October 14, 2009


Posted in Advice I have no business giving, Nerdiness, The Aaaarrrghhhhh! at 7:33 am by Dagny Taggart

For some reason, it has been suggested that I should quit my job, go get a degree in psych or social work, and hang my shingle as a therapist.  I’m not opposed to the idea, so long as I can figure out how to deal with two types of people in an adult, professional manner.  Oh, and how to not become poor in the process.  I don’t want to be poor.

My former therapist (haven’t seen her in a while, you can debate the wisdom of that decision amongst yourselves) was particularly good at not offering advice.  Rather, she asked a lot of questions that helped me figure out what was going on with me.  And it would be lovely to acquire that skill.

But lately, a few friends have approached me for advice.  And one of them is, in particular, an incredibly frustrating case.  See, this person has come to me several times, about the same issue.  And this person has an incredible capacity for rationalization – to the point where it seems that no matter what I say, excuses will be made, justifications will be attempted, and the end result will be… predictable.

And so I find myself wondering why this person comes to me for advice.  What about these dialogues is helpful?  Talking to me must be like bashing one’s head against a stone wall, in that I never ever seem to give the answers being sought… and yet the same conversations happen as though the “repeat” button were jammed in the on position.

I want to be helpful… but I have no idea what kind of help I’m supposed to give, to someone who has demonstrated a clear aversion to actually taking my advice.



  1. Brian said,

    Some people want to talk about things, but don’t necessarily want you to solve the problem (even though it might sound like they do). Venting is therapeutic in and of itself, so it may simply be that this person wants to fee listened to, rather than instructed. Whether you can stand hearing the same story over and over again is another question, but may also be relevant in a career-change kind of consideration as well.

    Although I will say I’d imagine you’d be pretty good at it, just to the extent that I’ve gotten to know you.

    The aversion to poverty is the primary reason I went to grad school part-time myself. Steady income is kind of addictive, no?

  2. Brian: Income is, indeed, a heady rush. The steady kind? An even better high.

    I think that everyone wants to feel listened to, and that’s something to keep in mind. Thanks!

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