The thing about giving advice is that everyone thinks they can do it, and when they think they will get their name plastered over a newspaper, magazine or website they are even more keen. The thing which makes no sense is that when I advertised on official job sites I was inundated with people insisting they were suitable but who had no talent. You could say that if they are not bright enough to advise others they are not bright enough to realise this and need me to point it out. You could say that. Yet you could tell by the way they contacted me and the things they said that they knew they were inadequate. How do I know this? Because they tell me that they cannot get a job, they were fired from McDonalds for being inadequate and slow and turning up late all the time, they want a job that pays a lot more than that but where they can work from home and feel important. Not one word about being a capable person, not one word about caring for others, it is all about them. They want an easy life, and they make this clear, but this has nothing to do with being any good at solving problems or advising people. They cannot sort out their own problems.
One of the give aways was that when you asked them what proves they are capable of helping others by being an agony aunt they would say well my friends come to me with their problems and tell me all about it.Really? Well that is just friends chatting. Letting off steam. Wanting to fill the blanks when nothing is being said. It does not mean that they value your opinion or want to hear it. And people are always quick to ask for free opinions, that means nothing. Free opinions are worth what you pay for them. The majority of people who come to you for free advice are not really wanting it at all, they just want to complain and get a sympathetic ear, they want someone to agree with them, they do not want you to work things out for them but to accept they have worked it out for themselves.
If the complainer tells you that her boyfriend beats her up every day she does not want you to criticise himor to tell her what to do, deep down she knows all of this, she wants you to tut in the right places, make her feel better in the here and now. She has no intention of dumping him. She may insist that he has promised not to do it again, or he pays the bills and she needs his money, but whatever the reason is it is up to her.She simply feels better if she lets off steam or gets sympathy about it inbetween the many bad bits! That is your role, not to sort it out for her. And if you criticise him she will feel worse, she does not want to be reminded that she is needy and returning to a bad man, something she will do anyway. She has to tell herself that he is really a good man and he really loves her as this makes it more bearable. If you tell her that he is really a good man she will think you are terrific, because you make her feel better about the situation and herself even though you are lying. Being an agony aunt is not always about telling the truth. It can be about giving sympathy or telling lies to make someone feel better.
Ask the majority of bad advisors onlnewould tell a girlfriend to dump her boyfriend with no thought to how she would never be able to do it because she needs him or thinks she loves him a lot. They go by principles and practical things instead of feelings, and forget that it is an emotional situation first and foremost for this person, with the practical things following after.
The worst sort of agony aunt online is the one who tells the client the obvious and assumes they are so thick they cannot think of this for themself. I recently looked at a website for lonely people. Lonely people are usually in that predicament because for one reason or another they are unable to meet people who become friends.
Yet this website said that they advised lonely people to contact all of their friends and invite them over!This is saying that they are so stupid they cannot think of a simple thing like making a phone call or inviting someone to come over. That they are lonely because although they have lots of friends they have not thought of contacting them or inviting them. Ridiculous And this comes from a so called hepful website which has cost a lot of money and taken a lot of time to put together.
When a person works along as an agony aunt or advice columnist you get the same sort of daft advice more often. If a person says their doctor does not understand them the so called advisor says they should change their doctor. Something so obvious the complainer would have already thought of it, but there must be a reason why they did not do it. It may be that there are no other local doctors, it may be that they have tried the others and they are worse, but never give such obvious advice to anyone with a brain. Especially if they are paying for it. People will ask for their money back if you tell them something really obvious and expect to get paid for it. A good advice columnist will get into the skin of the person and feel for them as well as just see what is going on. You will not get this luxury if you write to a magazine or newspaper column where they often just write a few words very quickly because they are inundated, and usually they miss most of what you wrote because they are so busy, and usually they just send you a link to a website, something you could have found for yourself in ten minutes.
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