I am very bad at taking life advice. Very, very bad. It's not because I'm rebellious or stubborn (though my mother may disagree on both counts). I just often do not have the capacity to retain personal guidance that does not apply to my life when I'm not looking for it.
Oh, you think I should be married and have a child by now? And this is how I should meet my price charming? Well, thank you. I appreciate that... but not really.
I don't have a wedding venue in mind, or room for a crib in my NYC studio apartment -- never mind my solo-relationship status (and that I am not with child). So, in the interim, I kindly decline the unsolicited planning of my pre-nup to my invisible love interest. I'm sure after five years of made-up matrimony, the car and the house will suit me just fine. Yay! Eye rolls ensue.
Beyond my sarcasm, I say with truth: I'm not bitter. My best friend is getting married in March, and I am very happy for her. I'm also drowning (pleasantly, of course) in a Facebook newsfeed and Instagram reel of rocks on perfectly manicured left-hand ring fingers.
Side note: I take other forms of advice -- professional, wardrobe-enhancing, and editorial tips and modifications -- just fine. I'm a writer, after all, and can appreciate erasers on pencils and the backspace on my keyboard (as I realize, now, it's actually a delete key on my Mac).
Nevertheless, I'm not perfect, and neither are tokens of advice, however good-intentioned they may be.
Speaking of work-related matters: My day job (and night job) often involves interviewing celebrities. A regular question I pose is quite personal and begs for direction: What is the best love advice you've ever received?
Artist Ed Sheeran, fashion designers Christian Siriano and Zac Posen, in addition to various actors and reality stars, have all been subjected to my need to know -- what ideal relationship standards are you living by, and who has given you these precious words of wisdom?
I'm not sure where this query began, but it's turned up some interesting anecdotes, mostly sweet reminders to be kind to your significant other. Nine times out of 10, the person who originally administered this advice was the individual's mom.
During an end-of-summer soiree, 30 Rock actress Katrina Bowden (who wed earlier this year) told me the gab that was granted to her: "My mom always told me, 'Whatever happens will happen,' or 'Whatever is supposed to happen will happen.'"
Instead of suggesting love should find you* at age 25, or 35, or "when you least expect it," it just is. Whatever will be, will be. I can accept that. (*And by you, I mean me, and you, respectively -- and my/your future/current/non-existent significant other... and world population as a whole.)
Despite however little real estate is left on my refrigerator for save-the-date/engagement photo cards, I now have a greater capacity and patience upon hearing love advice -- from famous faces to my own family members and friends -- without taking personal offense.
The takeaway -- and very important disclaimer -- is this: One sentimental saying does not fit all. All in all, if you aren't looking for advice (love or otherwise), simply don't ask for it. While most kindly crafted (but commonly offensive) counsel directed my way is unsolicited... when I'm working, I'm requesting a response.
Do tell: what is the best love advice you've ever received?
Follow Hilary Sheinbaum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hilary_she