Good relationship advice is like a needle in a haystack.
Just as good help is so hard to find, good relationship advice is just as evasive. This is unfortunate for those of us who need it. In other words, this is unfortunate for pretty much everyone who's not a hermit, not a loner and not asexual. Every now and then, we can all get by with a little help from our friends and our therapists.
While we may all benefit from good relationship advice, there is no guarantee that we'll find it, even when we seek it out. The reasons for good relationship advice being so hard to find can vary. Sometimes we don't ask the right people or we simply don't ask at all. Other times relationship advice is all smooched together, the good and the bad intermingle like every piece of clothing at a TJ Maxx. But when it truly comes down to it, good relationship advice is hard to find because of the following 5 reasons:
- Relationships Aren't Objective: Relationships are often like art; what one person finds awe-inspiring, the other finds yawn-inducing. It's this lack of objectivity that greatly influences the type of advice people dole out. They advise based on what they think, they want and they need, not necessarily what you do.
- The Source Isn't Reliable: Most people tend to think they are better at things than they actually are. Any montage of American Idol tryouts tells us that. In fact, Americans — particularly white males — also tend to think they're smarter than average, even when they aren't. Twenty-four percent of men say they are much more intelligent than the average American and 15 percent of women think the same about their own intellect. While some of these people are legitimately more intelligent, others only assume they are. Sometimes, the way we see ourselves dictates the advice we give and how qualified we deem ourselves to give it.
- The 50/50 Rule: Another reason good relationship advice can be rare is because of the 50/50 rule: the one in two chance that the person giving you advice has had a failed marriage. With divorce running rampant in the US, splitting up is just as common as staying together. This ups the odds that the person telling you how to make a relationship work has never done it themselves.
- The Gender Gap: Women are probably more likely to give out relationship advice than men, based on the fact that women confide their insecurities and fears to one another and men merely punch each other in the shoulders. Yet this can be dangerous because of the gender gap; a woman giving advice to a man can sometimes be wonderful, and sometimes be sticky. Women and men are wired to think differently, and all advice given by a female will be from the woman's side of things. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't; it really just depends on the issue at hand.
- The Survival Of The Ego: The final reason finding good relationship advice can feel like finding the lost city of Atlantis has to do with our egos, the innate desire we all have to be right. Sometimes this desire is based on stubbornness, but often it's based on our survival instincts — admitting we're wrong goes against our natural inclinations. When giving out advice, we can't help but let our past experiences influence what we say. Our past experiences are like the passengers in the advice car. They're the passengers, but our ego is the driver.
To learn more about finding good relationship advice, click here.