People are always telling me what to do. Do not do this, do not do that or it would be better if you did this or why not like that? It is getting tiring and I get it from all sides: wife, parents, sister, boss, government, police and in-laws. It seems as if I may be incapable of making decisions on my own without first being told what to do. In fact, I am so habituated to being told what to do that I believe that I have become fearful of thinking for myself, because I am afraid I may fuck up. After a lifetime of being told how and what to do I have reached a point in my adult life where I have no idea what to do anymore. Instead of doing something I have resigned myself to a life filled with doing very little– in the hopes that I can avoid having people tell me what to do. I have become what my mother feared would happen to me- a passive participant in the days of my life.
My father is infamous for his need to control. It is impossible for a person to go to the bathroom without my father telling them how this should be done. My father’s intentions are good but his words have hurt more people than a burning building. Growing up under his tyranny has caused what is a fatal blockage in my own decision making process. All of my life, and still to this very day- I am a grown man who is a little more than a reaction to being told what to do. If you ask me what we should have for dinner, I will reply- “I don’t know. You decide.”
Most lessons in life seem to be hard to learn. We have to err, to mess up, to fail in order to slowly understand how to get it right for ourselves. This is what I call the process of education (far more important than anything we learn in school). When we are always being told what to do (because someone wants to control our behavior) the process of education is stunted- blocked. What you get instead is an individual afraid to think for him/herself, to mess up on her/his own- to find his/her own way. This is what I call conformity, and these sorts of individuals become loyal corporate executives, lawyers, doctors, politicians, employees- you and I.
As a result of a lifetime of being told what to do I have become a stubborn non-conformist. I have fulfilled no ones expectations of me and am afraid of the idea of doing so. I have worked in offices, restaurants, mortuaries, shoe stores, record stores, schools- trying to hide from the shackles of a career and going through jobs quicker than the time it takes most people to eat lunch. I do not pay parking tickets, I do not respond to creditors, I do not listen to the police, I do not pay my taxes (especially when the money is being used to fight a war) nor do I do anything else that I am told to do. Instead I do nothing. I eat, sleep, write, paint, go to work at a job that I am soon to quit (because they will not stop telling me what to do). Even though my wife, father, sister, mother and society all still try to tell me what to do- I have learned how to shake my head, smile, say “okay” and then proceed to do nothing at all.
46 thoughts on “Stop Telling Me What To DO!”
I can relate to that. But what I do? I just let them tell me what to do, then I do what I wanted to do. It’s fair enough for me.
Nice post “Sex Life Of a Man Without 1” , i never thought of that.
I must admit i was very guilty of the “telling what to do thing”, it does stem from worrying over speople and loving them.However in the last few years, i have tried to become very aware of these tendancies, and have also done a lot of self inquiry into this whole aspect, realizing the absurdity and arrogance of thinking I know what path is best for someone else,…now i see that even if someone i love does get hurt, go bankrupt, die of drug addiction, there often isnt much I can do about it, unless they want me to help them .So what i try and do now(try being the operative word) is just be there for them,and if they want my advise, i wait until asked.
Because at the end of the day, people will do what they will do, anyway.
And doing nothing, is still doing something…….great blog, I will have to have a good look through it.
I suppose it is all a lesson in letting go. Thank you for the insightful comments.
Now listen, there’s a solution to this problem, what you should is…
Yep, I’m one of those busybodyinterferers but oh I hate it when someone tells me jackshit….. Have a hug, I won’t say a word.
….what is a busybodyinterferer? Sounds like something out of a Clock Work Orange.
my mam keeps telling me to clean up but am taird what should i do?
I’m feeling guilty about feeling free also. As a human I shouldn’t feel this way. Slowly breaking away the chains that have been conditioned in me. The only sliver of comforting truth that I have found is: “live and let live and love and let love”
I like your line of comforting truth. It has a certain quality of apathy to it that makes life a lot easier to navigate.
Yes I hate it when my gangsta family tell me what to do give me all their daggy dumb ideas they suck their like do this, do that, eat this, take that, my so called family is the Original Lebanese Jerry Springer Show so don’t try compete “There can only be one” only they thought that the show was legal not and is in fact illegal except they don’t act or get paid for it in fact they get away with it all, Let’s see what illegal means here is some of the list EVERYTHING, yes ladies and gentlemen i still can’t believe it the original “Jerry Springer Family” i am not related and no way does any paper work in the real world say that i am. Case closed by the way if you know the way out of here and are normal please write my email to- firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think ? what is acceptable and what isn’t ??
Sorry another thing is everyone can’t even be bothered coming up with an excuse what’s my journey figure out everyone’s bullshit sorry i must’ve given out to much information oops so who are the police ? they walk around carrying guns threatening people oops sorry I meant they must be “Jerry Springer [police edition] What’s obvious tell me why do the innocent get into trouble i mean really for what trying to not be YOU and the criminals get away [sorry a police officer just wrote that] i think that i might just sign up to be a police officer tomorrow (joke) wait a minute we will just check the finger prints ?????? what the hell are finger prints ???? What happened to the normal maybe they got rejected to often the only way to get nice people is to make up a bullshit lifestyle and they still could never really ever get a girl’s name DOH! JERRY SPRINGER : you are all rejects , dejects with sad effects get lost man what’s the bet i would get in trouble because they have guns ?????? That must be a guarantee to save the Queen, kill everyone or F**K their lives up old Beep Beep Beep Hag????? man don’t forget your paycheck to go to McDonald’s for a freebie
Yup, hate it when that happens. Just told off my girlfriend earlier today, to stop telling me what to do… coz she always does! Like why don’t you do this and why not do that and isn’t it better if you do this or you can do that… I hate it! I hate it ! I hate it!!!
Hey btw, great post!
I’ve had to put up with being told what to do by friends in the past who I stopped speaking to because of it. I wouldn’t mind but I have said till I’m blue in the face that I HATE it, and what annoys me the most is someone telling me to shhhhh when I’m talking, If they don’t like what I’m saying they shouldnt listen. But I will admit my downfall is that I wont speak up to them. I could write a book on the things people have told me to do. It is the one thing I hate more than anything else, id rather be put into a room with rattlesnakes.
Uh yeah, I’m sick of that shit, too. Parents, bosses, government, girlfriend, … and everybody else.
The thing is, I’m an intelligent person who is fully capable of making good decisions and thinking all on my own. Then why, oh why (!?!) do people insist on telling what I should do, when I should do it, then chastise me when I don’t do it like they said at the time they said to do it?
People telling me to do shit makes me NOT want to do it, even if it is right! Makes me want to fly the big fat middle finger kite.
I hate feeling like someone is controlling me.
In fact, I came back from lunch today and Googled “Stop telling me what to do” because I just got in an argument with my girlfriend who continues to do so! Her response? “Well, if you would handle you shit, then I wouldn’t have to tell you!” We just had this talk last week … how she can be a bit of a control freak, and telling me what to do, how to do it, when to do it pisses me off faster than anything!
Sorry to vent, but I feel you, man – and I’m incredibly sick of it.
My gf does the same thing every day before she goes to work. What are you doing today can you plz do this or do that.
my advice- abstain from marrying her.
when you dont pay your bills or pay people back or mooch off of others you are telling me what to do. You are telling them that they have to work for you, they have to do things for you and you are putting them in a position where you are controlling their actions. Being passive is an extremely controlling gesture – thats why people do it.
there is a middle point between conforming to the real world and being totally passive aggressive. Everyone has to find this balance for themselves.
i luv this essay. your the man
My technique sometimes when people start telling me what to do. I say, “If you want me to do things for you, you’ll have to pay — that’s how the world is, the boss who gives the orders pays the worker.” And if they continue, saying something like, “Well, you should pay me, I’m giving you valuable advice,” I then say, “Your advice was unsolicited, and I charge $60/hr. You now owe me $1 (for the first minute).” I’ve had success with this in ending the discussion quickly, and on my terms.
…good technique Yosef. I always did like your style…..
I totally agree with you!! i live in a foster home and go to school! theres people always telling me what to do, left and right! i just want to live my life and make my own choices! if i make a mistake then its my fault no one’s i will learn from it and move on. like f*** i just get so pissed off!!! yes i am a fan of this blog for sure!
y’all are a bunch of 3 year olds, grow up
Amazing! “Grow up”. Telling us what to do.
I think that most of the people here who are sharing their experiences are people who are being told what to do on issues that are really noone elses business. They aren’t children who don’t want to clean their room or eat their vegetables, they are grown men and women who are saying “I am the only one who knows exactly what it feels like to be in my situation, I understand how my life works. I know there are options that you like better, and I know that something else is more popular at the moment, but I have thought for myself on this issue and this is the way that I would like to live my life.”
Hey! all of you. Stop whining and do something productive with your life. Haha 😀
THANK YOU so much for this post. I am constantly being told what to do by people. I get it all the time, everywhere I go and I am so over it!
I went to the Apple Store today to buy a microphone and had some d-bag insisting on telling me I didn’t need one rather than show me where they were located on the shelf. I just walked off, found what I needed and purchased it. I appreciate his concern to save me money but I know what I needed.
I hate it when people presume they know better than me about what I do and don’t need. The medical professional are the worst. I am so sick of doctors who try to blow me off, talk down to me and tell me what I supposedly do and don’t feel. Then they act surprised when tests and so on show I am right. I would be dead by now if I just let them order me around.
I just recently dumped my boyfriend for being a control freak, don’t even get me started on how badly he constantly tried to order me around. It was totally exhausting.
I haven’t given up and haven’t retreated from life. But I would like to understand where this excessive need to control comes from and why people constantly try it on with me. So OVER IT.
Thanks for your post.
Emeka, your a gem, these people have miserable lives, im sooo sooo happy with the way my life is and will always make my own decisions, and learn from my own mistakes, best thing to do is stop comunicating with these dickheads who know it all, we are much better people than what they are, in the end, they are the ones who end up lonely with no friends because they cant except they way you are…. keep smiling and enjoy your life, i have very little and i love my life
🙂 scotty x
Hey, great read…this is exactly what I needed, because I felt that nobody understood me, nobody knows what I’m going through. I’m a single mom so it hurst even more so, perhaps because I get really depressed when this happens to me…I just feel like I’m not a good mom, I’m not taking care of my son the best way, etc. etc. It really hurts me when people do this to me. I’ve been told my whole life…and I guess I can’t make one good decision in my life…I’ve been told who to get married to, which college to go to, what jobs I should take, what degree I should go for, and then to get divorced…I can’t take it anymore! I’m about to explode! Is this why people shoot up other people? Something to think about for all you people who don’t understand…just saying!
Very true Amber. Good insight. I think often people feel backed into a corner. I am reminded of what Sartre said “hell is other people.”
Couldn’t agree more.I’m a single mum too and even my boyfriend who doesn’t have kids tells me how to rear them. I was so desperate today that I googled ‘why are other people always telling me what to do’ and this came up. Years later tho hehe, but it rings so so true. Thank you
I work in place and the boss has promoted me past guys that have been there for ten times longer than me. Needless to say a few guys feel the need to try to make me make mistakes, constantly tell me what to do, watch EVERY move I make etc etc etc. They have commentary for EVERYTHING.
They spread rumors, tell tales, bitch moan and generally try to disrupt everything.
A few weeks ago I had an epiphany, so the next time the leader of the gang of dooshbags had something to say and there was an audience, I asked if he was”gay”. If he wanted me to take a photo of my p#@%* so he can put it in his wallet. He asked why. I said cause you watch every move I make you are more concerned about me than anybody else I have ever known so I assume you are gay.
I never heard another word from him for at-least six weeks. The STUFF has slowly started again ‘…………………….
Every time I make a small mistake they pick up on it and have PLENTY to say.
I never comment if another person makes a mistake ……………..if anything I say “oh well no one was watching” or “youll be right” or something in a manner that says ” its OK” .
I will use the line about.. The guy who pays the wages is the guy that tells others what to do.
Sounds like a lot of unhealthy and oppressive transference going on at you work place.
I have the same problem with people telling me what to do, I have started to realise that I am really defensive. But at the same time I hold onto the defensiveness because the sort of things people say are: “You can’t cook instant noodles in a saucepan!” and I just turn to them and say “Mate, you think that there are really rules about how you can cook noodles?” “But that’s what the packet says. They aren’t noodles for cooking in a saucepan.” “So what do you think is going to happen if you don’t follow the instructions on the packet? Why don’t you realise that all that they need is hot water and you can cook them in any dish and with any other food you want?”
I am ranting, but I am seriously up to *here* with people coming out with this shit! Food is a fucking art form not a science. These people are treating me like I am a child, but to me they just look like they can’t think for themselves one bit and spend their lives following instructions, on something as unimportant as a packet of noodles.
Yeah I hear you CM. People get so far stuck inside the box that they become afraid of breaking any kind of rule. They become so used to being told what to do. This of course kills the creative process, which is all about cooking noodles in a saucepan when everyone tells you not to. The creativity is in the discovery but some are so stuck in the box that they could not discover the next greatest invention even if it was perched upon their shoulders.
Thanks for this post. It hits all the points that most of us adults feel when in this situation. Being an artist, i know it affects creatives a lot, as it does most people anyway, but as an artist, we see world differently, are open minded and want to discover things. i was photographing a gig and had family telling me how to take pictures, what angle, where to stand to take it, what objects to photograph! i was upset and retreated to the toilet to cry because i felt incapable and under pressure to please them. The pictures turned out shit! Now its happening again! i said ill get the address for the venue myself, but no they contact the person for me! its because i have a lack of control in my life, that the photography project i thought would give me the control i need and show them im actually capable. i appreciate the help, but its not put in the right ways sometimes. Then the hard part it telling them to back off, some how, i became the bad cop! its tough coz you dont wana upset family. but i just dont want to feel like my suffocated. The things ive done because im told to had made me move country, meeting potencial suitors for marriage who i cannot connect with and other obligatory things- although not bad, i just want to live a bit. sorry for the rant.
Great article! Loved it. I thought I was alone on this topic. I have my wife’s mother and siblings telling me what to do. Sell my car and buy something else. Live here. Don’t live elsewhere. Sell your home next month and not in 3 months from now. Blah blah blah! I exploded and am sick of it, and my wife thinks I am unreasonable by complaining to her about it? I am so unhappy, as I feel I cannot make any decisions myself (somehow I managed all my life quite nicely prior to getting married and have done very well for myself in my opinion). I am over it.
Thanks for the comment! I am with you- I am over it as well. How about this, “i don’t tell you what to do and you need to stop telling me what to do.”
I REALLY,REALLY hate it when people except for my bosses at work tell me what to do.I’m with you guys.I get this bullshit all the time and I’m sick of it!
The first few lines is totally me.
Great blog entry!
I feel like I’ve had to deal with this to an abnormal degree, and I gather that many who’ve read this blog entry and responded feel the same way. Family, coworkers, friends, and even casual acquaintances have, it seems to me, had a tendency to give unsolicited advice and little life narrations as to what they think I should be doing.
I recently began to wonder if there’s something about me that gives people the impression that I lack intelligence, confidence, or just basic common sense. Yes, I sometimes have my own ways of doing things, but they work for me and they don’t impose hardship on others. Yes, I try to comport myself with care, so as to show consideration for those around me and their space.
I think what it really boils down to, plain and simple, is insecurity on the part of the “bosses” we encounter in our lives – whether they’re our bosses at work or people who boss us around in other areas of our lives. When I took stock of the people I know who are the worst offenders in terms of personal imperiousness and really thought about them and what I knew of them, I realized that they were all very insecure.
I loved the reply near the top where the respondent said that he/she charges $60/hr for any tasks performed for one of these bossy people. I think I’ll try that next time. Recently, I’ve taken to giving the person a direct, smug look – that look where you angle your head downward and look directly at the person with your eyes rolling up. In other instances, I’ll simply ignore the person. I’ve also taken to just openly calling people out on this kind of behavior, since I realized that if they do it to me, they likely do it to others. Typically the third way, despite the risk of lasting tension that it can cause, has the quickest effect in getting the other person to back off. Admittedly, I have an advantage due to the fact that while I’m small for a male (only 5′ 7″ tall), I have a deep, resonant voice that easily gets attention from people. Last but not least, there’s always the use of snark, where you purposefully play up your perceived incompetence for comedic effect; I find the other person is usually sharp enough to get the message,… though not always.
Anyway, enough about me 🙂
Thank you for the great blog post – it really resonated with me (and others)!
Some of those bossy people who you work with claim that it’s teamwork.I din’t think so.It’s a bunch of crock.They’re cowards who have nothing else to do because they’re immature.
i want to do want i want to do not what people think i should do its annoying
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“I have learned how to shake my head, smile, say “okay” and then proceed to do nothing at all.”
“I have fulfilled no ones expectations of me and am afraid of the idea of doing so.”
“I do not pay parking tickets, I do not respond to creditors, I do not listen to the police, I do not pay my taxes (especially when the money is being used to fight a war) nor do I do anything else that I am told to do. Instead I do nothing.”
Thats some fight club shit right there.