believes when it comes to advice, it’s better to give than to receive.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that most of us are better at giving than receiving advice. And I know this from personal experience. It’s ALWAYS easier to sort out other people’s lives than it is your own. Now don’t get me wrong – there have been times when I’ve received great advice. Most often, I took it from those whose lives I admire.
But while age and experience should mean you trust your instinct, become unemotional about a problem and then wisely charter your own course, there’s still something comforting about the communal.
Liberally pouring out your problems to your mates while they liberally pour the chardy, or scrolling through the avalanche of empowering memes on Instagram, is always a good place to start.
And the advice flows thick and fast. “Be strong,” they tell you. “Slay like Beyoncé.” “There are plenty more fish in the sea.” “Just do it.” (Always live your life by sports-shoes slogans. They’re bossy.)
And you soak it in because, as my darling grandmother always advised, a problem shared is a problem halved. And these memes and mates do mean well. Good friends want you to be happy (watch the friends who are happiest when you’re not – but that’s a topic for another column). They are comfortable and generous in their advice, but are they qualified to dish it out? Did you really ask for it? And, most importantly, will you ever use it? Why is it the friends who can barely drive a car all of a sudden morph into Oprah-meets-kingSolomon when your chips are down? And you know most of it’s BS, because when the stiletto is on the other foot, and you’re the one dishing it out, even you don’t believe the stuff you’re saying. As a mate once remarked to me while I was sobbing over a break-up, “Take my advice, I don’t use it.” Now, that’s more like it. Why don’t your allies ever start a sentence with: “That guy was a loser, you missed a bullet…” and finish it with “… and while that isn’t true, take some comfort in it.” Why do your parents tell you they only want you to be happy and do your best, then when you have a great time in Year 12, and you almost fail the HSC, they’re disappointed?
Why don’t doctors ever tell you that breathing into a paper bag to stop a panic attack works a lot better when there’s a bottle of wine in there?
As I told my brother after he crashed his motorbike through the barbed wire fence 25 years ago: “Bones heal. Chicks dig scars and Australia has some really good doctors.” Let’s face it, we’re always telling others how to live.
The thing is you can tell people what to do, but after that you can only sit back and watch everything you predicted happen. So, unsolicited or not, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Never forget the quickest way to lose a friend is by giving them advice they don’t want to hear. Perhaps the best advice is to stop giving advice. Just nod and hug, and drink the chardy. Ignorance truly is bliss sometimes.
Maybe, if you want to add something astounding to the conversation, follow my dad. His go-to advice is: “She’ll be right.” And you know what? She probably will. Samantha co-hosts Sunrise, 5.30am weekdays, on the Seven Network.
“As a mate once remarked to me while I was sobbing over a break-up, ‘Take my advice, I don’t use it’”