Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Advice seeking?

"I can't understand him", Husband often grumbled when a colleague had asked him for advice. "He asks - I tell him - and never - never! - he does accordingly.
I am adviser - so I do understand. Both. No need to follow an advice - for many it is just a way to become surer of their own opinion. Carl Rogers, who didn't give advice, quoted a student, who said (in words to that effect): "I am angry that you don't decide for me. I want an advice. When I follow it, and it doesn't work out, I know whom I can be angry with." And - as any adviser will tell you:  if it works out - it is his own doing...  
In my profession Rogers' was worn thin. I think we have also a duty to deliver information: where you can find it, speak it through, help weighing the pros and cons. Deciding is your job alone. 
But some advices don't become better only because people repeat them. A hundredfold. 
There are books and books and books on "De-Cluttering". 
"Throw out any garment you haven't worn in the last five months!", worse: "Anything that is older then 3 years: give it away!" - worst: "When you buy something new, threw out three other pieces!
Above you see a photograph of husband and I on our 10th wedding anniversary. Now: if I had followed that silly adice - and mind: I am only speaking of the second! - and had discarded him after three years -what a pity ...  


  1. What a pity, indeed! Congratulations on another anniversary. I well remember those shoulders and that hair style! You were, and still are, I'm sure, a handsome couple!

  2. Dear Pondside,
    thank you. I felt VERY strong in that coat! And loved my Afro-look :-)

  3. Britta, oh, I love these images so much! I can't even tell you.

    When I was in school, I never had a proper adviser. How differently things might have turned out for me had I been able to sit in your office. I don't take advice 'in bulk' but I have always held a profound respect for worthy counsel and this is how I have grown to feel about you.

    Sending all happiness I can gather in my heart and throwing it across the sea to you and your love.

    I've thrown out far too much. I don't know how to stop. It's the relentless search for the ideal that has, for decades, unseated the real. *Sigh.*

  4. Dear Suze,
    Thank you for all those happiness, and cuddling you in return!
    I'm glad you like the photos. Advising on vocation and studies is an interesting job, because you meet so many, many young people - and their dreams (I second them, if possible - and I believe that very much is possible). My colleagues often asked: "We hear so much giggling from your office - what do you two laugh at?" - as if advice-giving must be a triste affair. I worked successively in 7 cities (good for getting a bit of insight into the educational system of the different Länder)- was a (vocational) university co-ordinator and also trained my colleagues all over Germany. Later I wrote the monthly column (like an "Agony-Aunt" - dream job!) for our journal, distributed throughout Germany from class 11 to 13.
    Yes - I would have liked to see you walking in my office, Suze!

  5. Fabulous old photos!
    I usually ask for advice and then do what I want. As you say the advice seems to make me surer of my own decision.
    I find it hard to throw things out. I'm far too sentimental! x

  6. Dear Penny,
    thanks! I seldom ask for advice (come to think of it: that is strange :-) , and I keep a lot of things when they are good - and try to think before I buy (very difficult with shoes...)

  7. Happy Anniversary to you and Husband, Britta! You make a very handsome couple with a special chemistry between you. It probably has something to do with not giving each other unsolicited advice. You know, I've never subscribed to that notion of throwing things out after a certain number of years. I just have to thin them out whenever we move, as I'm sure you are quite familiar with. SAM and I will be celebrating our 33rd anniversary very soon. I hope we can at least double that number!

  8. Dear Walk2write,
    thank you! Yes, moving is a very good scale to weigh what is important to keep and what not. We will read about your anniversary in your blog, I hope - so I will write then; but my good wishes for the future I can already send now!

  9. If not used in three years, toss it? I have read that advice, never followed it. I still have a blouse I wore on my honeymoon....33 years ago. I love it, Battenberg lace - delicate blouse, probably doesn't fit, I don't care. Some things are to be kept, like husbands. :-)

    1. Dear Janet,
      I do it neither. A dashing white Alpaka-coat - I can use it in Berlin very well - you see it on photos when we lived in Hildesheim :-) Battenberg lace - googled it: really beautiful!