Those of you who know me can tell that talking is a huge passion of mine. But honestly, I would just like to refer to the Finns’ virtues once again. They only speak when asked and when it’s really necessary (ok, except for on the radio channels – what’s with that? Is it the collecting pond for the tiny fraction of Finns who celebrate jabbering and need an outlet for that?).
There is a not even particularly fine line between constructive criticism and totally redundant, subjective opinions being uttered. If you can’t see this line, just ask yourself: Does my comment help this person to make something better in future? Especially my male friends (sorry for generalizing once again) seem to enjoy giving advice, opinions, tips and wise comments on everything other people do in their surroundings. Maybe it is a defense against the evolving feminist world around them, where they are no longer needed as problem-solvers, heroes or helping hand solely because of their gender? Or maybe I just have a majority of male friends and it actually happens in every friends’ circle, regardless of the sex.
Don’t get me wrong, I am totally pro-honesty, while white lies are necessary to not hurt anyone – we all know this stuff. Like, if we mean “No, I don’t wanna spend time with you tonight,” the perception of our friend might turn this sentence into “No, I don’t wanna spend time with you,” so we rather say “No, I am tired” instead.
Honesty however is important when we want to prevent someone from making the same mistake over and over again: If our friend keeps seriously wearing this totally inappropriate outfit, we might wanna tell them that other clothes suit them better, without making them look like they have gained 5 kilos overnight/been robbed recently/a bunch of moths in the closet. Even if they don’t ask proudly for our approval, we might just tell them, unrequested and in a polite way.
But about 70% of the advice I get throughout the day is not helpful at all, and in almost all the cases totally uncalled for. If I am proud of my degree grade, I don’t wanna hear that “This is only the best grade in your faculty. Hardly anyone gets anything worse than this. Try making that in my degree!” – what is this? Shall I turn back time now (first 80 years, of course, to kill Hitler, and then to the beginning of my studies) and try for a different degree just to be able to be happy about my grade in 2014? Or when I come from the hairdresser with a totally fine hairdo, approved by the majority of my friends and of course by myself, why would my (male, sorry) friend tell me repeatedly how much better I looked before? Just to make me feel bad? But why?
They don’t only force their opinions on you, they also question each and every one of your decisions, depicting you as a total moron who is apparently not able to walk through life independently and weighing advantages against disadvantages. So no matter whether they are ‘just’ trying to force their preferences upon you, or simply assuming your previous knowledge about things is very modest – sentences like the following can hardly be interpreted very positive by the recipient, even if he might be less suspicious than me: “Why did you take the train and not the plane, did you really consider the magnitude of the price difference?”, “Why do you wanna eat at Burger King now, if Subway would be so much healthier?” And the best: “Are you sure the cash machine is broken, or did you accidentally request the 42 € from it that you mentioned before? You know it’s not possible, right?”
Yes, I have an answer to all of this. Because, contrary to expectations, I do not blindly stumble through my life, hardly avoiding hitting walls and getting run over by cars. I did not just by chance achieve my graduation and survive living abroad by myself. No, I actually do plan stuff and have reasons for my decisions. And I am honestly thankful for advice and tips for things I might not have considered myself.
But justifying myself for obvious things is just tiring and a little boring. And annoying. Cause believe me, not forgetting to take off my clothes before I enter the shower or not lighting a cigarette next to a gas station are things I have thought of myself once or twice. And yes, I also know smoking itself is really bad for me, thanks.