As readers of my previous posts will be aware I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of advice of late – not all of it welcome. There have however been times in my life when I’d have welcomed some intervention although admittedly, when I think about the multitude of mistakes I have made over the years I realise that in most cases I simply ignored the advice I was given. Doesn’t everyone? Looking at the pieces of advice that I really have taken to heart over the years most were proffered by my parents. Annoyingly they were right and I’m sure I’ll be dishing out the same pearls of wisdom to my future offspring in the years to come. I’m just as sure they’ll ignore me as well until they find out for themselves. I now find myself in the peculiar position of offering advice to younger friends and, in particular, to the people I manage at work. Gratifyingly the latter tend to take my word for it and have benefited accordingly, my friends less so. Am I surprised? No. There are some lessons we all have to learn the hard way.

Advice I wish I’d taken earlier or been offered

  • Blonde really isn’t your colour.
  • There is no such thing as a semi permanent 7 year tattoo.
  • If you have doubts about getting married it isn’t “just cold feet” it’s your subconscious telling you that something is very, very wrong.
  • Don’t start smoking. It isn’t cool and rebellious, it’s very expensive and it will kill you.
  • Being intelligent is something to be proud of not something to hide – anybody it intimidates isn’t worth your tears. Just because everyone else is dumbing down it doesn’t mean you have to.
  • Really, you look fine – not like a supermodel but just nice and normal. Stop obsessing and use your energy to do something more constructive.
  • Not everyone you meet will like you – it really doesn’t matter that much so don’t rate yourself based on the opinion of others.
  • Cocaine doesn’t turn you into a Dorothy Parker like wit – it turns you into a complete t*at.
  • If a man is passionate and moody it isn’t romantic, it’s symptomatic of a self centered, controlling personality. It won’t get better when you get married, it will get worse.
  • Self respect is more important than self esteem.
  • Cutting your own fringe with a pair of kitchen scissors is a big mistake.
  • Letting your friend cut it after she’s consumed five pints of cider is an even bigger one.
  • Never buy womens magazines – the images in them make you feel like crap and they are filled with fluff. Read a newspaper or a good book instead.
  • If you find a man that loves gardening never let him go – it means he’s patient, nurturing and good with his hands.
  • You will never get back the two hours of your life you spend watching “Spiderman 3”

Advice I’m glad I did take

  • Do as you would be done by.
  • The easy option is rarely the right one.
  • Never pursue money for its own sake.
  • Buy a house to live in not as an easy way to make a quick buck.
  • Decide what you value more – work and its rewards or your family and relationships. One day you will have to choose. If you try and do it all you’ll make a mess of both.
  • If something seems too good to be true it usually is.
  • Read the question.
  • You have two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion and you won’t go far wrong.

Penny, Berkshire, UK