DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My baby sister is kind of the family screwup. She’s a lot younger than me and our two other sisters, so by the time she came along, she was like an only child, and our parents were on the older side. The rest of us always said she got away with everything and is super-spoiled. My mom says she is just very different from the rest of us.
My other sisters and I have talked about it, and we think our youngest sister is just sucking up when she asks us for advice, because we have never seen her take any of it. To be truthful, she most usually does the exact opposite of what we tell her, and she ends up regretting it just about every single time!
At this point, I’m kind of done with attempting to help her with my advice. But I keep thinking that if I don’t make an effort at least, she’ll think I don’t love or like her, and that is not true. I just don’t want to be ignored anymore.
Would it be better for me to just say I’m not going to give her any more advice, or should I keep butting my head against a very hard wall? --- SHE NEVER LISTENS
DEAR SHE NEVER LISTENS: You’ve most likely heard the old saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. It seems to me that this notion applies perfectly to your younger sister’s advice-seeking.
If her requests for guidance are in fact not merely attempts to get on your good side, it could imply she isn’t always particularly confident in her decision-making abilities. In that case, I think there’s more to be gained by your continuing to at least try helping her out than there is in cutting her off from the potential benefit of your experience and knowledge.
Of course, I see no reason you can’t preface your advice-giving with a reminder that you know she’s not likely to follow it, but that since you care about her, you’ll share your two cents with her anyway.