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Ask Anyone

advice, advisors?

Have you ever known a person who’s always asking you for advice? How about a person who takes your advice, then regrets it, and is not afraid of telling you so? I know this guy like that. “You told me I probably didn’t have to change the oil in my car so often. I took your advice, and the motor seized up.” It’s not like I told him to stop checking the oil. I told him that like three years ago, in passing, when he said he changed his oil every 3,000 miles.

So, I stopped giving him advice. Now, he won’t even talk to me. Unless...unless it’s to ask me for advice.

What am I supposed to do about a guy like this? Considering what you do, I thought you might have some insight.

If You Ask Me…

The Art Collector says: How important is this friendship to you? I’m getting the sense that you are feeling mostly annoyed and pressured by this friend. Perhaps you should re-evaluate how much you want to stay in contact with this indecisive ninny. Try dropping a few gentle reminders that you are no expert, nor are you his mommy. If he still won’t quit, I say cold shoulder him until he gets the hint.

Flip side:

Have you ever heard the saying, “Friendship is a two-way street”? Sometimes people could really use a little guidance and you should feel honored that your friend trusts your opinion. Perhaps you should give advice that is more generalized and less of a decree. That might reduce the frequency of it backfiring. Besides, who died and made you king of oil changes?

Strictly Classified says: Go ahead and give your friend advice, but make it completely ridiculous. For example, if he asks about fighting off the common cold, tell him masturbating in church is the best proven cure.

Well…that would be weird advice in my world, but I don’t judge. Good luck!

Son of Ruthless says: What are you complaining about? It sounds like this guy is a total drag, and you’ve succeeded in curtailing all conversation with him. Time to kick back with a beer and feel self-satisfied. That’s how we do it here at Ask Anyone with the persistent ones: We alienate them and we move on.

Perhaps, in fact, you secretly like being asked for advice. Consider that possibility. If that’s not it, then I’m with Smart Money: Tell this guy literally to jump off a cliff, and see if he does it.

Agent Winnow says: Sure, I know guys like that. Everybody does.

I also know this guy who won’t ever stop giving advice. He acts like he’s doing you this big favor, as if you’re begging for his pearls of wisdom, but the fact is it’s totally unsolicited. (The guy is a total bore, on top of it: He’s the Guy Who Has Never Owned a TV; the Guy Who Only Drinks the Beer He Brews Himself; the Guy Who Only Change His Oil Every 10,000 Miles; the Guy Who Gets to Beta Test Everything.) And half the time his advice is lousy.

But it’s this attitude that he’s killing himself to shower you with wisdom, like you’d be some simpering pathetic wreck without him, that galls me. Once I called him out on some advice he gave me, told him I thought he was wrong, and he just threw his arms in the air and said, “I’m through trying to help you out.”

Which was fine with me, because it meant I basically didn’t have to talk to him anymore. Lately, though, I hear he’s bad-mouthing me to our mutual friends, making it sound like I’m flailing without his help and desperately seeking to regain admittance to his interminable seminars on life.

So, have you ever met a guy like that?

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