Times When Your Friends Don’t Listen to You, Even When you Know Better

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One of my favorite things about giving advice of any kind is when the response is “Yeah, but….”.  I know what you are thinking:  you are different; your circumstances are different;  sure, it’s like that for OTHER people but not for you.  I get it- sometimes advice is inconvenient.  But often times you discover after a couple years of pain that the advice you were given was right and you wish you’d listened.  As someone who has gone through equal amounts of ignoring others advice, this is the best analogy I have:  having kids.

When your friends start having kids after you already have your own little prodigies, why is it that they never listen to you.  You try to tell your friends to enjoy each other before “The Big Day”, to go out for dinner as often as they can, to have their friends over (including or excluding you!), to travel and mostly, to enjoy their sleep, because things are going to change dramatically when baby makes three.

They smile and listen politely but they don’t believe you because, for them, parenthood will be different.  They will experience childhood in a totally different way than anyone else.  They will go for dinner, travel, not talk constantly about their child’s bowel movements, and under no circumstances will they become “those parents.”

Yeah, okay.  Let me know how that goes for you.

After two years, you see them again, for probably the second time.  Of course, you saw them five days after the baby was born and you brought them a baby gift: a toy that sings annoying songs and can’t be turned off without taking the battery out which is hard to do because the batteries are hidden inside the toy and you need a Philips screwdriver to get to them.  They did, after all, get you a similar toy.

For years, you have invited them to your parties, out to dinner, to movies, and once you even had a trip planned to the mountains.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it.  It was almost inexplicable, and certainly surprising.  They were, after all, going to experience childhood in an entirely different way than everybody else.

And then, after two years, they invite you to dinner.  Amazing!  You hug, they serve you wine but you notice the matriarch isn’t drinking.  You have small talk.  You have dinner.  You know where this is going.

“Great news, we are so excited, we are having baby number two.”

You smile.  Having two kids of your own, you strongly consider not saying anything.  It didn’t work last time, but, you are friends, and they have now learned through experience that you are wise and learned.  You say “Double the kids are four times the work, give or take.”

Of course, they smile, but they don’t believe you.  Because it will be DIFFERENT for them for baby number two.

Experience and age comes with a lot of things:  in my case, a bit of a belly, grey hair in my beard and an inability to understand why anyone would use Slack.  But it also comes with the pain of changing jobs, raising capital, getting fired and having some wonderful successes along the way.  So next time a guy with a belly and grey hair says “I remember when I did this and this is what I learned…” and your inclination is to say “Yeah, but…” think twice!

Hope it helps.

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