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  1. #1
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Default Unsolicited Advice Culture

    Do you feel like this is the case? I can't help but wonder if we are more of an unsolicited advice culture because of media deluge and/or if its possibly a result of not having the etiquette constraints of the past. As a girl, I used to like peeking into the world created by retro etiquette guidebooks. Everything from how to dress for supper to write a letter to heads of state. Anyway, thats just me, and I'm not saying I want to live in that world, only that reading about it made me imagine a kind of glamour. Anyway, just wondering if anyone relates to this essay and if they see broader trends behind it, perhaps even Fe or Fi forces at work. Does it seem worse by and/or for women?


    In Which We Figure Out The Advice For Ourselves
    Unsolicited Advice Culture
    by KATRIN HIGHER
    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    This Recording | thisrecording.com

    Excerpt:
    There has been a certain increase in volume among my acquaintances and friends, as well as peers and strangers, where the casual sharing of advice and normal human interchange of ideas of yore has been replaced with a commanding flood of unsolicited or bash-one-over-the-head-with advice mania. Why has everyone become a self-help guru/mother/father/best friend?

    The last few years have been filled with “You Shoulds,” “You Shouldn’ts,” “Why aren’t yous” “Stop this, stop that," “Get pregnant now." It is to the point where I now look at sugar and wonder if it’s going to send me to the ER if it happens to be refined.

    The origins of “giving advice” are not exactly clear, but culturally and anthropologically speaking, it makes sense that elders give others in their groupings some sage life-advice as a way of passing on the traditions that help everyone live smoothly. But our frantic modernity has created something that is pathological in its flogging insistence of what one should or shouldn’t do, buy, eat or wear.

    Dear Abby was started in 1956 by Pauline Phillips and the current syndicate describes the column as “well known for sound, compassionate advice, delivered with the straightforward style of a good friend.” Ah, a good friend you say!

    Advice columns have their merits. It can give the lost soul some comfort to hear words of blanket facebook quote-like wisdom or uplift. But it looks to me that it’s gone the way of explosive capitalism and advice-giving hubris. After Dear Abby, we got Ann Landers, then advice columns in all of the lady mags and even Playboy. Here’s how to solve your problems, everyone! The dawn of Oprah turned this ethos into a worldwide brand. This is not an Oprah-bashing article mind you, but her show took strident advice-giving to capitalistic heights. Each special expert guest told you how you need to be living, or else, also you must buy this and that or else. They are like insidious infomercials disguised as care-giving.

    YOU NEED TO HAVE. I need to have this or else, or else WHAT?! As a result of this advice-on-steroids culture, we end up questioning our own decisions and worth according to the journeys of other people as default, instead of listening to ourselves and perhaps the select group of people you have learned to trust over time.

    It makes sense that the commodification of giving advice would arise quickly with the increase in technology and communication; it is the perfect advertising strategy. You must click on this and do as these gorgeous rich people did or else you will rot, hurt others with your ugly rotten face, and ultimately die alone while leaving everyone disappointed especially your lover and mom. Please work out and meditate while doing yoga and drinking grass juice at the same time as having a child before 30! Oprah and her Drs Oz and Phil, the media, self-help books, and now the internet have created Advice Monsters swarming around in our day-to-day lives.

    I hear it from strangers while waiting in line, from casual acquaintances, good friends and family which, is fine, though annoying, and from anything and anyone in between. The gamut runs from “You should really go Paleo” to as invasive a comment as “You really shouldn’t wait so long to have children…wait…you’re not even married yet?!” It is as though everyone has become a mother from the 1950s waiting in the wings for their daughter to meet the strapping young man at the Sadie Hawkins dance. Stand up straight! Posture! You have to marry him or you’re worth nothing! If you don’t do this, my life will actually have no meaning! Wait...

    I crowdsourced this theory of mine, reaching out to friends and peers, asking them whether this is something they noticed and the particulars therein. Not only did literally everyone I ask emphatically respond with a resounding YES, they all had several particulars to choose from. The majority noted that most comments and advice centered around: diet, exercise and weight; but circumstantial advice is given especially during pregnancy and motherhood, as well as to those, like me, who are in their early 30s and as of yet or forever, child-free.

    Personally, I do not want to go Paleo or quit sugar even if that did help you. I will not be going gluten-free thank you very much, and yes, even though I happen to be 33 years old, I am not going to “just have a baby and not think about it” (this has been said to me by two baby-boom aged people as well as a few people my age or younger (!)).

    So why do so many folks become these insistent life coaches? I sometimes share helpful tips, sure, and it is a normal part of human nature to impart small quips of everyday successes onto your friends in a reasonable manner like: “Hey I tried this lip gloss, it’s great!” However we have entered this hyperbolic and seriously boundary-crossing territory which I can only attribute to a blend of media saturation and one’s insecurities desire of control and validation.

    It is a way for someone to feel justified in their (perhaps expensive) choices, in making them feel less alone. ...

    < Read the Full Essay >
    (You must click on this and do as these gorgeous rich people did or else you will rot, hurt others with your ugly rotten face, and ultimately die alone while leaving everyone disappointed especially your lover and mom.)
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  2. #2
    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    it's real. and it's annoying.

    the main thing i find problematic is how uncritical people seem to be about the sources of these bits of wisdom. the other is a weakened sense of self that is displayed by someone who latches on to every 'should' thrown at them.

    personally, i'm grateful for the reaction this phenomenon has created in me. after some times of feeling overwhelmed by all the shoulds, i started paying closer attention to where i was getting my direction from. really looking at where my anxieties, goals, and motivations were coming from. this has strengthened me. i'm not sure i would have come to this point as early as i did if the advice forces hadn't been so strong.

    as far as the women thing goes, i do find that older women (a generation before me) take on a very motherly role with me. i've gotten very bold advice about what to buy, how to plan my life, etc. from women in their 40s-50s. i find these women are the most blind to my own wishes and deaf to my own feedback. i assume it's because they think they know my position exactly, and that they truly do know better than i do.

    i like hearing advice. i'll always listen to what someone has to say. but for me, it must be weighed against my own self before i allow it any real weight in my life. sometimes, a random bit of unsolicited advice floating around in space can be just the thing i needed to hear. the problem is blindly subscribing to things. i swear, some people are trying to follow so many -isms that they actually create paradoxes as to ideal behavior. no wonder so many's peoples heads are spinning trying to run around living these perfect lives.

    this brings up the facade phenomenon that results from social media. people posting all of these miles run, gluten free vegan meals cooked from scratch from their gardens, perfect family pictures and milestones right on time. it adds to the illusion that this perfect life is possible. that all these shoulds, if followed exactly, can add up to create this ideal. and that you suck for failing at it. because everyone else can do it, so why can't you?
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

  3. #3
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    People have always given unsolicited advice. For some personality types, it's a crucial part of our ego. If you lived in a less post modern culture you would likely be bombarded daily with well meaning aunts, nosy neighbors, embarrassing mothers, wise mouthed hairdressers, and varying self appointed symbolic father figures.

    I think it seems more obvious now because of one, the Internet, and two, post modernism and neo Marxism has given some people the insane idea that there are no shoulds, that absolutely everything is nihilistically subjective, and those people super duper hate it when I point out the obvious, that for example, if you participate in a hook up culture with no relationship rules and without any relationship goals, don't be surprised that it's difficult to find a relationship. But no I am mean and judgmental because I explained why what they're doing generally won't be effective. One sad soul even compared me to a homophobe for daring to suggest that having clear relationship goals about love or sex has more efficient results

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    Quote Originally Posted by five sounds View Post
    it's real. and it's annoying.

    the main thing i find problematic is how uncritical people seem to be about the sources of these bits of wisdom. the other is a weakened sense of self that is displayed by someone who latches on to every 'should' thrown at them.

    personally, i'm grateful for the reaction this phenomenon has created in me. after some times of feeling overwhelmed by all the shoulds, i started paying closer attention to where i was getting my direction from. really looking at where my anxieties, goals, and motivations were coming from. this has strengthened me. i'm not sure i would have come to this point as early as i did if the advice forces hadn't been so strong.

    as far as the women thing goes, i do find that older women (a generation before me) take on a very motherly role with me. i've gotten very bold advice about what to buy, how to plan my life, etc. from women in their 40s-50s. i find these women are the most blind to my own wishes and deaf to my own feedback. i assume it's because they think they know my position exactly, and that they truly do know better than i do.

    i like hearing advice. i'll always listen to what someone has to say. but for me, it must be weighed against my own self before i allow it any real weight in my life. sometimes, a random bit of unsolicited advice floating around in space can be just the thing i needed to hear. the problem is blindly subscribing to things. i swear, some people are trying to follow so many -isms that they actually create paradoxes as to ideal behavior. no wonder so many's peoples heads are spinning trying to run around living these perfect lives.

    this brings up the facade phenomenon that results from social media. people posting all of these miles run, gluten free vegan meals cooked from scratch from their gardens, perfect family pictures and milestones right on time. it adds to the illusion that this perfect life is possible. that all these shoulds, if followed exactly, can add up to create this ideal. and that you suck for failing at it. because everyone else can do it, so why can't you?
    Maybe you give off a confused vibe? This doesn't happen to me irl and I know many older women. The worst I have gotten are obvious ESFJs suggesting I dress this way or do my make up that way. I remember that reading that some people in Gen Y aren't even assuming adult roles for themselves, referring to ourselves as girls instead of women well into our twenties and thirties for example, or men living at their parents home and refusing adult responsibility in sexual relationships well into their thirties, and this inappropriate extended adolescent behaviour of course invites advice from elders.

    It's also because our culture is so varied and post modern, everyone thinks their way is better, there is less conformity, so advice comes from more directions than ever.

  5. #5
    Entertaining Cracker five sounds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    Maybe you give off a confused vibe? This doesn't happen to me irl and I know many older women. The worst I have gotten are obvious ESFJs suggesting I dress this way or do my make up that way. I remember that reading that some people in Gen Y aren't even assuming adult roles for themselves, referring to ourselves as girls instead of women well into our twenties and thirties for example, or men living at their parents home and refusing adult responsibility in sexual relationships well into their thirties, and this inappropriate extended adolescent behaviour of course invites advice from elders.

    It's also because our culture is so varied and post modern, everyone thinks their way is better, there is less conformity, so advice comes from more directions than ever.
    i'm not going to say i always come across as sure of myself, because i don't. i have a pretty exploratory personality, so i don't just like go right in and do things by the book. i look around and usually am drawn to unconventional things. i've had older women get frustrated with that, which i guess many kinds of people become frustrated with about me at times. but where that comes into this discussion is when they take a, "no. you don't wanna do that. you wanna do this." approach. as kind of a mother-knows-best way, leaving no room for me to voice my opinions or desires without it feeling a bit confrontational to me.

    it's not a huge deal really, just something i've noticed that was directly asked about.

    also, it's natural for younger, less experienced people to be less sure of themselves. and i appreciate guidance. but i do think there's something to be said for being allowed to make one's own way.

    the point you made about advice coming from more directions than in the past was central to my impressions too. in a lot of ways it's liberating because non-conforming choices are more acceptable, we just have more shit to sift through as a result. i see it as a strength building exercise. i like being challenged in that area.
    You hem me in -- behind and before;
    you have laid your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by five sounds View Post
    i'm not going to say i always come across as sure of myself, because i don't. i have a pretty exploratory personality, so i don't just like go right in and do things by the book. i look around and usually am drawn to unconventional things. i've had older women get frustrated with that, which i guess many kinds of people become frustrated with about me at times. but where that comes into this discussion is when they take a, "no. you don't wanna do that. you wanna do this." approach. as kind of a mother-knows-best way, leaving no room for me to voice my opinions or desires without it feeling a bit confrontational to me.

    it's not a huge deal really, just something i've noticed that was directly asked about.

    also, it's natural for younger, less experienced people to be less sure of themselves. and i appreciate guidance. but i do think there's something to be said for being allowed to make one's own way.

    the point you made about advice coming from more directions than in the past was central to my impressions too. in a lot of ways it's liberating because non-conforming choices are more acceptable, we just have more shit to sift through as a result. i see it as a strength building exercise. i like being challenged in that area.
    Im an "explorer" sort of person too and by no means conventional, but I think I have always come across as so self assured most people don't cross me unless they see me in a vulnerable light...I don't tend to put myself in scenarios often where people would even be telling me something that outright, like you should buy this. That kind of thing was actually more oppressive in the past when your family and community directed a lot of your life choices, which is why I was initially unclear on why the OP even thought this was a new thing. A hundred years ago your parents would oftentimes strongly suggest where you should work and what kind of person you should marry, as well as not wearing white after labor day, et al. In truth we have more freedom than ever.

    My grandparents raised me to be an adult though. I didn't realize what they were doing at the time and hated them for it, but forcing me to assume increased responsibility through childhood and almost complete responsibility by eighteen, so I didn't wonder if I was a grown up or not like some people of my generation. If anything I thought I was grown up before I was, and rather incorrigible in somre regards. That is why I will fight this "not a real adult until twenty five" cultural bullshit until I am dead, my grandfather was a grown man at sixteen. It's absurd.

    But I don't think the OP is an example of that, she may even be older than me, idk, so I assume she means the advice guru/self help culture, and again I think its a combination of post modern nihilism and increased communication technology. I look at all of that stuff as suggestions more so than advice.

    I do think though in extreme cases like the one I gave in my first post though some people don't like if you are even pointing out that their behavior is illogical or self defeating because of our increased nihilism and neo Marxism...it's like, nah, I ain't judging anyone for having casual sex, im just saying it is ridiculous to expect serious committed relationships to magically form between two people who have zero idea what they want, or to expect a guy looking for casual sex to suddenly become husband material because you were secretly hoping to fuck your way into a relationship. Some people need advice beaten over their heads. Usually I only do it online though because at that point to me it looks like a public problem to address, rather than in person random unsolicited advice.

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    I don't know if it's worse for women but it happens to men too. And I don't think this is a recent phenomenon either; people have been giving others unsolicited advice forever. A lot unsolicited advice to women (and men too) seems to centre on the Judgment of Single People.


    Conversely I'm getting a little sick and tired of solicited advice that I've dished out being ignored or indignantly thrown back in my face. As much as we resent unsolicited advice there are a lot of people out there who are terrible at accepting solicited advice. Maybe Marm is right, maybe it's "post-modernism and neo-marxism"; whatever the cause there are also a great many people out there who ask for advice and are too obstinate or stupid to accept it. Or, in other words,

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    Some people need advice beaten over their heads.
    (bolded and underlined for my emphasis)

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