My parents are divorced now (finally), and my father has a girlfriend. She was at his house a couple of days ago, and they were trying to make plans, and whatever it was she was saying, it was really irritating him. He finally said "dammit, I asked what you want because I want to know what you want, not what's the best compromise you can come up with!" She looked at him for a moment and said "...you're scolding me." He said he was sorry, that he didn't mean to, and she said "no, no, I kinda like it when you scold me. It lets me know you really do care about me." I have to say I was surprised by this. When I think about it, I have a number of platonic girlfriends whom I've diligently given advice to when they've asked for it, and there have been times when I've had to get tough on them and say "I know what you think, you just told me; but what you need to do is X," and every single time they shut up and listened, and usually did what I told them to do, and every single one of them has come back to me later saying "you were right." I never noticed the pattern until now, but this suggests there is something about women I don't yet understand. (well, many things, but this one specifically.) I have to admit there's one of 'em right now who I want to tell her exactly what I think she ought to be doing, but I honestly have no idea how to tell when it's appropriate to do so. In this particular circumstance my interests are not entirely altruistic (assuming they ever are).