What is the worst or most condescending advice you have been given?

At my younger sister’s wedding (I was the only unmarried girl left) my crazy cat lady aunt asked me when I was getting married. I said something about finding the right guy, and she asked what I was looking for. “A card-carrying member of Promise Keepers.” “Oh, you’ll grow out of that,” she said.
8 months later I married a card-carrying member of Promise Keepers, and we are still married 24 years later.
We found out some 8 years later that we couldn’t have kids. Not advice, but what was supposed to be consolation was awful. “It’s OK, you’re a teacher; you have other kids to take care of.” As if that was anything like my own kids.
We didn’t last long at schools because we were no good at gladly accepting crap from administrators or parents. I’ve heard “You struggle with teaching because you don’t have kids.”
"___school district is hiring’ (Repeat ad nauseum)
“Take out a loan, get a Master’s in this ‘high-need’ area and you’ll never need to look for a job again.” I can’t even get interviews anymore because having a M.Ed. makes me too expensive to hire. We have both given up on teaching.

A few years after I married my spouse somehow asked me when we were going to have kids. I said my spouse couldn’t have kids. The lady said “Then get rid of him and get a real man before it’s too late”.

I also once had a co-worker tell me “A woman can’t be happy unless she has kids” (This was a man saying that).

People are jerks.

(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 876000 hours unless flagged)

Why did you tell him that?

I had a little experience with CBT and to me it seemed a lot like working through a troubleshooting script: “have you switched it off and back on? If you’re having bad thoughts, have you tried having good ones?” All of the work is on me while someone else talks through the tech support script, and if it doesn’t work, I’m advised to try yoga or something.

Yes thank you I hadn’t considered trying to think better thoughts, thank you for letting me spend $200 on this.

Because I had orders of magnitude more driving experience than he had, and he was backseat driving his local host, who actually knew what she was doing and where she was going in an environment he was experiencing for the first time?

Or is this some kind of meta-mansplaining joke??

Closely related to this are people who think that you can get people an outcome just by speaking the outcome to them.

“I am a horrible dancer” - “Well then, just dance better.”

“I have depression” - “Well then, stop being depressed.”


What is your question? We are obviously not understanding each other.

“And if all those lazy no-good homeless freeloading welfare queens would just get a job and earn some money, they wouldn’t need food stamps, housing assistance, welfare, and all that expensive stuff we taxpayers are paying for!” :roll_eyes:

My experience is similar to monstro and jz78817 in that there are a number of things that I cannot do, and I don’t enjoy them much anyway. Dancing? Love the contact with something warm and female (human only, before you ask) but the best I can do is to mechanically stumble through the movements. I just have problems with a sequence of movements, and it’s the same for sport. I love skiing, but I’ll never be much good.

I cannot sing or play any instrument, I quickly realized the latter when trying to learn guitar and piano. Occasionally people say to me: “But you can do it if you try.” I wish, but I am completely without musical talent and know it.

On looking back, I am hard pressed to think of ever getting any really bad advice. My mistakes were all my own. As for condescending, that mostly involved advice on how to deal with the ladies. Being a very bashful person in my youth, such advice tended just to make matters worse.

But I cured my bashfulness after discovering computer BBS and flame wars. :grinning:

Bad advice:

After my brother in law’s divorce, he gave me a book on how to keep a woman’s love. His sister and I had been married about 25 years. A year or so later, he married again.
12 years later, she left him. I am still married to his sister after being together for 60 years…4 years of dating and 56 years married.

This is only one example of his lack of self knowledge.

Any advice that starts with the word “just” tends to be condescending, especially when relating to parenting or weight loss. It’s so darned dismissive. My favorite includes my (former) friend telling me to “just try harder” when my then 6-month old son wouldn’t sleep alone at night. I shared that when I tried to let him cry it out, he would go for 2, 3, 4 hours until I’d break down and bring him to bed. If I didn’t, my son would scream until he vomited on himself and just keep going. It was heartbreaking and didn’t seem healthy or safe at all.

Having someone, let alone a friend, say verbatim, “you’re not trying hard enough,” was soul crushing. Luckily, we have a really practical pediatrician who said, “Look, he didn’t read the manual, okay? If sleeping with you is the only way any of you sleep right now, bring him to bed with you guys.”

Agreed. Finally, in my elderly wisdom, I ask people to not say ‘just…’ to me. If it was ‘just…’ I wouldn’t be asking for assistance.

Along with what posters said above about “just” answers, I am also weary of advice that has no limit, so to speak. Where, for instance, if you can’t master piano after spending 2 hours a day practicing, people then tell you you need to do 3 hours a day. And if 3 doesn’t do the trick, then you need to do 4. And if 4 doesn’t suffice, then…

Eventually, by their logic, you aren’t truly putting in serious effort until you are doing 24 hours a day.

Slackers only put in 24 hours a day. If you’re serious about it you’ll do more.

Another peeve is when you say you struggle with something, but then someone “refutes” or “debunks” you by pointing out that someone else didn’t struggle.

“I really can’t do calculus. I mean, I really can’t. I’ve spent weeks and it still makes no sense to me.”

“What do you mean? Joshua solved his calc problems perfectly well, no issues at all. What do you mean you don’t understand it?”

This reminds me of advice which is very useful, but only if you have a time machine handy.

A pianist I knew was telling us about his failure at an audition. He had prepared a selection which he had been told would qualify, only to learn otherwise right as he was about to perform it. Another musician told him, “I think you should have prepared a different selection”.

Similarly: The Office’s Dwight Schrute was observing Kevin and Oscar trying to move a desk, and suggested, “You guys should use a truck dolly”. When Oscar asked, “Do we have one?”, Dwight apathetically replied, “No.”

The bad advice I think of is from my adolescence.

Some folks may have enjoyed their teenaged years. I was decidedly not one of them, for a variety of reasons. For years, my dad dated a woman that I find impossibly smug and condescending, and, on learning of my depression, liked to tell me, “Misery is optional.”

That kind of happy slappy bullshit gets up my nose like nothing else.

I had a high school English teacher who, while not THE WORST, was pretty mediocre. The sort of teacher who sucks the joy out of literature. I was a voracious reader, but pushed back pretty heavily against the sort of smarmy navel-gazing litcrit that she’d clearly majored in in college. A year or so after I graduated high school, she encountered me on the street, and told me, “I hope you never stop reading.”

“Uh, okay, teacher,” I responded. “I hated your class, and you ruined the pleasure of the books in it, and I read like crazy before you and I read like crazy after you, but you’re sure as hell not in a position to convince me to change my reading habits.”

In my head, anyway. Of course I nodded and smiled and thanked her and left.