As I was sitting outside on our little clogged little deck to write something spectacular, a tiny bug flew into my ear.
I surprisingly didn’t panic. It was more like the “ugh. gaaahh… get out.. mehhhh…okay” kind of reaction.
But the brief bug thing brought me to some thoughts.
First, why do we say “let me put the bug in your ear” when we want to offer some stellar advice/insight/wisdom to someone? I mean… bugs are mostly annoying and definitely unpleasant when invading bodily cavities.
When I’m on a bike ride, for instance, nearly my greatest fear is going down hills around dusk when the bugs decide to party in my cerebral stratosphere… Annnnd will probably end up moving the party to my nostrils. It’s hurrble, just hurrble (in my best Frank Caliendo-imitating-Charles-Barkley-voice)
Bugs in ears are annoying. As is “putting the bug in someone’s ear” when they really don’t want it. In different terms, unwanted advice.
There’s a whole lot of bad advice out there, but the curse of unwanted advice goes wayyyyyy beyond “follow your heart” stuff.
First, you can be an unwanted-advice-giver.
I am an all-star at this and pretty much always offer my advice. Ironically, this blog is sometimes victim to my advice-giving. Seriously though, I’ve literally said the words, “I know you’re not asking for my advice, but it’s not in my nature to keep silent.” At the time, this was kinda funny, between friends and all. But honestly, I know that sometimes I need to just cork it.
Second, you can be a horrible unwanted-advice-receiver.
I also suffer from said condition. I can practically shred a pillow with my screams if I’m given advice when I just freak’n want to vent. …though maybe if I would’ve communicated that in the first place, I could have vented to my black little heart’s desire, swept out some soul-soot and gotten back to sanity.
I see some really, really, really simple (but ironically hard to carry out) solutions to both these issues.
1. When in a situation that I may want to give advice, I ask, “would you like my input on this or do you just need to vent?” Asking if he wants advice is important, but offering him the chance to just have a sounding board is just as important. Then the follow-up on this one is listening. Eyes-to-eyes, words-into-brain, real listening. “SOLER up.” Squarely face him/her; open posture, lean in, eye-contact, relax.
2. When in a situation that I’ll probably receive advice (but don’t really want it), I specify first: Can I just vent to you? Now this doesn’t always work and particularly not so well with humans. Because humans are by nature fixers, we are creationists, made to desire order and not chaos. So asking for a venting session doesn’t necessarily guarantee one OR give me permission to shut a somebody down who is hoping to help. I still might receive a little advice, but hey, it might turn out to be helpful too.
I’m wondering how you handle unwanted advice and/orrr bugs flying in your ear.
Thanks for readin’