Luv Doc: More Advice to Be Ignored
An affirmation of already existing opinions
Dear Luv Doc,
This isn't a huge life-or-death thing, but it annoys me nonetheless. Whenever I offer advice to my husband about something, he ignores me. It doesn't matter whether it's a good idea or not, he will either argue with me or outright ignore me. Then later he will tell me one of his friends/workmates gave him similar advice – if not exactly the same advice – and he will graciously thank that person or privately tell me what great advice they gave him. When I point this out he shrugs it off and sarcastically says, "Yeah, you were right." He will even go to a co-worker he doesn't like to get their opinion before he asks mine. I know this isn't a big thing, but it makes me feel undervalued and makes me think we won't be able to make important decisions together in the future. How can I get him to really listen to me? He might listen to you since you're not me.
– Advice Not Taken
As someone whose advice is routinely ignored on a weekly basis, I feel your pain. In general, most people aren't looking for advice so much as they are looking for affirmation of already existing opinions. Really smart people realize this and either avoid giving advice altogether or find clever ways to lead the advice-seeker to a personal epiphany. "Eureka! I just realized I need to buy a $35,000 Tesla! Thank you, Mr. Musk!"
I found out early on that I am a shitty car salesman. It turns out my disappointing apathy for financial success coupled with a crippling sense of Catholic guilt make me a great candidate for midlevel bureaucratic positions, but a godawful closer. I never won a set of steak knives, but I sure as shit sold them door-to-door. My most sincere, heartfelt apologies to the Dove Springs neighborhood – and I hope you are still getting use out of those encyclopedias.
I get it though. I know you're not claiming to be a genius or some sort of spiritual guru, you just want credit where credit is due. Like, "Yeah! That was my idea not to invest all of our money in the relaunch of Myspace," or "I told you it was a bad idea to throw those red jeans in the washer with your whites." Sometimes it's the little things, you know? Sometimes the devil is in the details, which leads us to the larger issue at hand: Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't value or even consider your opinion? Why also would someone want to be in a relationship with someone whose opinion they don't value? Either side of that equation is troubling.
Let me make this very clear: Your husband's dismissive behavior is not OK. My advice – for you to ignore – is to let him know in no uncertain terms that he needs to step up his listening skills considerably and acknowledge and give credit to your ideas. Otherwise, you're not really communicating, are you? And you know what they say: "Communication is key."