11 pieces of really annoying advice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Yesterday I sat in the sun in our back garden with the children and our friend Tonia, and we ate watermelon and spat out the pips and sipped prosecco (me and Tonia, not the kids) and talked about life, the way girlfriends do.

Tonia said something about someone who had been giving her a hard time, "I know I have to earn her respect, but..." and that was enough for me to get RIGHT UP on my high horse. "You don't have to earn her respect!" I thundered. "Everyone deserves respect, as a given." When I meet someone new, I absolutely show them respect, well before they have had time to 'earn' it.

And that got me thinking about some of the other common sayings that I want to spit out with those watermelon pips. Platitudes and pieces of advice that I think do more harm than good. Here they are. What about you? What would you add to this list?

You have to earn my respect No. You deserve my respect from the get-go, and you will have it. You can, however, lose it

Work smarter, not harder Sometimes. But sometimes you just have to put your back into it, kid!

Honesty is the best policy Not always. I'm not saying lie, but sometimes it's kinder / smarter / more appropriate / downright safer to just hold your tongue

Blood is thicker than water No. There is so much more to a relationship than whether or not you are related. Love, respect, shared experiences, the other person's needs and personal choice spring to mind

Good things come to those who wait Rarely. Get off your backside and go chase those good things!

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer No way. Life is too short to be hanging out with enemies

Never apologise for who you are Occasionally you are rude, obnoxious, prejudiced, hurtful or even cruel. We all are. Apologise for that

Never go to bed angry Actually, maybe a little time out would be good for both of you!

Don't take no for an answer Honestly? Sometimes you need to learn how to hear and accept the word "no," and move on

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again This is similar to the above. I get that perseverance is important, but maybe try coming at it from another angle? I mean, isn't it one of the definitions of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome?

Your high-school years are the best years of your life Please god no!

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