Just last week I waxed and waned about a pet peeve of mine. Well, I have many. And many are not really all that deep nor are they truly things that keep me up at night. They are just things that mildly irk me and once I talk about them I move on. So, here is another. Why not? We are still in winter. I have a ton of work to do that I would rather not do. And, I have binged on way too many shows. I need a bit of an intermittent binge fast. Does that even make sense?
Anyhoo, today I was reminded of how there truly are times when the advise we give is wasted breath. And, I am getting tired of that. Is that a pet peeve or something more? I am specifically, getting tired of when people nod in agreement and seem to indicate that they get your point and value it. Yet, their inside voice is most definitely saying “yup, aha, next…” They humor you and you give thoughtfully. And yet, it is not a true interaction or give & take communication.
There have been times when it has become evident to me that the person was just halfheartedly listening or rather listening intently with no intention of follow-through. And, I am left wondering why did they even bother to solicit my thoughts. Why tease me that way? Why lull me into thinking that there is wiggle room in that person’s decision-making process? I suppose they do so in the hope that the person giving the recommendation actually hits the points that they were already thinking of. Thus, they are engaged in a confirmation bias interaction of sorts. Or more cynically, they may think you are not the most reliable person and thus are hoping to be able to discount an opposite take based on the unreliability of the advice-giver. Does that make sense? It did in my head, for a second or two.
Even on social media this behavior occurs. There are times when people post on Facebook a desire to receive recommendations on something–a place to eat, a phone to buy, or to break up with their current partner. Yes, sadly I have seen the latter. People respond and the person posting says thank you. But do you think they really wanted all that advice? Maybe they were just trying to solicit an interaction or two or twenty.
Here’s the thing. Despite this pet peeve of mine, I can’t help but continue to try to help people when they ask for advice. Mascochist? Just altruistic? Highly opinionated? Either way, can’t help myself.