Sunday, October 10, 2010

Overly helpful people... who asked you?

There's a woman in my online life who seems to make it her mission to be "helpful" and it drives me nuts.  I know this woman through a messageboard I frequent... I "met" her several years ago when we were members of a Web site for second wives.  We ended up splintering off as part of another site for second wives and remain there to this day.  This woman is quite a bit older than I am and, I think, fancies herself a motherly type.  That would be cool if she were a "cool" motherly type.  But actually, she's the type of person who seems to get off on being superior to other people and offering them unsolicited advice.

Here's one example of what I mean.  Last year, my husband and I decided to buy a new car.  We were living abroad and able to get a discount on said car.  I was going to have it custom made for me and I was very excited about it.  I shared the news with my online friends, most of whom congratulated me.  Ms. Overly Helpful chimes in with "Have you considered purchasing a used car?  They're so much cheaper."

No shit.

As if it never occurred to me that a new car would be much more expensive than an older car would be.  Jesus Christ.

The other day, I mentioned buying a new computer to replace the one I've been using for the past couple of years.  Now, I'm no computer expert, but I do know the basics of computer use.  I know that I have to do maintenance of the computer to keep it running.  I've just gotten to the point at which it's time to change machines.  I have already made the decision to switch and have already purchased the new machine...

But that doesn't stop the overly helpful lady.  She chimes in, asking if I've been properly maintaining my current computer, defragging it, running scans for malware, cleaning the fans, etc.

Yes... I have been doing those things, I explain to her.  But I am a power user and my computer gets a good pounding everyday.  I need a new machine.

So then she tells me I should buy an external hard drive...  which I did a couple of years ago.

And it seems like she's always got "helpful advice" or a contrary opinion whenever something comes up and I happen to post about it.  It's as if she doesn't think I ever think about the opposing side of an issue.  When I got the creeps about some guy hanging around at the end of our yard and was suspicious that he might be a dognapper, she helpfully told me that he could be perfectly innocent.  As if I hadn't thought of that myself... 

When I got the creeps about a guy on our road, leaving stuff in our mailbox threatening to report us for trespassing if we set foot on his land, she told me I was overreacting.  This was someone I didn't know and I didn't even know which property his was, let alone trespassed on it.  I felt like I had been singled out.  I later found out that the guy had been illegally leaving the same notice in every mailbox on the street.  That made me feel much better, but I was still irked about it.  Ms. Overly Helpful felt the need to tell me I should just let it go...  Maybe she was right, but who the hell asked her?  I know I didn't.

I know this is probably as much my issue as it is hers.  I have a tendency to react violently to people who treat me like I need special help.  I think it comes from my upbringing.  But, the fact is, I am a perfectly competent person and when I need advice, I will damn sure ask for it.  Sometimes a little advice is appreciated, but oftentimes, it's not.  Most people are going to do what they're going to do... and I think people who offer unsolicited advice are, more often than not, not doing it to be helpful, but to make themselves feel better. 

Maybe it's time I found a new place to hang out.


  1. I really dislike this type of person. The occasional bit of unsolicited advice? Ok, fine.

    But somebody who constantly does it? Give me a break.

    My mother-in-law is that type of person, though she does it more to my wife than to me (Thank God).

    I think it might be time to find a new place to hang out.

  2. Yeah... you got it right, Dave. It's annoying as hell and insulting to boot!


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