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Ask Anyone

the inquisitor

I have a friend who’s constantly asking for my opinion on things. Fine. This is what friends do. But she asks me about everything. What should I wear? Should I do this or that? What should I have for lunch? Dinner? She texts me all the time with this stuff, and it’s becoming too much. Like, 10 texts a day, minimum. A few times I’ve replied things like “How should I know?”

I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I can’t give her guidance on every little decision she makes. Half the time I don’t know what I should do myself. How do I get her to make up her own mind about things?


Strictly Classified says: Tell her to add Julie Andrew’s “I Have Confidence” to her iPod and listen to it at least 10 times every morning for a month.

The Omniscient One says: Give her really, really, really bad suggestions. Tell her to wear things she hates, eat things she thinks are unthinkable, suggest the worst movies, turn her on to some really horrible music…she’ll stop seeking your advice.

Smart Money says: Talk to her. Lie, let her know she makes good decisions and should rely on herself more. And tell her to grow a pair.

The Gay Perspective: That’s easy. Just give her bad advice! But seriously, your friend is probably less interested in your opinion than in sharing her day and connecting with another person. Don’t take these queries so terribly seriously; don’t answer so promptly; and encourage your friend to adopt a pet as soon as possible. (Then prepare to hear about the daily antics of Mr. Whiskers.)

The Practical Cogitator says: Clearly, your friend lacks confidence. Why don’t you have a little fun with her, while boosting her sense of self and well-being. For lunch you can suggest that she try to eat all vegan foods and slow foods, and only dine at locally owned establishments. What should she wear? Well, think of it as playing with a doll: Today you should wear that new pair of skinny jeans you just got! Imagine, you can suggest she sign up for yoga classes, go green, volunteer for community projects! After your friend takes advantage of your altruistic advice, she’ll be a better person, and our community will be all the richer! She might even make some new friends, and you’ll be off the hook.

Alternatively, you could answer her outrageously, suggesting a Big Mac and fries for lunch while adorned in sequins during the day. Soon she’ll stop asking for your advice and start thinking for herself.

The Sales Guy says: I would have a coffee with her and inform her that although you consider yourself a bright person, you’re far from all knowing. It is flattering, but its uncomfortable knowing she might be blindly following your best guesses on life’s travails, so you will not continue to be her guru.

But face it, she could just be calling you to stay in contact—because she wants to do you.

this blows

In the fall, I heard stories on the TV and radio about what a bad winter this was going to be. La Nina, they said, was going to bury the north in Ice Age-depths of snow and brutal cold. Anticipating this, I decided to be prepared. I convinced my wife that instead of a trip to Florida, we should invest $1,200 in a Toro Power Max 726OE (26”) Two-Stage Snow Blower. With this piece of equipment, I would not only blaze a trail from our garage to the street, but I could conceivably rescue the entire block by cutting a smooth path along our sidewalks that were buried under swooping snowdrifts. Neighbors would hand me beers and bake me bread.

Last night, I came home from work and watched as an eight-year-old boy rode his skateboard down the sidewalk, jacket unzipped. He was followed leisurely by his three-year-old sister on her tricycle, and their Mom, walking their dachshund. “Can you believe this weather?” she asked. “We’re just coming back from the playground. In January!”

“No,” I replied. “I can’t believe it.”

I’ve owned this thing for a few months now, and never used it. If I try to take it back, they’re going to give me a hard time. If I try to sell it, I’ll take a big loss. If I discuss this with my wife, she’ll remind me we could’ve gone to Florida. What should I do?.

Would-be Snowbird

The Omniscient One says: You should go up to western Alaska where they experienced an historic super storm that buried two-story homes in snow right up to the eaves. I’m sure you’ll get the beer and baked bread you were dreaming about.

Smart Money says: It’ll happen. Whiner. Keep your snowblower. Or don’t and suffer the consequences.

Strictly Classified says: How I envy you! Count your blessings and keep in mind that this is Buffalo. Sooner or later, you (and your wife) will be glad you have the snowblower!

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