Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Know You're Trying to Help, but please, Don't Give Me Canned Advice

I hate having to write this kind of post.  No matter how well I write it or how long I think about what I'm going to write, it's going to come off as ungrateful and like I'm making excuses.  Nevertheless, I need to say it.

I pretty regularly post on Reddit.  The usual spots for someone like me (assuming you've read this blog long enough to understand what kind of guy that is) and some of the more surprising places as well.  A lot of the advice you read on there for people struggling to get dates or relationships is what I would call really basic and somewhat condescending.  Usually along the lines of "shave", "brush your teeth", "take a shower", "get a job", "comb your hair/get a haircut", and the one I like best "go to the gym".  As if everyone (or even most people) who are hard up for dates lack basic hygiene, are unemployed, and are either string beans or in a fattest person alive contest.  No way a person could take care of themselves and be in shape and still not go on dates.  Totally impossible. Right.

I understand that people who say this mean well.  They want the person they're giving advice to to succeed.  But I've met my share of guys who have struggled with women and they aren't slackers who look and smell like homeless bums.  And I also understand that it's impossible to know over the internet who takes care of themselves and who doesn't.  At the same time though, it's probably a good idea to assume that the people you're talking to have at least the basic hygiene you've had since middle school.  Anything less is borderline offensive.

This is along the same lines as the "you're single because you're sexist" line you sometimes see from time to time.  Yes because only nice, thoughtful men have girlfriends.  I wonder how many people who write on this topic have actually wandered outside into the real world where the rest of us live.

There's not much else to say.  I guess just be mindful when giving advice.  Most people aren't smelly hobos.

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