The following is a really bad metaphor, for which I apologize and will try to explain in better context later in this post:
Pretend you are walking down the street and you see a candy store on the corner. You weren’t really planning to get anything, but after you see the candy store you have an overwhelming desire to eat a chocolate covered cherry.
You impulsively decide to visit the candy store hoping they have chocolate covered cherries.
The man behind the counter greets you warmly and asks you what you want. You tell him you want a chocolate covered cherry. He says sorry, but they don’t have those today.
You’re kind of disappointed, so you thank him politely and turn to leave.
“We have vanilla cremes. Those are like chocolate covered cherries.”
You don’t want a vanilla creme. You wanted a chocolate covered cherry. You say sorry, but that you don’t want a vanilla creme.
“What about raspberry creme? That’s even closer to chocolate covered cherries.”
You politely but firmly tell the guy you don’t want a raspberry creme, you just want to leave.
“What about this hard sour cherry candy? Or this soft cherry candy?”
You start to get upset because you didn’t even really want any candy an hour ago and they don’t have the thing you want and now they won’t let you leave. You start to get angry and frustrated and upset because nothing you say will get this person to leave you alone.
The guy behind the counter gets angry with you and becomes vaguely threatening. “Look, I don’t understand why you’re being so upset. I am just trying to help you here. You have a problem and I am trying to fix it, so why can’t you be grateful to me for trying to solve your problem for you.”
You wind up buying a bunch of candy you don’t want just to get this person to leave you alone. You feel sick and shaken. You throw the candy in the trash after you finally get to leave the candy store and the man behind the counter smiles because he feels he did a good deed today by helping you solve your problem.
I have had so many issues over the last few years of people not listening to me. I get that in programming people want to solve problems, but sometimes a problem is not solvable. No one wants to say they just don’t have the answer to something, so they try to get super helpful and solve your problem for you even if all you want them to do is say “Sorry, I don’t have an answer.”
I understand that everyone wants to feel helpful. I understand that a lot of the esoteric problems I muse about do not have easy answers. By aggressively throwing a billion suggestions at me that I have to cobble together you are not helping me. You are upsetting and frustrating me because you’re not hearing that I don’t want a cobbled together answer. I want a chocolate covered cherry, not three different candies that are almost like a chocolate covered cherry. If there are no chocolate covered cherries, then I would rather be able to hear “What you want does not exist” rather than “Take these five solutions and mash them together.”
I also want to be able to tell someone they are not answering my question without them getting in my face and telling me I am being rude to them when they are verbally assaulting me with advice I don’t want. I’m sorry that you’re being presented with a problem you can’t solve, but bullying me into telling you that you’re being helpful when you’re not isn’t fixing the issue and you shouldn’t get to feel good about yourself at my expense.
I have the right to my own thoughts and feelings. I am not obligated to fight with you to be understood when it’s exhausting to me. I have the right to walk away, especially if I get to a point where I am emotionally disturbed without being further harassed because you feel I am being an ungrateful bitch for not accepting your well meaning advice. If I get to that point, the only way you can solve my problem leave me the fuck alone.