When my girlfriend and I first started hanging out together we used to have a little competition for fun between ourselves. It was really between us and two advice columnists we liked who published columns each week about relationships, sex, and generally navigating through people issues.
Every Friday we’d each read the questions that the readers submitted, but not the advice printed below the question. Then we’d each come up with our own advice for each question. Later in the day, we’d compare the advice we’d come up with separately and try to figure out if it might agree with the “professional” advice. And then we’d put our advice up against what was published by Dan Savage in his “Savage Love” column and Amy Alkon in her “Advice Goddess” column.
We got pretty good at giving our fictional advice. Generally, we agreed with the advice from Dan and Amy meaning we thought along the same lines they did when trying to solve a problem. So sometimes we could still predict what their advice would be even if we took a different path.
We still follow them especially Dan (Amy is sometimes a little too shrill). Some of Dan’s advice is now available on a weekly podcast on Tuesdays which is fun to listen to. When it’s needed, he’s also able to call the advice seekers to clarify the prerecorded callers’ questions.
Nowadays we don’t formally jot down our opinions for each question, but we’ll still sometimes discuss what we think the right approach is, before listening to the professional advice. It’s been interesting to follow the addition of internet access to what was before only in the newspaper and on our papers at home.