From time to time you, like most people, someone offers you some words of friendly advice. It often comes on the heels of a phrase like, “I thought you ought to know. . .” or “I just felt the need to tell you that . . .” Some of this advice is sincere, and some of it isn’t. Some friendly advice is intended to help, support, and make you aware, while others is motivated by the giver’s desire to hurt, demean, belittle, embarrass, or get even. Thus, some the friendly advice you receive is good and should be thoughtfully considered, and some is useless and not worth your time. To keep them in perspective, knowing the difference is essential.

Determining what advice is worth your time and what isn’t can be difficult. There are no hard and fast rules for screening friendly advice. There is a simple and personal rule of thumb that does provide a valuable starting point when considering the potential merit of friendly advice. “Always seek to know who you are, and be true to yourself in all that you say, do, and think.”

Dr. Mike McGough is a York College professor who lives in Abbottstown.

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