A month ago I walked into a hairdressing salon, I got a warm reception from the staff which made me feel good about the style I had in mind. Like a receptive staff is an indication of good service delivery, the feeling, however, started to unravel with the question, “what would you like to have done today?”. With each word, the staff’s face changed from welcoming to bemused, to slightly anxious. Mine went from happy to disappointed, to unsettled, ultimately I had three choices open to me,

To have the style done the way the stylist understands it.
Pick another style she’s familiar with
Leave the salon
I needed time to think about it.

My friend had a similar experience with her neighbor the other day. His very into physical fitness, exercise, and healthy stuff generally. She needed advice on how to lose her excess tummy fat and he seemed the best person to ask for advice. He had a whole arsenal of advice, tips, and tools for getting fit in no time, sadly the changes my friend sort weren’t exactly the one’s she found. The tummy didn’t quite go down as much as the biceps started to show up after a few months. She needed time to rethink her fitness strategy.

We can’t always choose who we go to for advice any more than we can help the depth of knowledge from which their support springs. We can choose what we end up doing, we can objectively review the background of their words and actions. We can save ourselves the headaches of being misled by trying our best to disentangle our expectations of them from the reality of what they say. We also have to accept that people will be verbose about their views, support and suggestions once you open up that door for conversation, much like we would be when people come to us. 

I guess one could say if you don’t like the response don’t ask the question which is something I practice with a lot of people in my life.  It’s not a case of dislike or distrust rather an understanding that our views and approach to life are miles apart and an acceptance that some people find it difficult to detach themselves from an advice given. An acceptance of the advice is seen as an acceptance of who they’re and their place in your life and a ’thank but this isn’t for me’ is seen as a rejection of who they are and disregard for them. The circumstance under which these conversations/ soliciting of advising the situation in question and the individuals involved does have an impact on the outcome. However, all parties involved must never forget or overestimate or underestimate their relevance in the situation.

Published by Chioma Nwafor