Well Meaning Advice

A friend of mine is going through a divorce at the moment. It’s certainly not an easy process, but for somebody as capable, driven and focused as her, I’m sure she’ll come out of things in a great space.

But, unfortunately, she’s also having to deal with the well-meaning advice from her friends and family.

“Oh my god, what’re you going to do?

“When do you think you’ll find another man?”

“That advice from your lawyer doesn’t sound right, here’s what I think you should do.”

“What’re you going to do for money?”

“That custody arrangement will never work – here’s what you should do.”

As she was telling me these stories, I was gobsmacked. I mean, I shouldn’t have been, but in her context particularly, these statements are quite absurd.

(Not to stray from the topic, but I can tell you that were she a man, she just wouldn’t hear those things)

But it drove home for me – again – just how powerful society’s perception is and what an impact it can have on all of us.

And how liberating it can be to break free from it.

That idea – ‘what’ll people think?’ – is so persuasive and magnetic and, often, damaging.

I have no real answers for escaping it’s pull.

But I have found the following can help resist it a little:

  • Know yourself and the life you want to live

  • Have reasons for what you’re doing.

  • Apply some level of filter on the people who’s advice you hear. Sometimes this’ll mean ending old relationships, or limiting the time you spend together, or resetting the boundaries with a polite and clear request.

  • If you’re going through a divorce, I’d love to hear some of your ‘well-meaning’ war stories too – especially if you have any tips on how to deal with this kind of advice!

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