This phrase which is used very commonly in England took me somewhat by surprise when I first heard it.
If I were you, I would have done X & Y and the Z way.
After the guy left, I spent some time thinking about it (if I were you…hmm) but quickly got back to doing what he had suggested. It made sense to do what he said he would have done had he been me. But the second time I heard it, I was annoyed.
If I were you, I would not have done A.
I took it to mean that I had obviously done something rather stupid and that if that person were in my place then he would not have done it in the first place. This time I spent more than a few seconds on the usage of the phrase…
If I were you… how easy it is to be subtle about making suggestions. Isn’t there a cliché about us Indians always wanting to give suggestions to others at no charge? I think it’s not just Indians, it’s all of humanity (or at least the British and us Indians) who are ready to give suggestions for free.
If I were you… how easy it is to show that you are great and others are not. Of course, if you would have been in my situation then you would have done better, no?
If I were you… I would not be me. I would be you. With your beliefs, expectations and world view, would you then have been in a position to understand me? I doubt it. If you are not in a position to understand me then how should I simply believe that what you would have done had you been me is the right thing to do?
Actually, if I were you then you would have understood the problem. Period.