Confessions of a Buttinsky

In my younger days I could really “tell people off”. Of course, inherent in that was the concept that I knew exactly what they should do and how they should do it.

And I still (unfortunately) get reminded of the times when I was convinced that the only way someone I loved would follow the right path was that I should tell them in no uncertain terms, that what they were doing and how they were doing it was wrong.

Nowadays, I’m usually more subtle. I try to be conscious and mindful of the need to take care of my own life; and if I am tempted to give advice, not be so blatant. A little suggestion here.  The nudge there.

I can’t pretend that I am always gentle about it. Sometimes I get wrapped up in my own importance and my certainty that I am good at thinking out alternatives, at solving problems to infinity. The knotted ball of string that makes up life is a constant challenge to me that needs unraveling; preferably by someone like me who gets the total picture.

When I stop and consider before I speak, however, I can think of very few times when it has been of great benefit to tell someone how to live their life. And I’m not talking about cozy talks with friends and family when we share our experiences, putting our problems in the mix and hoping that the perfect solution will rise to the surface. What bears watching is my attempted hijacking of another person’s right to make personal decisions

I do believe that it takes a village. Teamwork, wisdom bank, circle of support; call it what you will, we all need help and guidance from time to time.

But I hope that the days are fewer when I blurt out my immediate reaction to behaviors. Nowadays I’m trying to demonstrate what I believe to be true; that we all do our best in the moment and that my censure and disapproval will only exacerbate the difficulties of those I love.

And I’m much more aware that I have very few answers, even for myself. In spite of that, my opinion seems always to be available. What’s that old quip? “Tell it to someone who cares…”



  1. You always have such wise words of advice. I think – with age and experience – we learn to be more cautious and careful with our opinions and words.


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