just me (maybe I look so incompetent that the people around me cannot resist)? Good manners and upbringing prevents me from telling such people, “Did I ask you?” Whether it is flu, or how to bring up children, or what to eat, or what exercise regime to follow, or which eye-liner to use…Phew! The list is endless. One hasn’t even finished the sentence, and advice comes from all directions (depending on how many people you are with at that moment). Reminds me a bit of Google when it starts to prompt you as soon as you start typing in the search bar. Can I finish talking?

I feel the moment we ask for something, we are in a receptive mode. Not otherwise. You go to see a doctor for his medical opinion. You go to a lawyer and seek his legal opinion. You go to a Chartered Accountant for tax advice. You pay for the advice too and wait for it, if required. If people would advise when asked, how nice would that be. We would be saying thanks to them, instead of muttering in our head, “When will she/ he keep quiet?”

There is a stream of thinking that such people believe in. Their story is “It’s just out of love and concern that we advise you”. Sure!!! There is a line when the love and concern is stretched beyond its limit and steps into pure interference. If I feel close to you, I will ask you for your opinion. You are not my mother, father, brother, sister or closest friend who can tell me and I will (or may) pay heed.

Sometimes I wonder, do these people who are distributing advice in wholesale quantity, ever consider the fact if they can afford to talk. I have seen smokers giving health tips, couch potatoes giving exercise sermons, messy housewives talking about feng shui etc etc. Wow….this requires serious guts (or is it sheer ignorance about yourself, feigned or real, I don’t know).

The people who listen to you intently and respond when asked, have a scholarly and mature look about themselves. In fact, one wants to approach them for their opinion next time as well. Many times, when we are talking, we just want someone to listen and not to tell us what to do. We actually already know what’s good and what’s not. Most of the time when we are talking, it’s simply a plain conversation (and not a sermon). If one can make it pleasant, that’s great.

We can take some tips from professional advisors, who are paid well just to listen to us and give us their opinion. They will not utter a word of advice unless specifically asked. In fact, one has to frame the questions well to get the best and most useful advice from them. When we leave their office, we thank them profusely and pay for their time and advice. Its time and money well spent.

Next time, wait for the person to ask you what your thoughts on the subject are. It is human nature to be grateful when we get something that we have asked for. When something falls into our lap, without asking for it, it is simply ignored or taken for granted. This holds true for advice. There are times we will go miles to stay away from such people (or preachers) because we don’t want to spend the next hour listening to some sermons. They feel it is their birth right to educate you. They forget that you have to take admission in an educational institution, get enrolled and pay the fees to get an education. Otherwise no institution will educate you. Or simply put, you have to ask to be educated.

It is said, a mother will also only feed her baby when it cries, else she considers the baby content. So when the baby wants to be fed, it cries and asks for it. That is the law of nature, since we are born. But being the gregarious beings that we are, we don’t wait to be asked. We think we are fountains of knowledge and we should sprinkle our wisdom on those around us. Forgetting how annoying such unwanted sprinklers are.
In school, we raise our hand when the teacher asks a question. And only when she tells us to answer, we dare to do so. We wouldn’t just blabber out answers unless asked specifically. Wonder what happens to us as we grow older. We are supposed to get wiser with age, but in some things we seem to get more immature.

There is finesse about people, who speak sensibly. We all know “empty vessels make more noise”. Do we want to fall in that category? No, for heaven sake. You don’t have to listen to me. Please do try it out for yourself. Give advice when asked…believe me, you will be more sought after.