Dear Askhole: Stop Asking For Advice When You're Not Going To Take It

by Saskia Whitelock
“If you don't want a friend in life, then you should adopt a dog.”

I remember reading this quote somewhere and cracking up with laughter. But, now that my laughter has died down, I’ve actually come to realize that there’s a bit of truth in it.

What’s the point in having friends if we can’t have them there to support us, give us advice and make life interesting and fun — and vice versa? The beauty of friendship is in the reciprocated act of love, connection and mutual understanding, which brings me to the idea of an askhole…

An askhole is basically a person who asks for your opinion or advice, yet never uses your advice and does the opposite of what you said to do. Askholes sometimes ask questions for the sake of asking questions or making conversation.

They zone out when you supply an answer, and they always end up doing their own thing. They sometimes will even ask the advice of multiple different people so they will eventually come across an answer that best suits what they want to hear.

To a certain extent, I can understand the need to verbally process, as I am a verbal processor myself, but I do think that there is a time and place for genuinely asking advice, and then, for just asking a friend to listen.

It comes down to the seriousness of the topic in question and the seriousness of the answer for which the askhole is looking.

Sure, if Josephine asks Wanda for advice on what to feed her lactose intolerant cat, Wanda shouldn’t feel upset or disappointed if Josephine ends up buying milk for her cat, which subsequently suffers the diarrhea consequences. Josephine should've known better anyway.

But, if Josephine asks Wanda for advice on how to break up with her boyfriend, Steve, and then doesn’t end up breaking up with him at all, Wanda may feel like she put thought and effort into an answer that wasn’t really required, appreciated or acknowledged.

Basically, as a person being asked, you must pick your battles. Yes, I know, Josephine could’ve easily discovered what to feed her lactose intolerant cat by typing it in Google, but is that really worth getting annoyed about when she feeds her cat milk anyway?

However, on the other hand, did Josephine really want to know what Wanda had to say in the potential break up situation, or did she just want to talk about her problems without actually doing anything to fix them?

I’m not necessarily suggesting Josephine has to do exactly what Wanda says, but you shouldn’t ask for advice on an issue unless you're willing to hear what the person has to say, and then, take it into consideration.

Askholes can make their friends feel used and abused. These friends are contacted often when the going gets tough, but never during the good times.

If you don't respect the person from whom you're asking advice, don't ask in the first place.

By choosing to only ask wise people in our lives who have our best interests at heart and are willing to give us answers and advice that we may or may not want to hear, we may limit the quantity of answers we receive. But, as a result, we gain a better quality and richness.

Additionally, askhole victims (or just people who are askholed) need to identify boundaries. My mom always told us “it takes two,” when it comes to conflict, so not all the blame can be placed on an askhole.

If you know that a person only comes to you when he or she needs advice or help, then set boundaries or lose expectations.

The majority of the time, people may become upset or offended because they expect their friends to take on everything they say and follow their advice, word-for-word, which of course, never happens.

From personal experience, I’ve found it easier to say my opinion and then move on from the situation. I can’t say I didn’t try help, and now, the ball is in my friend's court as to whether he or she takes what I’ve said to heart or not.

By not allowing myself to set high expectations or get too involved (physically or emotionally) in other people's issues, I feel freed from potential disappointment or offenses that could occur.

Are you an askhole? Do you spend most of your time asking other people questions? Or, do you try to figure out some of the easy answers yourself (or on Google)?

Do you ask certain people for advice that will give you the answer you want to hear, rather than what you need to hear? Think about how your friend may feel when you ask him or her for advice but then, don't listen to anything he or she said.

To the victims:

Friendship is a two-way street and a mutual exchange of love. When you stand your ground and set clear boundaries, there is less conflict and hurt when your friends come to you for advice and opinions.

With friendship comes a degree of responsibility and mutual effort. There's nothing worse than feeling used or treated unfairly.

To the askholes:

Carefully choose people in your life whom you trust and will give you unbiased and wisdom-filled answers. Listen. Absorb. Reflect.

You obviously want some type of guidance if you’ve asked the question in the first place, so listen to what your friend has to say and respect his or her opinion.

You don't have to do what he or she says, but keep in mind that your friend isn't as emotionally involved as you are, so he or she can sometimes see a situation clearer from the outside than you can from the inside.

Let’s start treating our friends how we want to be treated and start communicating better with the people in our lives. So much confusion and offense can transpire through misunderstandings, so if we learn to be less vague and more straight up, maybe our friendships could benefit, too.