About a month ago my husband was reading a newspaper – Daily Nation, I won’t mention the exact date. He came across one of those columns that someone shares their problem and other readers give their advice on the issue. He read the problem and as he read out each reader’s response, he asked me to guess if the advice was from a man or a woman. I got all 10 of them correct.
We noticed a saddening trend – all the bad advice was from women readers. Now, before you start stoning me, hear me out. The issue was about a man who had lost his job but was not making any effort to look for one. His wife was upset because he was not even helping with chores while he stayed home and she went to work. All he did was watch movies all day. The women readers went ahead to advice the wife to let her husband be and just ‘encourage’ him to look for a job. One reader even went as far to suggest that the husband was watching movies to relieve stress and the wife should not add to his stress by bringing up that issue. Seriously?
The male readers gave really sober advice-very logical reasoning. They advised her to be part of the solution, like participate in helping him look for a job not just talk to him about it. Buy a newspaper and check out the ads together or look through job websites with him and assist him in the application process. On the matter of not doing household chores, they noted that if the husband never used to help with chores before he lost his job, he would not all of a sudden start helping because now he was jobless. Very valid point.
When I watched the movie, He’s not that into you, I noticed the same problem of girls giving terrible advice. As the movie starts, we see ladies in different scenarios trying to explain why the man is not treating them right, why he’s not calling. The excuses range from “maybe he lost your number” to “maybe he got eaten by a lion”. Absurd isn’t it? Sadly, the recipient of the advice takes it and goes ahead to have a miserable relationship each time coming back to her girlfriends who give her even more bad advice.
Ever heard someone go, “You know what will make your bad relationship better? You should get a baby!” In what planet is that going to help? We women give our friends awful advice. We help her make excuses for men who treat her badly and watch as she gets her heart broken when we could have helped her get out of the relationship. We never have the guts to tell her when she has a great man but she’s doing something wrong yet we go ahead to hate on the man when the relationship fails.
Sadly, we do the same to the men in our lives. They come to us and share a problem and we go ahead to make really weird remarks that would not be termed as advice. Mark Gungor, a pastor, in a seminar called Men’s brains Women’s brains, states that a man will not go to another man to share his problem unless he expects his friend to offer him a solution on that problem. This is totally different from how we girls do it. I will share an issue with my friend without expecting a solution, all I need is for her to listen and drop a comment here and there and I leave feeling so much better.
Understanding this difference, will help you to know how best to assist your man; when your man comes to you give him a practical helpful solution. Don’t just complain about the issue over and over again never once offering a solution.
My husband tells me I give advice like a man; I say that sounds like a bad thing, he insists it is a compliment 🙂 Several times when I have attended a bridal shower or I am in a group of ladies, I find myself giving conflicting advice from other women. I tell it as it is and this has cost me several friendships. On the bright side, some of my friends come back to report that she took the advice and it went pretty well.
The next time your friend shares an issue, don’t tell her what she wants to hear, tell her what she needs to hear. Think through the problem and give her sober, logical advice. If you feel she’s on the wrong, tell her the truth. If you see she’s getting a raw deal in the situation, advise her to take helpful steps. She may not like you very much at the moment but with time she will discover you are a great friend. Tough love is good once in a while