Relationship Advice: We’re There When You Need Us

January 14, 2012

Dear Board of MisDirectors:

I broke up with my ex-boyfriend a year ago, and he’s still blaming me for all his problems.  We only went out for three months.  Shouldn’t there be a 2-times-the-length-of-the-relationship rule about how long this can go on?

Feeling Too Powerful in Newark

Dear FTP in N,

We’re so glad you came to us for advice – you need it!  We have quickly rallied our best experts to help you sort out this all too common problem.

From The Expressor: Clearly your boyfriend has things he needs to express!  When that is the case, it really is best to just let it out, as holding back results in untold costs.  And yes, you may have noticed: “boyfriend” is the correct term here.  If he is still having such strong feelings for you, then obviously the relationship is not nearly as over as you thought.  Just sit for a moment with how that feels – you may even feel you just want to have a good cry yourself.  Once your own complex feelings have a chance to be expressed (including relief – who wants to die alone?), you’ll find that you’ll be grateful for the way your good young man has kept a light shining all this time.

From The Critic: The question needs to be asked:  just what did you do to him?  Seeing how we have wounded another person is not easy, but it’s a blessing in disguise.  Think of him as a report card, giving you feedback at how well you performed in the syllabus of love.  It sounds like you need some remedial review.  In fact, that would be a prerequisite before you make another person miserable with what can only be you toxic girlfriend ways.

From The Escalator: You have fallen for the oldest trick in the book, my dear.  How can what he suffered be anything close to what you had to deal with?  He’s obviously a needy, clingy, pathological, and perverted human being.  The best course here is an Order of Protection, combined with alerting all your girlfriends, family and co-workers about how unsafe you with him around so that you can have 24 hour protection.  Meanwhile, double up on your therapy visits, and send him the bill.

There you have it!  The advice you need, at a price you can afford, carefully designed to cover all eventualities so that you’re never at a loss.  We’re confident that if you work hard you’ll see the wisdom of combining all three of these expert opinions to make your relationship the meaning and purpose of your life.

Write again!  We’re glad to help!

Your Board of MisDirectors


The New Year Comes – Are You Ready?!?

December 28, 2011
Solar flares and storms cause chaos!
Something crashes into the earth!
Our civilization collapses!
Nature takes revenge!

The end of 2011 is quickly approaching.  Are you ready for what comes next?

As you have no doubt heard, 2012 may bring with it the End of the World.  All you have to do is Google “2012 end of the world” or “2012 doomsday” to see the truth of this.  And, rather than just one type of approaching doom, we have a whole smorgasbord of possible disasters, both familiar and unfamiliar:

  • galactic alignment opening the way for a huge black hole to swallow us
  • massive solar flares which cause all kinds of mischief (magnetic pole reversals, electrical systems disruption, devastating increases in sexual pleasure)
  • planetary collision
  • nearby stars going supernova
  • alien invasions
  • cultural collapse into complete chaos
  • weather disasters, earthquakes, global warming
  • simply the end – whatever that means

As we see it, you have a few choices.  Our various members have their favorites, so we’ll let them speak for each one.

The Planner recommends: Prepare for every possible catastrophe.  You will want to include all of the above, of course; but don’t forget to prepare yourself for the disastrous changes in your personal life that preparing for all the above will cause, as you spend all your money, time, and energy (because nothing less will do!) on preps.  But don’t worry.  When disaster strikes, they – all those people who thought you were crazy – will flock around and thank you.

The Rationalizer recommends: There’s nothing you can do about those things. So why not just enjoy the time you have left?  Those things you always wanted to do but were afraid to do – the drinking binges, the orgies (food and other), punching that annoying neighbor, pinching the (your favorite body part) of your co-worker – now’s your time!  The world will end before the lawsuits can reach the courtroom!  Go for it!

The Realist recommends: Why bother? Seriously.  What do you know about planetary collisions, solar flares, supernovas, survival, all that kind of thing? And you’re going to learn now?  I don’t think so.  Truth is, you’re screwed.  The best thing you can do is put bars over your windows and extra locks on your doors, load up your shotgun, and wait.

The Forgetter recommends: Disaster?  What disaster?  Was that supposed to happen in 2012?  Wasn’t it 2009, that recession thing? It’s over, right?

Don’t like any of those choices?  Don’t worry!
The rest of our member recommendations are coming soon!
In the meantime, you might want to brush up on your brush up on your skills – visit our advice column Why Bother?

Dear BoM: How to Deal with Inner Doubts

August 14, 2011

Are you heeding your inner voices?  Need some extra-emphatic advice?  We are here for you!  Send us your question so we can answer on the blog – benefit the entire world!  Like this brave soul, who asked us this question:

Dear Board of MisDirectors:

Sometimes when I’m in a social situation, I say or do something that, when I’m thinking about it later, I feel really embarrassed about, or worried what people will think about it.  I can spend hours thinking about something I said, trying to figure out how people reacted to it.  Then, I’m afraid to go out again, because I may do something that I end up worrying about.  It’s kind of paralyzing.  How can I get over this?

Worrying Myself Sick Over Nothing

Dear WM-SON,

We do not understand why you feel you are worrying over nothing.  Clearly, your inner voices – that is, us – are trying very hard to tell you that there is something to worry about!  If we are suggesting to you that you may have left, let us say, a poor impression, there’s a very good reason for it.  The question you should be asking is not how to get over this, but how to pay even more attention to it!  Here are a few suggestions for you.

  1. First and foremost, don’t let anything interfere.  Say you went to church or synagogue (or whatever) over the weekend, and you wake up Monday morning with the realization that you may have left the unfortunate impression that you were into group sex.  Don’t let your job get in the way of reflecting on this!  Call in sick!  (You probably feel ill, don’t you?)  You will need as much time as possible, because…
  2. The next most important thing is to review all of the conversations and interactions that both led to and resulted from this.  Don’t skimp!  Examine every single word that was said, every tone of voice, every expression on the faces of people you saw (whether or not they were looking at you!).  Every single little thing is filled with meaning – dark, ominous meaning.  It is critical that you catch every nuance!  Because…
  3. Your future behaviour around these people, and in fact everyone else as well, will be guided by what you learn from this.
    1. Ask yourself this: what critical yet irreparable flaw led you to make that mistake in the first place?  This is the flaw (well, one of the flaws) that you must in the future hide from EVERYONE IN THE WORLD.  You will need a strategy for this – could be anything from “don’t talk about farm animals anymore” to “never go out in public again”.
    2. Next, ask yourself what meanness or perversion in those other people could have led them to interpret your harmless (though really poorly phrased) remarks in that sick way.  Once you have at least one vaguely plausible answer to this, you’ll need another strategy for letting these people know you’re onto their game and think it (and they) are nothing more or less than despicable – though you will, of course, continue to talk with them as is your (fill in your religious persuasion) duty.

These are just a few starter suggestions.  There is so much more you can and should do with these kinds of situations.  As you see, they have the potential to be life-changing!  Paralysis is only the beginning!

Thanks for asking.

Your Board of MisDirectors.

Finding our advice helpful?  Of course you are!  
You can find more advice, related to topics such as dealing with rejection, cheating boyfriends, weight loss,
and so much more, in the archives of our advice column, Why Bother?

When Your Boss Needs Your Help

July 28, 2011

Dear Board of Misdirectors:

My boss is, frankly, incompetent.  He means well, I guess, but he just diddles around and can’t get things done right – indecisive and not too bright.  I feel sorry for the poor guy.  What can I do to help him?

Help our Boss Be Better

Dear HoBBB:

How thoughtful and considerate you are!

You clearly need to take charge here, since you obviously know better than your boss.  But you don’t want to embarrass the poor man, do you?  So, here’s what we suggest.

  • Make suggestions.  Well, start out with suggestions – for example: “Oh, there’s a meeting of the budget committee next week?  Well, you’re going to get Benson on that report this morning, then, aren’t you?”   If your boss has any sense at all, he’ll see this for the valuable push in the right direction that it is, and immediately enact it.  If not, you’ll have to state it more strongly, e.g.: “It would be really stupid not to get Benson working on that report ASAP.”  You don’t actually want to say, “What are you, an idiot?”  But it is perfectly acceptable – even helpful – to have that undertone.  You do want him to understand.
  • Don’t worry if it seems like you are making a lot of suggestions – if you are, it’s because he needs it.  If he doesn’t recognize that, he’s a fool.
  • Check up on him frequently.  Has he followed your suggestions?  So, for example: “Hey, has Benson got that report done yet?
  • Start the suggestions in private, but if he doesn’t listen to you, take them public.  That is, make sure there are several co-workers around when you hit him with your ideas.  Raising your voice so they can hear you a few cubicles away is a great strategy.
  • Enlist the help of your colleagues by explaining your strategy, and why it’s necessary, to them.  They will all be gratified to know that you have the situation well in hand.  Be sure to report back to them whether your boss takes your suggestions, too, so they will know who’s to blame, and who saved the day.  After all, you do want transparency in the workplace, right?  It’s important people know how things really work.
  • Note that, though you are only doing your duty and trying to be helpful, there may be a variety of negative consequences.  You may be fired at some point for something spurious like insubordination, or not getting enough work done (depending on how long it takes to explain things to your co-workers).  Or, your well-deserved promotion may go to someone else, who appears to be getting more work done or to be “working well with others.” This is clearly a problem with the system, which is massively screwed up (or your boss wouldn’t be your boss – you would).  If this happens, do continue to take the time to explain to your co-workers (as well as your spouse, family, etc.) what really happened and why, and know that you are suffering for a righteous cause.

Best wishes!

Your Board of MisDirectors
(special thanks to The Rationalizer, The Realist, and The Escalator)
Need advice on relationships, work, etiquette?  See our advice column, Why Bother?

The Benefits of Stubbornness: The Sweet Spot of “No”

July 11, 2011

Many of you have no doubt been taking advantage of the benefits of “No” for many years, though perhaps without being fully conscious of what you were doing.  We congratulate you!   Saying “No” to things is one of life’s sweetest actions, even when you are only partially aware of the benefits.  We are about to show you a few that you may not have been aware of – but will now be able to savor fully.

The most obvious one, and the one that you are all probably already enjoying, is the sense of control, coupled with the sense of showing the other person (or party) just where they get off.  Oh, you want to do this?  Well, tough cookies: No.  Implicit in that: you can’t make me, I won’t be placated though you may try ’til you turn blue, there’s nothing you can do that will change my mind, you loser.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

Here are two of the more subtle benefits.

  1. It puts the next move squarely in the other person’s (or party’s) court.  They suggested something, which you flatly rejected.  Now they have to think of something else to suggest.  Don’t fall into the trap of making an alternate suggestion yourself!  Oh, no, no, no!  Keep them reacting, trying to guess what might be acceptable to you!  Hold onto the power!
  2. It puts you in the place of pure faultlessness.  All you did was to reject a clearly unacceptable suggestion.  Not your fault if the other person (or party) couldn’t come up with something that was even marginally acceptable!  No matter what happens from here – whether it’s just a little rough spot in the road while they come up with a better idea, or complete moral and physical disaster – it’s not your fault.  NOT YOUR FAULT!  Savor those words.

A recently Harvey Mackay piece suggests you let your inner child influence your negotiating style.  Well, we second that – sort of.  He’s referring to the happy, curious, open inner child.  We feel this will work much better with the needy, petulant, whiny inner child – the one that says “No” even to things he or she wants, just to be ornery and get back at whoever is suggesting it.

It may not get you what you want, but it will sure as shootin’ pull those around you down to your level of (un)happiness and (dis)satisfaction – and after all, that’s the ultimate goal, right?

The Board of MisDirectors thanks its member, The Rationalizer, for this entry (advised, of course, by all the other Members). If you find this advice helpful and would like more, please visit the Board of MisDirectors web site, where you can get advice on topics from employment to relationships, as well as hints on how to maximize the benefits of your unresolved traumas!

Looking into the New Year

December 30, 2008

Hi.  I’m The Realist, from your Board of Mis-Directors, and I have some timely words of wisdom for you as the new year comes crashing down upon you.

You so need me at this time of year. Like clockwork, all those false, inflated hopes for the new year come,  and you fall for them every time.  As if this year will be any different from any other.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know just how I’m needed.

It’s that New Years Resolutions thing.  We’ve got to talk about it.

I just want you to remember: I’m always here to help you accept the limitations of your character and life.  You know just how hard it is to make changes.  Why make so much trouble for yourself?  Why sign up for so much trauma?  Realistically speaking, once you reach a certain age, it’s almost impossible to make lasting changes.  Research studies prove it!  So why bother?  Is it really worth all that effort, only to fail?  Why give yourself the heartbreak?  How much easier just to accept that you’re never going to be much different than you are right now, and settle into it.
Barack Obama had it exactly backwards.  The proper attitude, the only attitude that shows an accurate perception of your reality, is “No, I can’t.”  Hold onto that, and you’ll never be disappointed.

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