This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saving my breath

I know this is difficult for people to imagine but, even though I went to school to become a lawyer, I'm not madly in love with the sound of my own voice. I also have the unfortunate tendency to lose my voice if I use it too much, so I prefer to save it for when it serves a purpose (especially when I need it to sing). So, when people ask my advice, in long, drawn-out marathon discussions, I give it with the expectation that I'm not just talking to hear myself talk. That people will actually, oh, I dunno, take my advice under consideration at the very least.

I think even bigger than my pet peeve about people who constantly complain about their problems but take absolutely no efforts to change their situations, is my pet peeve about those same people who then ask me for advice and never follow it. I didn't get a degree in psychology or social work, but I think I'm a reasonably smart person who has learned a lot throughout her life, and does have actual training in conflict resolution. I can definitely give very good advice about what NOT to do in a multitude of situations in life, many coming from my own personal experiences. And when it comes to legal matters, I can't give actual legal advice yet, but I can give advice about who to go talk to for legal advice, what to take with you when you go, what questions to ask when you talk to that person, etc.

Anyway, I'm getting to the point where I'm tired of watching people make extremely bad life choices and still continuously being asked "but what should I do?" Simply? Stop making bad choices. And when you ignore that advice and make the bad choices anyway? Don't call me to ask me what you should do now. Sheesh. If I were a licensed therapist, I'd be making a lot of money off of my friends and family, that's for sure. And if I were a licensed attorney? I wouldn't take their cases, because if they're that much of a pain in my ass now, imagine if I were supposed to represent them in a legal matter.


Cee said...

I, too, hate it when people ask for advice but don't take it. what also annoys me is when people vent about how things are bad in their life when they don't want advice. They really just want you to say "wow, sucks to be you." That is what I don't get!

gudnuff said...

Being one of "those people", it's good to know who to avoid, I guess. Because it is sooooooooo helpful to vent, to share, to emote. But not if by doing so, I piss off my audience.
The very act of speaking is cathartic. I used to work on a crisis call-in line, and we went through 30 hours of training. Basically, they taught us to say, "Sounds like you're upset" and "I can hear how sad you are". People just want/need validation, and the opportunity to pour it out verbally, like some kind of poison they must excrete before it pools up inside of them and eats away their psyche. BUT, when I used those same skills on FAMILY members...holy frijoles...I was on the phone FOR HOURS AND HOURS. Family is where you have to draw the line. Maybe there's a call-in crisis line that your friends and family could call instead of calling you?

gudnuff said...

Plus...by doing the law school thing...they see you as an authority figure...someone who has her act together and maybe can help them get their act together too. Fun, isn't it? It's not something anybody warns you about...that your status and role will change among family and friends, too. You start to feel like people are feeding off of your focus/drive/amibiton/intelligence like a pack of vampires. Caller ID will only increase in its value to you as you fend them off.

Proto Attorney said...

It isn't so much the venting, I mean, hell, I vent/whine/complain all the time. I'm happy to be a sounding board for my friends.

But the difference is in having the ability to change the horrible situation, but instead continuously making choices they know are bad (because they admit it's bad) and that defy all common sense. It's a continuous spiral of:

"You know that's a train up ahead, right?"
"Oh yeah, that's definitely a train."
"You know that if you keep laying on the tracks that train's going to flatten you, right?"
"Yup, that train's definitely going to flatten me. You're right, I'm going to get off the train tracks."

"So, did you get off the train tracks?"
"Nope, the train ran me over, I derailed the train, there was much carnage."
"You see there's another train coming, right?"
"Yup, I see it. I should get off the tracks."

And especially when it's a matter of not just failing to act, but rather, proactively making situations even worse, it's like, why do I bother? Why am I wasting my time? Why do people ask for advice they have no intention of actually taking? Ugh.

See, now I'm venting, but I plan to do something about it: not answering my phone!

PT-LawMom said...

LOL! I'm glad I took your advice to take a semester off law school. ;) But I do understand what you mean. I'm an advice-giver (and also a venter/whiner), but I hate it when people don't take it. I can barely stand to even talk to my brother anymore, for example, because he just makes the most horrifically bad life decisions, bitches and moans asking for advice and then does The.Complete.Opposite. &^&S^*%^&.