the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Master Advice-Giver

This might surprise you, but others come to me seeking advice on life issues, and I am known to be “brilliant” in helping people make decisions.  That is odd, isn’t it?  It makes me wonder about the personal lives of those who write advice columns.  Or even more so, therapists.

It is so much easier to fix the problems of others. The fixer is dispassionate, and approaches the issues with common sense, like a Mr. Spock.   He is not fighting with himself.

Probably my greatest skill as advice-giver is that I don’t belittle your indecisiveness. I might laugh at you, but it is one of recognition, like the klutz guffawing at the clumsy person tripping over his own shoelaces.  I am fully aware that you will listen to whatever I say with confidence, nod you head, then immediately do something different.  It is the absurdity of this fucked up cat and mouse game that makes me laugh.   It is so human.    You will eventually get it.   Or die trying.

If you ever need advice, come to me.  I’m a master advice-giver.  Which should tell you a lot about my own personal life.


  1. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    This made me smile. I think I recently received advice along the lines of, “You need to quit thinking about that.”

    And I do.

    But here is what you are really a master at Neil. You are a master at being there for your friends. You don’t pretend to have answers to all life’s problems or inspirational speeches to give, but you are THERE. Always. You don’t back away when life gets emotional or messy or someone is pissed off or facing a big crisis or just sitting around crying for no reason. That, my good friend, is truly a rare and special gift, especially among guys.

  2. Hodgepodge

    Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.

    Guess that holds true for advice-givers, too. For example, I am asked a ridiculous amount of the time for parenting & relationship advice.

    The jokes write themselves.

  3. Heather

    I think, perhaps, that you are so wound up around your own emotions right now that you cannot see the beauty that lies beneath. Because, YOU are a wonderful friend–and more than that….you genuinely care about people. Don’t belittle yourself.

  4. Juli

    What V wrote is true. Also I am bored with my own life issues. Considering a new career as a therapist.

  5. Stasha

    My grandma always said-have your hair done by a stylist who’s own is a mess. Apparently it shows he is so good at what he does, he has not time to tend to his own. Not that I am trying to say anything about your hair…
    Now my grandpa said talking about your problem halves it. So good on you for taking the time and then respecting the disregard of your valuable advice.

  6. SubWOW

    “I do not belittle your indecisiveness.” is a wonderful tagline for all advice givers.

  7. Rene Foran

    So true, Neil.
    I have noticed it is a lot easier to clean someone elses house than it is my own.

  8. Faiqa

    I *try* not to give a lot of advice. Because, as you mentioned, we’re all human. And humans? We’re a subjective bunch. I’m wary of not having all the facts and then committing to an opinion on a subject when I only have certain parts of the story, you know? In other words, I may not be a master advice giver, but I’m an expert in covering my ass. We all have our talents.

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