Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Fixers

We think of them as overbearing parents, friends who don't know when to butt out, and strangers who give unsolicited advice. They are The Fixers, and they're just trying to be helpful. When is enough enough?

I know a very nice older gentleman who, despite my protests, continues to give me advice about my love life. He's not trying to be dirty or get information out of me. He's simply trying to help me make better decisions regarding the people I am close to, especially my boyfriend. I wish I could be mad at the gentleman for continuing to try to reason with me, but his advice is actually sound if I remember to consider the era in which he grew up. His life is not my life, but his advice is still pretty solid.

Of course, parents are a good example of Fixers. They always want what is best for us, and they're willing to tell us or help us out in realizing that. They're the ones we go to for advice. When I need to buy something, I often call my parents and get their opinion about good deals. Sometimes Dad tells me to wait a bit and that he'll keep an eye out where he shops. I know he's trying to be helpful. Or when I have bad days at work and lean on a friend's ear, but they come back with a "solution" to my "problem." I usually just want an ear, not a solution.

The worst Fixers, though, are older siblings. They're just old enough that they think they know everything, yet they're also just old enough that they don't quite get your predicament. How do I know? I'm an older sibling. And it is written into my DNA that I must fix all of my sister's problems. She's my sister, how could I not want what is best for her? At the exact same moment, I force myself to realize that she needs to learn things on her own. I can't tell her who to date or what job to have or what to study in college. She isn't me. I can't be her fixer. I can, however, be there for her when she needs an ear and a hug, and I can support her in making those difficult decisions whether I agree with them or not.

No matter how much we know we're right, allowing someone to make their own mistakes and decisions in life is important. We need to love and support decisions (even the bad ones) of our friends and family. It's hard to do. The friend or relative that makes the mistake will eventually realize it whether you tell them you were right or not. The hardest part about being a Fixer is remembering not to say "I told you so."


Frances said...

Oh you are so right on with this observation!

MissKris said...

I really liked this post and linked to it on my post this morning. I think too many 'fixers', even tho they mean well, do more damage than good at times. A very well written and thought-out post, Ms. Normal!

darlingclementine said...

I am that older sibling as well. It's nice to know someone else feels the same way.