I ran across a phrase the other day in a Huffpost article.
ASKHOLE: A person who constantly asks for your advice
but always does the opposite of what you suggest.
I’ve been thinking about that lately because, well, I’m a coach. Lots of people talk to me about issues and options, perspectives and decisions. I’m more than happy to listen and to hopefully ask the kind of questions that might help them decide for themselves. Though I try to stay away from advice giving, sometimes it happens.
So I get this whole “askhole” thing. I’m thinking “askhole” is too strong a term, however, because most people who do this aren’t really seeking advice. They’re looking for agreement with their desires, instead. They want you to encourage them to go the way they want to go, do the thing they want to do, choose the option they want to choose, solidify the belief they want to believe. In some deep, often hidden place they may know it’s not the right choice for them … which is exactly why they keep seeking opinions. They’re looking for the one that matches. They get corroboration that way.
Conversely, somewhere (probably in that deep, hidden place) they may think their desire IS the right thing, but because they don’t really trust their instincts, they keep on looking for that corroboration. When they get it, it proves to be too hard and too scary to break out of a rut and leave behind what’s been the norm for so long.
We look for and are drawn to those opinions, articles, and people who think as we think and who espouse the same beliefs we hold. We all do this; it’s human nature. We’re more likely to notice and follow what falls in line with our thinking rather than to question and stay as open as possible to other perspectives. It takes real work to do that.
Which brings me to gratitude: I’m grateful for the askholes I encounter who remind me, when I feel that prickle of frustration over their actions, that it’s good to entertain alternatives.