A Sticky Situation

Ever try gluing something that seemed to resist the glue? Though the package tells you the item you’re gluing is definitely one of the items the glue works on, it stubbornly refuses to stick to the other item. I mean you’re just gluing one piece of paper to another piece of paper, for crying out loud! A glue stick should work!

And then you turn to other glues that supposedly work—Tacky Glue, Elmer’s School Glue, and—the last resort—hot glue. Nope. It’s like one piece of paper has set its will against sticking to the other.


So then you consider stapling the two together. But a big staple will mess up the effect you’re going for. You really need Item A glued to Item B. So you ask someone for advice. But that person points to the glue stick, because it has worked for him every time. You growl at the person, telling him, “The. Glue. Stick. Does. Not. Work!” He insists you’re doing it wrong then. Seven buddies of his used a glue stick every time, and it worked for them. You hang up the phone, vowing never to speak to the dude again, though he’s your own brother.

Sounds extreme, right? But the glue situation happened to me with paper recently and with fabric. However, I did not vow to stop speaking to my brother. But let’s change the situation from gluing two items together to finding a job; getting a book published; finding an agent; getting a date; finding success—whatever you currently need. Maybe you can relate to the frustration I felt then. As for the items on the above list, been there done that too.


When we’re looking for any of the above, people give us all sorts of advice they think should work, because the method they chose worked to achieve the same goal for them. The assumption is that Method A (applying online/at a dating website/whatever) will net Goal A at least most of the time. If Method A doesn’t work, then surely Method B (networking), C (blindly sending out resumes/hanging around places where lots of people frequent/whatever), or D (cold calling) will work. If these four don’t work, well surely we must be doing something wrong.

Not necessarily. After all, can you think of anyone who has been offered every job for which he or she has applied? (Okay, there are some people who get everything they want.) Sometimes, we get none of the jobs for which we apply.(Been there, done that.)

Time for Plan B!


The fact is that sometimes things don’t work out the way we or others planned. I know. You didn’t have to read this blog post to figure that out. Just living life teaches you that. But we also don’t have to start doubting ourselves just because someone else’s advice didn’t work for us.

What, if anything, have you had trouble doing, even after taking the advice of others? Did you eventually succeed? (By the way, eventually, I managed to get the two pieces of paper glued together. Hooray for me.)

Plan B image from teenology101.seattlechildrens.org. Find a job image from vizfact.com.

24 thoughts on “A Sticky Situation

  1. What kind of paper were you battling? Sounds like something with a slick coating.

    There’s a running gag around here that I’ll take advice from family who insist they know what they’re talking about. It worked for them, blah, blah, blah. Many times I end up losing money, getting into trouble, or just failing at whatever it was. The most common reason is the adviser leaves out ONE piece of information that they figured was common sense. This ranges from tax knowledge to physical ability and other things that I’m lacking, which tends to be the reason I went for help in the first place. Honestly, I think people don’t realize that not everyone has the same skill set and life goals. Gets really frustrating when a non-author starts giving you advice because they read an article by a big name author.

    • I’ve had this paper for over ten years. I probably should have tossed it out, since it used to be slick, and now is old. The glue had built up to the point where nothing would stick.

      I know what you mean about frustrating advice. Some read articles by an author and figure you should do the same thing (though said author might have started his or her career 20 years ago before publishing evolved). If I had a quarter for every time I heard the phrase, “Why don’t you just do . . .” I could travel around the world with the money.

      • So it was used previously? Reminds me of waxed floors that need to have the layers removed before you put on a fresh one. Stack too many and then you have a mess on your hands, which happened at the video store I used to work at.

        I hate that phrase. Some people I will accept it from and try my best. Other times I just know I lack the money, time, and ability to pursue some of the paths. For example, I can’t go traveling around to shows because I can’t afford it and somebody has to take care of the kid. We all have different situations and need to work within those constraints.

      • The paper was just like those waxed floors. Really, I should toss it. It’s not worth the aggravation.

        And pat advice also is aggravating and insulting sometimes (as if you couldn’t think of what to do on your own).

  2. Ah . . . many things, L. Marie. Many. I am particularly inept at athleticism. From falling off a bikes, balance beams, and trampolines, to landing in someone’s tomato soup while trying to cross-country ski, it has often been mere stubbornness that keeps me trying.

    • You landed in someone’s soup? Oh my goodness! Now that sounds like a great story, Penny. 🙂 With all of the items you listed, it sounds like you kept trying different things at least. That’s great!

      When I strapped on some cross country skis, one ski kept falling off.

      • Yep! It was a memorable moment, for me and for the guy who was eating the soup. I wrote about it a long time ago and should repost it this winter. My tomato soup skiing adventure has become family legend. 🙂
        OH! That would be a bit of a problem.

  3. Glue sticks don’t work so well for paper and fabric. I’m glad you finally found something that stuck them together. The best is coming up with something entirely new (like I did with dental wax when I had to stick things on my Lego minifigures).

    • I didn’t use the glue stick for the fabric. I used fabric glue and hot glue. For some reason, neither worked at one point. I think the medium temperature glue sticks I used were at fault.

  4. What you said here really resonated with me:
    But we also don’t have to start doubting ourselves just because someone else’s advice didn’t work for us.

    Think weight loss. My body and metabolism are different from others. Sometimes what works for a friend doesn’t work for me and vice versa. These days I qualify some advice with the word, ‘This worked for ‘me’.” :}

  5. Sorry, Marie . . . I can’t relate to this article since I’m one of those people “who get everything they want.” 😉

    Ha! Just kidding. If it’s important, I keep trying. If it’s not that important, I toss in the towel and turn my attention to other things. And you’re so right ~ just because something worked for “them” doesn’t mean it will work for “us.”

  6. Baking!! I have a sister and a friend who are both excellent bakers and simply don’t understand why anything I bake turns into a soggy mess. I listen to their (endless) advice and nod gratefully… and then pop down to the cake shop. Works for me! 😉

  7. I like to receive tips and advice, especially when I ask for them. However, have you ever met someone who thinks she’s “just trying to be helpful,” but you have the sneaking suspicion that her main motivation is to show you that she knows more about everything than you do? Often you’re not asking for advice; you just want to make a comment or complaint. “It was hot today” becomes an opportunity for her to explain all the ways you could stay cool. So educational! So annoying! (Obviously I’m writing about someone I know who regularly tests my patience.)

    I like Timi’s way of qualifying advice: “This works for me…”

    • Oh Nicki, I certainly know that person. 🙂 As you said, even a general comment gets a “Here’s what you need to do” speech. Sigh. I wish I could respond graciously. Instead I fume or get upset.

  8. Enjoyed reading this perspective. I don’t think some people realize that we aren’t uniform, and as individuals with entirely different mind and body makeup, different things work for different people. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

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