Where can adults get advice from?
August 30, 2008 5:39 AM   Subscribe

What might be some people for a grown man to go to for advice when his parents, spouse, and friends are... 'unavailable' for various reasons?

Parents are out. Wife's family is out. Wife is out. Friends are out.

And the advice would be for things that might normally come from those four groups... parenting, career, politics, personal growth. The 'big' issues.
posted by TheManChild2000 to Human Relations (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Many people rely on clergy in situations like this.
posted by Class Goat at 5:47 AM on August 30, 2008

If you've got decent insurance, and a decent pool to choose from, consider a therapist. A psychologist, not a psychiatrist or a marriage & family therapist (you want to see "PhD" or "PsyD" after his/her name, not "M.D." or "MFT"). In general, a psychologist is much better trained than an MFT, and won't steer you toward medication the way a psychiatrist might.

It's cliche, and this suggestion will likely be scoffed at at some point on this thread, but a good counselor is trained to help you gain perspective on the things you mention. They don't just deal with mental illness-- your need to talk about the "big issues" is a normal part of their expertise and training. And since talking to the groups you mention is out, they are a good (ideally) objective third party.
posted by Rykey at 5:55 AM on August 30, 2008

So you want human beings to talk to about parenting, career, politics and personal growth. These are the sorts of topics (maybe with the exception of politics) that in my opinion you will have a hard time having fruitful conversations about with strangers. Which is, in all fairness, what you've left us with since you say all family and friends are out.

I mean I just have a hard time imagining how people that know nothing/next to nothing about you will be able to provide you with the guidance and insight you are after on intimate topics such as personal growth.

Possible solutions:

1. Change one of the situations that is causing your various options to be 'out'.

2. Make some new friends. (A very long term choice seeing as it'll take awhile to get to know them and requires a lot of investment, cause you can't start asking Bob what to do with your life when you've only known him for an hour)

3. Go see a counsellor/therapist/some professional who's job it is to listen and give advice.

4. If you take out the 'people' aspect of your requirements, parenting can be handled by books and web resources, politics can be handled by web resources and books, and as mattoxic said, metafilter can tackle career and personal growth.

In my (apparently very long winded) opinion, option numero uno is your best bet because it is the people who know you and care about you that you will find the most rewarding and helpful for talking about the type of things that seem to be on your mind.
posted by atmosphere at 6:02 AM on August 30, 2008

Many people talk to a bartender.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:31 AM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ask Metafilter. No I'm not being sarcastic. The people on this site give some pretty good advice most of the time.
posted by afx237vi at 6:42 AM on August 30, 2008 [4 favorites]

There are people who call themselves life coaches who purportedly give sell just that kind of advice.
posted by headnsouth at 6:47 AM on August 30, 2008

Seconding Metafilter, and just plain marveling at how this was a meta-meta-ask-meta question.
posted by rokusan at 6:51 AM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is gonna sound a little weird, but I'm absolutely convinced its true: old people.

Try at your local nursing home, or Denny's, or even homeless shelter. There's a lot of old folks out there, its just that we don't see as much of them as one would expect because we've become so adept as a society at pushing them to the lesser-seen margins of our lifestyle.

Although I never knew it at the time, one thing my parents got right in raising me and my siblings was forcing us to volunteer at a local "retirement" home. It made me comfortable with the idea of being old people - the sights, sounds, smells, the way they talk, the way they need help with things, etc.. And once I was, I realized how incredibly much they have to share, simply because they've had a lifetime of experiences already and probably plenty of years to reflect on them, to boot. You haven't had this yet.

A lot of what I still consider to be my best advice about being a man came from a large, white-haired, quiet WW2 veteran with thick glasses who probably knew more about being a man than anyone I've ever met since. It took time - first getting to know each other, talking about boring day-to-day stuff. Then hearing his stories - stories I think he told me more to pass the time together than anything else, at first. But after a while I imagine they might have been a therapy for him in a sense. And although he probably didn't realize it, I was learning a lot about life at a very young age, listening to another person's successes and mistakes being painstakingly recounted by that person themselves, as though they were watching their own life on replay and doing the director's commentary.

If you can't go to the older people in your immediate circle, there's plenty of other peoples' old people that have been discarded in a sense, and most times it has nothing to do with the old people - other than that they're just old. In a lot of ways, it could be an even better thing to befriend one outside the family, if you follow my thinking. And don't do it for selfish reasons - do it to really make a friend. Make it a mutual relationship - old people need people to talk to as well. That's really the best way you can learn from someone.

Last night I was feeling a little "off" after not having a chance to eat all day as I spent half of it stuck in the goddam DMV office up on 34th street. So I decided to wander around the neighborhood and see if anything grabbed me for dinner. I'm walking down a quiet 15th street when I pass an old dude standing behind his massive boat of one of those early-70's Lincoln Continentals - clearly his prize possession as he's spending his late Friday night buffing it with one of those fuzzy-stick brush things on the side of a Manhattan street. I said something about not seeing great cars like that around much anymore, and we proceeded to talk for the next 15 minutes about how he got the car, why he's always kept it, where its' been, how he's maintained it, and so on and so forth. He wasn't really looking for anyone to talk to but when I presented the opportunity, he took it with gusto, and I got lots of cool stories in exchange. I'm convinced that most old people have an untapped wealth of experiences to speak from, that most of us (myself included, despite last night's abnormality) aren't bothering to take the time to learn from.
posted by allkindsoftime at 7:05 AM on August 30, 2008 [36 favorites]

There are people who call themselves life coaches...

Be aware that nothing would stop anybody from calling themselves a life coach.
posted by Rykey at 8:55 AM on August 30, 2008

I used to date a hair stylist. every now and then she would complain how women just drowned her in their various problems. she attributed it to being the one who affected a large part of their personality and having gotten a rather peculiar sense of trust established purely based on that.

don't be like that. don't force your story onto someone who you don't really know wants to help you with it, be it a bartender, bus driver, coworker. that's the only real benefit ask.mefi has - the ones who answer your question mostly really do want to help.
posted by krautland at 9:30 AM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

For a long time I'd talk to my bartender Ben.

Now I just sit in front of my computer and drink while reading AskMe.
posted by wfrgms at 10:45 AM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Interesting that shrinks aren't only about fixing people's broken skulls. I need that too, so that's a viable option. Clergy... I'm not religious, but have met a lot of very level-headed clergy who probably would be able to give some helpful input.

Epic Fail to people recommending AskMefi to someone who's been posting here since 2006. FFS.
posted by TheManChild2000 at 9:48 PM on August 31, 2008

Epic Fail to people recommending AskMefi to someone who's been posting here since 2006. FFS.

Wow, seriously. Epic Fail? FFS?

You know, "thanks" is an often-overlooked but entirely appropriate (and less dramatic and snarky) response to people who take the time to answer questions seeking advice. It works whether you agree with the advice or not.
posted by headnsouth at 5:45 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

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