If you want advice, shut up and listen

 

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Many of us, myself included, tend to surround ourselves with people who are like-minded. Which is fine, there isn’t anything wrong with that, and I’m guessing that the people you surround yourself with are fairly like-minded. You probably want the same things out of life, in a very abstract way. Again, nothing wrong with that, but what I can promise you is that surrounding yourself with people with the same perspective as you will not challenge the way you think. Which, again, is fine. You probably have made your mind up on a lot of things, whether they be reproductive rights, politics, or religion, and a lot of those things wont be changing regardless of whether or not your peers are like-minded or try to challenge you. Your personal life doesn’t need to become one giant debate after all.

With all the caveats out of the way, and reassurances done, let’s talk about why different points of view matter. But first, let’s talk about me a little bit. I’m a straight male, in his 30s, without children, of mixed ethnicity, and I live and have always lived in New York City.It’s not the full story, but I bring these things up to say that when I give my perspective, part of it my perspective will always be influenced by that. I won’t ever really know what it’s like to grow up as a white person in America, or what small-town life is like, or even what it’s like being a woman. Neither my story, or anyone else’s story is good or bad, but it informs how we view the world.

You know who I get a lot of my advice from, whether they realize it or not? Women. Women with varying interests, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds, and what have you. The primary reason I seek these women out is because of all the things I mentioned about myself. I’m a straight guy and I can seek out the advice of other straight men, but in a lot of cases our perspectives will be the same when it comes to dating. Which, can be cool, but not the best growth opportunity. I can hang out with my male friends and commiserate all day about women and relationships, but chances are good I’m not learning so much as I am sharing. The reason that I tend to seek out the advice and counsel of women is that even if we have a similar background, we may have a vastly different perspective on situations I would never think to consider. Specifically because I’m a straight man.

Question for the straight men out there: Have you ever received an unsolicited picture of a stranger’s genitals? I’m going to guess most of you haven’t, unless you’re internet famous. You know who probably received an unsolicited picture of a stranger’s genitals? Like, in the last day or two? Probably every woman you know. You know who probably has a better perspective on whether or not to send a dick pic to a woman? A woman. I’m not saying that women are some sort of monolithic entity that knows and sees all, I just value different points of view. What I’m saying is that, if you want diverse dating advice, seek out someone with a different perspective on dating, ask for their advice, shut up and listen.

This goes for everyone, not just the straight men out there. Seek out the advice of people with different perspectives, whether you agree with their perspective or not, and just listen. I cannot stress enough how important that last part is. Listen. I mean really listen. Not listen until they start saying something you agree or disagree with and cut them off, Listen. Not debate, listen. Let’s say you ask someone “Who should pay for a first date” and the answer you get is wildly different from your own. Your natural inclination might be to say “Y’know, I actually think that…” and try to make things a discussion, or a debate. Do. Not. Do. That. Just listen, absorb their perspective (whether you’re for or against it) and thank them for their time. You can even ask people for their perspective, not their advice, but their perspective, if that makes you feel better about withholding your comments.

Oh, and to close this thing out, here’s a little thing you might not know about the Tao of Indifference. The Tao of Indifference is written primarily by a man (me, obviously) but almost 60% of our fans on Facebook are women. Clearly they didn’t need today’s advice to seek out someone with a different perspective. They all seem like some very intelligent, very savvy women, so maybe you should follow their lead and seek out some advice from a different perspective.You’ll be surprised what you learn.

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Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

2 thoughts on “If you want advice, shut up and listen

  • May 28, 2016 at 5:40 am
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    it is so important to listen. in anything. when someone has a problem, often the best thing is to not offer advice either, just listen.

    Reply
    • May 31, 2016 at 12:13 pm
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      Great point! I’ve found that a lot of the time people often ask for dating advice and don’t actually want an answer, so much as they want an opportunity to vent.

      Reply

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