Agony Uncle (1)

Apologies for the lack of blogs. I’ve spent the past week finishing off the latest draft at my thesis, which has now been e-mailed to my supervisor. I therefore have a few days to write all the half-posts I’ve been forming in my head and in my notebook, and hopefully they shall appear soon. Before that, though, something else from the archives:

Last year I wrote some Agony Uncle columns for Redbrick’s Lifestyle section. I enjoyed writing them at the time, because they were far different from any other writing I’d done up til then. I’m fairly proud of them too, in an odd way, because they were a mixture of political satire, cricket and life advice. I never uploaded them to The Golden Strawberry, so thought I’d post them here for the sake of completeness. There’s four in all, and here’s the first one. Enjoy!

‘Two of my best friends, who have been dating, have recently split up, and I’m stuck in the middle. I don’t want to take sides, but they are both asking me for advice and information on the other person. Should I try to juggle them both, or bow out all together?’

First of all, you shouldn’t try and take sides. I speak as someone who instinctively tries to place himself in the (relatively) sane, wet middle ground between two equally insane extremes. You have no obligation to “side” with one party or another. Relationships break up. England lose cricket matches. These things happen. As long as one side hasn’t behaved like a complete twonk, you can keep a friendship with both and should not be forced into disowning either party by the other.

If they are trying to use you to lever information on the other person, to find out if they are seeing someone new, for instance, then use one simple rule: If it’s on Facebook, you can talk about it.

Strange though it seems, Facebook is now the public domain, and while everyone has a right to a private life, if it’s on Facebook it’s public knowledge. So if X’s relationship status changes, by all means tell Y if Y asks. Otherwise keep schtum, because X doesn’t want people to know.

Similarly, if X has a catastrophic Facebook status along the lines of, “X is sick of men and is never ever ever ever going to talk to one again because they’re all BASTARDS” then it’s fair to say that you can divulge that information.

Otherwise there is no reason you should give out information that you have received confidentially, and your friends should be ashamed for trying to illicit this sort of information from you.

If you are asked for advice or support from your friends then you should give some as required. Don’t “bow out” as that could mean you desert your friend when they need you most. But don’t stick your nose in where it’s not wanted. Juggle, and eventually everything will blow over and the world will be right again.

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One Response to Agony Uncle (1)

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