Full Meddle Jacket

One of my favorite quotes:

“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

Words to definitely live by.  Leave the dragons alone, for crying out loud.  They do fine without anyone getting all up in their bidness.  And they sure as hell don’t need advice from me.  What do I know about dragons?  Besides, look at the consequences of dealing with them.  Fricassee and flambé.  With condiments.

I can’t help wanting to meddle though.  I want to save the world and help my friends, heal their pain.  I have opinions on how to raise children and deal with the intricacies of husbands and relationships.  I see the problems my friends are going through and I want to get involved.  I want to shake them and tell them what they are doing wrong.  I want to be like Lucy in a Peanut’s comic strip and hang out my shingle for “Psychiatric Help 5¢.”  The Doctor Is In.

I have absolutely no qualifications to do so, however.  None, except 47 years of life experience.  My life?  That’s not accounting for much experience…

Nothing good comes from meddling in other people’s affairs.  Or dragons.  It takes all my might to bite my tongue and not give advice when I’m told of cheating spouses, misbehaved kids, outrageous spending or tiffs between lovers.  I could get all Dr. Phil on them and tell them what to do, but most of the time I have to sit back, shake my head, cluck my tongue and commiserate with them on how crappy life is.  Wait- I DO have as much qualification as Dr. Phil.  Never mind that analogy- it was  a bad one.

I won’t meddle because my family was meddled with.  And we were torn apart.

See, when your friends are telling you their problems, you’re only hearing one part of the story.  How many times do your friends sit down with you, spouse and spouse, mother and child, boyfriend and girlfriend, to tell you their woes?  Right, practically never.  You don’t go out drinking to complain about your husband while your husband is there!  That’s what marriage counselors and therapists do- single, then couple counseling.

So we only hear one side of the story when complained to.

And that side of the story sounds horrible!  “How could he/she/they do that to you?  Why would he/she/they say that to you?  Let me give you some good advice.  Take my advice- I know what I’m talking about- I’ve lived through stuff like this before.”

Um, no.  The next time you hear someone’s woes and feel the urge to tell them what they should do, stop and think about what that advice would do to the family.  To the couple.  To the parents.  If it’s absolutely unbearable what you feel your friend is going through, suggest counseling or therapy or outside professional help.  If you don’t have MD, PhD, PsyD, MA, EdD or MSW after your name, heed this piece of advice and keep your damn mouth shut.

Because the next person who meddles in my affairs might end up on the dinner table.  I have LOTS of ketchup.

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