So you are in a dilemma and you need to find some good advice and support. You start to ask your friends and they come up with a variety of suggestions – and a bit of bossiness thrown in for good measure. Some will be downright critical and use the opportunity to vent their spleen about something else which has annoyed them which they will translate into a put-down, helping you to feel a tinge of regret for having bared your inadequacies so publicly. Some advice will be good, some bad and much will be a whole range of solutions in between from the bizarre to the beneficial – and not one of them may be really the best for YOU.
What happens, you see, is that we all have separate perceptions of ourselves and our lives and problems which no one else can see. We keep a lot of ourselves hidden, like a living and breathing person-shaped iceberg, and people judge from only the bit they can see – based on THEIR limited perceptions. So the advice they offer is often not applicable to you at all. It is more applicable to them. So what do you do then?
The first thing is to decide how you minimise the risks of breach of confidentiality. Sometimes, it is better to ask acquaintances, rather than friends, for advice because they may be more discreet and impartial – and they will forget you soon afterwards; but ask each in private. Publicly, those giving advice in an open forum will vie for a centre stage position, motivated not by your needs but by their egos; by way of a further assault, once they have a foot in the door, they will often continue to offer judgement and advice on anything you say or do afterwards; sometimes we inadvertently diminish our power by asking the wrong people for help. Proferring advice can make people feel honoured to assist or it can make them so bombastic you may end up questioning the benefits of friendship.
You can also put your problem to Google and see what others who tread the same path have to say – or of course ask Mum or Dad if you have a close relationship with them; but their advice may not be quite right either. They may try too hard to protect you and dissuade you from taking risks.
The best way forward is to find people whom you can trust among your acquaintances, even if they are total strangers and simply to approach them to say you would welcome their advice; you could become a hypothetical situation but anyone with an IQ over 15 will know that it’s about you, so come clean! Then, from about three, four or five sets of guidance, choose the bits which best resonate with you and make up your own. Unless you have an experienced and benevolent mentor, you will find the best advice you can offer yourself is that which comes from you.