Give Friends Suggestions

We often give people suggestions, some giving more suggestions than others. Since I like to talk, when given a chance, and can’t shut up–actually I am a typical introvert, not an extrovert at all, and I don’t know how I’ve become a talkative introvert– I’m often asked for suggestions. Now looking back, I think it started from computer. I always investigate whenever a problem comes up, like a virus, a download textbox, a new software etc. Afterwards, I can’t stop talking about it. After a while, I gain a reputation among my friends on computer issues. Whenever they have a little glitch, they just call me. I tell everybody that I’m no expert, but still I’m asked this and that as if I know everything. Actually I don’t. I am quite ignorant. From computer, it expands to health and diet. Sometimes I am afraid that I am giving the wrong suggestions and may have negative consequences, but still I can’t shut up.

I have to say I often give wrong suggestions whenever relationship is in question. The problem with relationship suggestions is that one often gives suggestions without receiving all the facts. Since relationship is rather private, it is impossible for a friend to relate all the details and give one an elaborate description from both his and her angle. So often one gives suggestions based on garbled information one hears. There were a couple of instances, for which I gave rather uninformed suggestions. I have regretted doing that ever since.

Many years ago, I was a housemate to a girl from East Europe and a guy from South America. The girl was a graduate student studying engineering and the guy was a trainee for a government funded program, for which I’ve already forgotten what it is about. I was on very friendly terms with the girl, who asked me one day if she and the South American should go out. I told her “no” because he might have a girlfriend already in South America–he’s very cute and I don’t believe girls would leave him alone–and also he is shorter than the girl. I couldn’t imagine a girl taller than a guy in a relationship–my imagination was rather poor and dogmas played a very big part in my life in those days. After a while, when they eventually started to go out, I sensed that I had said the wrong thing. Not only that, the guy practically hated me. She must have told him what I had said. I could just imagine their conversation. “Honey, I love you despite all the objections–you are not tall enough; you are already taken.” “Really? Who said that?” I obviously became the sacrificial goat at the altar of their love.

When a friend is down and out, don’t give suggestions. There should be actions to help rather than just verbal suggestions. In the book “Down and Out in Paris and London” by Orwell, he described his self imposed hard life first in Paris then in London after he quit his colonial position in Burma. People gave him suggestions without the understanding that he wanted to be a writer and didn’t want a regular office job. Those suggestions only infuriated Orwell and did nothing to help him.

Nowadays, I am more careful with my suggestions. However sometimes I just want to make a suggestion so much that I don’t care about the cautions anymore. For example, I have a suggestion For Amazon–an audible book by George Orwell doesn’t have to be read by a person with a British accent. Is it necessary to hire an Italian to explain the painting of Mona Lisa? Or hiring Germans to perform Beethoven’s symphonies–it doesn’t sound feasible in many parts of the world? Or finding a Frenchman to give lectures on Sartre and existentialism? Some people just don’t understand how universal the writing, the painting, the symphony, and the philosophy of existentialism are. They try to lend a regional flavor, but that is entirely unnecessary. Orwell is universal. His writing is about general human conditions, understood and loved by millions and millions who have nothing in common with him in race, ancestry, life experiences, or personal tastes.

The audible book “20th Century European Philosophy” is read entirely by people speaking English with an European accent. I don’t understand the need for this. What is this supposed to accomplish? To remind readers these philosophers are not native English speakers? Also I suspect that these people pretend to speak English with an accent. They are regular people who have a good reading voice and are hired to read not only this book but other books as well. They are told to fake an European English accent to read this book. LOL.

The most annoying of all is a book by Erich Fromm on psychology, which is read by a person who overdoes an European English accent with great enthusiasm. I forget which book it is or if it is from Audible at all. Probably from another audiobook source. Since Erich Fromm’s writing is from the era of WWII–I don’t know if he wrote directly in English, or probably he wrote in German or French, which was translated into English later–the sentences are not as easily readable as more recent writings. I had to concentrate to understand each sentence and the deliberately exaggerated accent was very annoying.

17 thoughts on “Give Friends Suggestions

  1. Yeah, I agree with you on accents. I think it’s unnecessary. Suggestions are subjective. Most of the people who ask for suggestions just want to make sure they are on the right path. They are just looking for options. In the end, they’ll do whatever pleases them. Or something they have already thought about.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s so true. People ask for suggestions, but the likelihood of following the suggestions are low. On the other hand, if the suggestions are followed, people are expecting certain results, which if not materialized will have negative impacts on the friendship. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve learnt to listen and speak where necessary. Am naturally an introvert but whenever I speak people pay attention and they are able to take my advices.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that’s wonderful. Yes, being an introvert is actually a good thing in the sense that it give us the time to think and be careful with our words and actions. You are a great influencer on people around you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I feel the same way- being an introvert helped me listen better and speak when necessary which means people take what you say more seriously because they know you don’t speak all the time.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Problem with giving suggestions is that we don’t really know how the other person is thinking. I’ve been on both ends before.

    I also agree with your criticism of audible. Why have a British person read Orwell when an American can do as well? Why does a person need to have a French accent to explain French literature when anyone else, British or American can do just as well as job?

    The only thing I can think is that lots of people are shallow. Sometimes they prefer these superficial touches in order to make things seem and sound real.

    I used to work with a couple of British people who thought I was an idiot because I’m an Indian guy with a slight New York accent. I had to constantly prove to them that I knew more than they think I do because of the lack of “gravitas” in my speaking.

    Speaking of my own shallowness, I used to think only Indians can teach yoga until I came to realize anyone can teach it if he or she put in the time and effort to learn. Thankfully, I never made an ass out of myself insulting those non-Indian yoga teachers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those are wonderful points, right on the spot. They think it is more appealing to people to lend a British or French flavor, but that’s just a shallow way of judging and imagining people. People who like books don’t care the nationality of the author or the accent of the author. It is a laughable superficial touch. They may have the good intentions of making things real, but somehow it only annoys people. LOL. I used to know a couple of British, and I don’t understand why they always make fun of American accent and American expressions. Is it a sort of popular “banter and feud” between the two English speaking countries? They also make fun of the French with such glee. I am almost 100% sure that the two laughed at me behind my back and thought I was an idiot. My Asian accented English is at the bottom of the accent hierarchy. Well, let them laugh.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very true. I have experienced this more times than I would like to admit. And relationship advice is more of a minefield than others. However as women, we can’t help talking about it and give advice left and right with results ricocheting right back, just like what you said. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fake accents are really annoying, no question. I have found that unsolicited advice seldom does any good. Even when someone asks directly, a lot of times I try to answer with a few questions I would have if it were my situation and then let them come to their own conclusion and not make a suggestion. That way it was their own idea, succeed or fail.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That’s very wise. Giving hints and asking more questions are much better than giving a direct answer. Socrates practiced that very well. Also this way it will not make people uncomfortable when your opinion is in direct contradiction to their view–your eagerness in giving such a advice will only cause annoyance or even anger.

      Liked by 2 people

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