Dear Suri: I am a heterosexual male who likes plants and gardening. I specify my sexual orientation only because most people I meet ask if I’m gay, right after they learn I like to garden. I think that’s rude and ignorant, but that is not the reason for my question today.
Lately, my female neighbors (and their friends!) have been giving me unsolicited advice about how to care for and present my plants. You must realize here, that the plants are in perfect health and look wonderful. I spend a great deal of time ensuring this is the case. So their “advice” is nothing more than pandering!I am tired of it, Suri. I wish these women would get out of my business and leave me be. I’m not saying I want to be a hermit, but just because I am male, does not mean I need “help” when it comes to gardening, cooking, or anything else!! — Walter McG., OK City, OK
Dear Walter: I’ve a feeling at least some of these women may be using the guise of gardening advice as a means by which to strike up a conversation with you. Some people — both women and men — struggle at initiating interpersonal communication, and offer advice as a tool to “break the ice.”
While gardening, the next time you are confronted by a female you would like to interact with (as a friend or potential mate), you may wish to politely thank her for her advice, then either change the subject, or steer the conversation away from your own gardening skills, toward general discussion on the hobby as a whole.
On the other hand, should your desire be to truly work independently, you might — politely and respectfully — make this sentiment known. The women will then likely understand that you are not interested in a friendship or relationship, and also do not appreciate their unsolicited advice.
Whichever method you choose to employ, I would stress the importance of civility. Take care not to hurt the feelings of others, and make a conscious effort to confront this situation in an always gracious and courteous manner. ~ Suri
by Suri Syrtauwnya | Advice | Residential Life Magazine