Helpful Advice

I don’t give advice, but I’m frequently interested in the viewpoints of people who do consider themselves wise enough to give it.

Well, I say I don’t give advice and I sincerely try not to, try to catch myself at it and chide myself when I discover I’ve backslid in a way I can’t squirm out of.  Well, most of the time.  If you’ve read the Survival Book  [ ]  you know I’m lying to myself and to you when I say it.

Some of you nitpickier readers might assert the ‘Ask Old Jules’  blurbs Jeanne posts on the Facebook page amounts to advice, but I can’t agree.  That’s just answers to questions with no attempt to be helpful, no wish to influence the choices other people make.

But I’ve digressed.

I read Ed Hurst’s blog, ‘The Oracles of Marriage’, and while I find myself not in total agreement with him in a lot of ways, I suspect people involved in relationships with other people might profit from reading and carefully considering what he says.

There’s also the Dear Coke Talk blog ruminating and giving advice I find amusing and might have found helpful when I indulged in relationships.

We’re living in a time of possibly the most profound social experiment in the history of mankind.  During the past century 10,000?  50,000? years of accumulated human wisdom and tradition has been discarded worldwide in favor of various packages groups believe they’ll like better.  I’m not, personally, certain anyone on the planet is qualified to give advice in times such as these.  The body of experience just isn’t sufficient to pull solutions out of a catch-as-catch-can gut feel cauldron of individual preferences and biases, and deliver them any meaningful where.

Seems to me it would be a good time for people involved in relationships to do a lot of pondering, reading, discussing with the party of the second part about boundaries, about ownership, about mutual dependencies, about verbalizing expectations, and about self-reliance.

But what the hell do I know?  I can show you how to start a fire with flint and steel.  I can elaborate at length on how you can make the best of almost any bad situation and come away from it a lot more confident and probably happier than you went into it.  But when things go into the arena of two people clinging to one another in a complex web of expectations neither has clearly defined, neither has ever agreed to, the only reasonable approach seems to me to be honest communications.

I was married 25 years and one of the conversational mantras during that time was, “What’s the matter?”


“Yes, something’s the matter.  What is it?”

“Nothing.  No, really.  Nothing.”

That interchange sums up what I’m talking about.  It’s a statement communicated by non-verbal methods that the party of the second part hasn’t satisfied the expectations of the party of the first part.

Why isn’t the answer a forthright statement?  Because the unsatisfied expectation isn’t one that has been brought out into the open, discussed, and agreed to.

“I’m angry and I want you to know I’m angry, but you’ll have to guess why, want me to not be angry.  I’ve chosen this method in hopes of getting you to modify your behavior to something more in tune with what I want from you, knowing you probably won’t agree to it unless I sulk it out of you.”

How the hell can anyone presume to give advice about how to do that better?  When the goal is ownership and control who’s better qualified than the party of the first part, whichever the gender?

Old Jules

Kenny Rogers & The 1st Edition – Something’s Burning


9 responses to “Helpful Advice


    People in relationships never really want advice and they don’t listen to what you think anyway, and if you say too much you can lose their friendship because although they can talk bad about their partner, no one else better. All they want is a sounding board. Ugh.
    Rubye Jack

  2. And, sometimes the expectations have been defined, and one party has relinquished all but the Power of Sulk. Not that I’ve ever been in that sort of patriarchal relationship, or have invoked passive-aggression, of course.

  3. Morning Rubye Jack: Thanks for the visit and response. I expect you’re correct. Gracias, J

    Hi Good Luck Duck. Thanks for coming by. Likely there’s nothing in the pantheon of human potential that isn’t going on out there somewhere. Both patriarchal and matriarchal. Maybe some of it’s working. I’ve wondered sometimes why the female with a dozen husbands marriage hasn’t reared its head enough to be known. Seems to me in these economic times it offers a way a woman could get a plethora of attention from each of them, a lot of deference, and the men involved would have a lot of elbow-room. A household of that sort ought to be running out the ears with affluence, skills, chock-full of a kind of economic freedom not likely to be found elsewhere.

    Ah well. Thanks for the visit and observation. Gracias, J

  4. Jules,
    Thanks for dropping by my blog. I like what you have to say on your site so far. I will visit again.

    I have 8 cats and a dog. I guess you and I are doing our share, brother.

    Take care,


    • Hi sarcasticbastard. I appreciate the visit. Enjoyed your blog. I’m not sure what our shares are, but I’m hoping against hope I’ve got mine. Got a herd of starving deer coming up on the porch trying to eat the cat food, which I can’t afford, and coons making cow eyes at my chickens, which they can’t afford. Surely am obliged you came by. Gracias, J

  5. A dozen husbands all at once. I don’t know if that sounds like heaven or hell. It does sound like a good economic approach to life, may have some other benefits.

    I know nothing about relationships. Been in several and still don’t have a clue. I know I don’t want to be a mind reader nor expect someone else to be one, but good communication most often is severely lacking between the sexes.

    I have a male friend who believes a relationship should actually have a written contract signed by both parties that’s open for negotiation every few months to see if both are still on the same page. Either can ask for a renegotiation of the contract or opt out. Sounds unromantic, but it could prevent a lot of sulking, skulking and other unsavory behaviors.

    You’ve made some good points.

    • Hi Teresa Evangeline: Me too. As for the first part, I think a dozen is too many. Probably half that would be a better option. But I think your male friend is in possession of some wisdom with that written contract thing. Thanks for the visit. Gracias, J

  6. Thanks for the endorsement, Old Jules. As a side note, I can’t find the shut-up switch, so I blather on like I know what I’m talking about. My bride of 33 years, for good or ill, supports this habit. You reckon I should offer her some of the blame? 🙂

    • Hi Ed. I do enjoy reading your words. But if you can get by with blaming them on your wife I’d endorse the concept. You’re not likely to get by with blaming anything else on her, I figures. Gracias, J

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