Should friends impose their advice on what you should do? Unsolicited advice. If you ask for their advice, that’s another story.
Over the weekend a friend of many years phoned me and began to tell me how to run my life and then had the nerve to criticize how I do it.
“Lois” as I’ll call her, decided she had information about a “cure” for my long time digestive disorder. She went into a long spiel about her dental hygienist who saw this medical practitioner who had her change her diet, that it wasn’t all just eating fibre, and…
But I’m coming to the sick part shortly. I didn’t just sit here and let her go on without saying something.
“It’s not diet with me. I’ve changed my diet a lot. It’s stress. I need to relax. On the Doors Open weekend last month I went to a Buddhist Centre on Crawford Street – not sure if that name is an omen. It was so peaceful and I intend to go back. It’s just been so busy lately.”
I did ask her for the doctor’s name and if he was covered by OHIP. She gave me his name and I did write it down. (Since then I ripped up the piece of paper and threw it in the recycling bin). Yes, he is covered by OHIP, she said. But I couldn’t find him listed in the Ontario Physicians and Surgeons registry online.
“Does he rely on drugs?” I asked.
He didn’t, but what Lois said that he did to her dental hygienist is sickening.
“She had surgery and he froze part of her intestines.”
Triple yuck! I don’t even want to imagine any side-effects or damage to the intestines.
The conversation continued with Lois saying something about how anti-depressants have helped her.
Was that a hint about how she sees me?
So, I jumped in with, “I’m not depressed (haven’t been for years) but go to the other side – anger.”
“You have a lot of anger in you,” said Lois.
“Yes, but it is all for good reasons. Sometimes I use my anger to do something about my problems.”
She didn’t say any more about that but when I got into what I want to do with my life and what I want to stop doing, she struck again.
Me: “I’ve been spending a lot of time promoting my books.”
Lois: “You won’t make any money that way.”
Me: “Well I enjoy doing that and want to refocus some of my business on doing some of that for authors. Maybe make some money that way. I’m kicking a lot of things and people out of my life.”
I’m beginning to wonder if she should be added to that list. I did wish her a happy birthday as that is coming up later this week, and mentioned that I couldn’t afford to take her out to dinner for her birthday. What I didn’t say was that I had planned to invite her here for dinner, which I would cook. No way now.
Operative word is “had.” She doesn’t deserve that. I’ve wished her a happy birthday and that’s it.
She’s on hold until at least the fall.
Late last night it occurred to me why her derogatory comment on promoting my writing. I am happy about what I do in my writing life (except maybe the straight editing manuscript part. I still like evaluating manuscripts. But that’s fodder for another post). I’m sensing she is not happy with her lot in life. Without going into details about her career, let’s just say she has been doing the same thing for at least 30 years. All lateral.
At least with my writing, I develop and change what I do, learn and improve and also help other authors.
But I don’t tell them what to do about their health and other personal problems. If they ask for suggestions, maybe.
And I have other friends who are not writers and I don’t get this “get a life” attitude. They are respectful and accepting of what I do as I try to be about what they do.
The truth is we are all individuals with individual life paths and it is up to us to decide where we want to go with our life.
So, Lois, take that in your pipe and smoke it.
Oops. Forgot, you quit smoking a few years back. And while I’m glad you did, I never told you to do so.
What do you think about friends who try to run your life? Do they have the right to do so with unsolicited advice?
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes