I just have to vent. Does anyone else besides me have an "overly helpful" person in their lives? This is the kind of person I'm thinking of...
* Chimes in with a "more informed" opinion whenever you say something or try to express an opinion.
* Usually has some kind of unsolicited "helpful advice" for you.
* Likes to play "devil's advocate" or present a contrary opinion to any given subject.
* Is rarely just supportive, but instead seems to feel the need to "one up" everybody else and be the voice of reason.
* Doesn't seem to understand how condescending and annoying they come across.
There's a woman in my online life who is like that. I try not to engage her, but she always seems to engage me. And it doesn't matter how innocuous the topic is, this person always has something more "helpful" to add.
For instance, last fall, I decided to buy a new iMac, switching from a PC. I had been considering buying the machine for awhile and was excited about it. I'm hard on my computers and I generally need to replace them every few years, but this time I just wanted a Mac. I posted about this to a messageboard which mostly consists of friends. Most of them were happy for me and didn't try to insinuate that I was somehow making a bad decision. Not Ms. Overly Helpful, though. She had to ask me twenty questions about what I had done to my old computer to necessitate buying a new one. She suggested things like defragging, cleaning the fans, buying an external hard drive... all stuff I had already done.
On my way home from Germany, my husband and I decided to buy me a new car through military sales. We needed another car and military sales offered us a generous discount. We also got better financing by buying new. Ms. Overly Helpful asked me if I had considered buying a used car because they're "so much cheaper". No shit!!
Another time, I got nervous about a creepy guy hanging out at the end of my driveway one day and thought there was something off about him because he was asking me strange questions about my dogs and had a dog crate in the back of his truck. When I was a child, one of my dogs was stolen, so I have a tendency to be very careful with my dogs and don't let them run. This guy asked me why I didn't my beagles run. When I expressed concern about this to my online friends, most of them were supportive. Ms. Overly Helpful decides to be the "voice of reason" and chimes in with alternative explanations for the situation... as if I had never considered them myself.
And just today, she offered her input when I commented on some cool food preservation tricks I found on the Web. One of the suggestions was to rub cheese with butter to help preserve it. I had never heard of that tip before, thought it was cool, and said so. Ms. Overly Helpful decides to correct me by saying it's far better to wrap cheese in wax paper and seal it in a baggie. Again... no shit. Obvious.
I know I may be oversensitive and maybe this is more a reflection on me than her. I also know I'm not the only one she annoys. But I have to say I often find her highly irritating and insulting and if I had to spend time with her in person, I'd probably lose my temper and tell her to fuck off. The funny thing is, Ms. Overly Helpful has herself complained about people whom she thinks insult her intelligence. I'd like to hand her a virtual mirror coupled with a virtual bitch slap!
Hey! So everything you said describes one of my close friends exactly! It definitely has more to do with them and their internal landscape than it has to do with yours; however you seem like a very kind and patient person... and quite introspective as well. More patience is always the answer or some distance. I tend to distance myself from this close friend because he doesn’t think he’s being overly helpful with unsolicited advice (he has his own issues) and I would suggest not trying to change people and just ignore her. People like that are good to have sometimes because they offer alternative perspectives and actually are helpful sometimes, but personally I don’t like being told what to do too much because it annoys me and like.. dude... if I need your help I’ll ask haha. Some people don’t get that... but anyway sorry ranting here but I’m happy you got this off your chest and trust me, you’re not alone. These people are frustrating and no matter how many times I tell my friend to stop giving me advice unless I ask, he still does. Shrugs* we don’t like everything about everyone but everyone has their pros.
She's a member of a tight-knit online messageboard I belong to. Like I said, I try hard not to engage her. I used to really enjoy discussing current events on our board, but the last time I did, the thread got contentious, mainly because she presumed to tell me how and why I feel the way I do about certain issues. I have never met this person, but she thinks she knows how my mind works and how I form opinions.
I actually stayed away from the board for a few weeks following that incident and it was a nice reprieve. But I missed some of the other ladies (and a couple of them missed me), so I came back. I've tried confronting her and pointing out that I find some of her responses insulting. She responds by telling me that I've insulted her by telling her how I feel about her posts.
I am getting to the point at which I am about to leave that board and just stick to Facebook. Who needs the aggravation?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2011 04:56PM by knotheadusc.
I know a few folks like this. Real "busybodies" who try to tell everyone else how to live, what to do, constantly making suggestions etc. They desperately want to be seen as "all knowing, all wise." Terribly annoying because they aren't really all that wise but really think they are. Often they are very desperate for a captive audience and all that. Can't tell if it's a form of mental illness (histrionic, narcissistic) or ADD or what. Seems a lot like control freak.
I have a real aversion to controlling, overbearing people, especially when they're women. In fact, this thread brought back the incident that made me finally block this woman from my Facebook page (as the messageboard had fallen apart by 2012). I told my husband-- You just wait. She'll send me an email demanding to know why I blocked her. Sure enough, she did.
I wrote a very vivid blog post about it. :D Twice.
I think the fact that you see yourself in my description is a big clue that even if you do happen to have some of those traits, they aren't to the point of being really obnoxious. The lady I'm referring to doesn't seem to have any self-awareness, tends to be passive-aggressive, and gets very pissy if you call her out on her behavior.
I know I've annoyed people by being overly helpful but I think that's more a function of my social ineptness (Asperger's for the win!) than low self esteem -- although I've had problems with that too. Mostly, I just want to make everything all better for everyone. lol
You just described one of my sister in laws. Dealing with her is a lot easier now that she has a smart phone. I just mention some really esoteric fact, and she spends the next 20 minutes researching it online. That's 20 minutes nobody else has to listen to her.
I know of two in my family. My dad, on any project I did, would always criticize it and tell me how it should be done, even when he didn't know what I was doing. A sister is very similar. She is always more than willing to offer advice of how I should do things and is always more than willing to help yet she won't do anything by or for herself. It has to be with someone. Very codepentant. To that point, she also wants to control the conversation and is very bossy.
I think I am driving them nuts by no socializing with them even to the point of either ignoring them or doing the opposite, just to piss them off.
I do so hope I am coming across as an asshole to them.
I thought Reggie was resurrected, for a moment! And some posters from the past had returned for a reunion.
I was disappointed to see that this thread was from 2011. What?
Interesting to see a conversation carried on between people from the Year 2011, and people from the year 2020, as though 9 years had never passed. Rebeccah 2020 even joined in with Rebeccah 2011, and there were two Cl2's and it's like a time-warp!
Kathleen, the OP could have been describing me, too. I am overly helpful with the ones I love. I just want to make things better. I'm not arrogant; it's just that I have made many, many mistakes, and I have to say something if I see someone else making one of those same mistakes. I'm not Narcissistic or insensitive, either, because I know I'm being a butt-in-ski when I'm doing it. It could be an obsession, because I try very hard to stop, but keep slipping back into the old habit.
Kathleen, you are one of my favorite posters, and now I know why!
Maybe this is one of the many reasons we didn't like the Mormon church.
(Yeah--I'm the boss of my own business, and I'm also divorced--Yikes!)
I think it's different when it's a loved one. If you genuinely love someone and they know it, it's not quite so irritating. Meddling in another adult's business is still annoying, but at least if you're a loved one or a real friend, they know it comes from a genuine place.
The person I wrote about was someone I've never even met offline, and she knew nothing about me other than what she'd read in my posts. She tormented me for another three years before I finally blocked her. I really should have done it years ago.