Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation

The Best Advice We Got From Ron Swanson on ‘Parks and Rec’

Ron Swanson tried his hardest to avoid people and had no interest in talking about feelings. But despite his best attempts, Ron managed to deliver some pretty amazing advice -- so let's look at some of his best quotes!
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I’ll go ahead and say it: Ron Swanson is one of the greatest TV characters of all time.

Played by Nick Offerman and his iconic ‘stache, Ron was a standout member of Parks and Recreation as the Director of the Pawnee Parks and Rec Department. Ron is famous for not wanting to help, or get involved with his coworkers’ personal lives, or do anything really. He’s a simple man of few demands, who likes meat, woodworking, and getting away from people at his cabin in the woods.

However, despite his best attempts, Ron consistently — and often accidentally — gave everyone around him amazing advice. So let’s take a look at some of Ron’s best Swanson-isms from Parks and Recreation!

“If any of you need anything at all… too bad. Deal with your problems yourselves like adults.”

Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson

We know that Ron Swanson will do anything to avoid handling other people’s problems. It’s not just because he doesn’t like talking about feelings, but also because he is a big believer that people should do things on their own and not ask for help.

Of course, in the real world, it’s alright to ask for help when you need it. But there’s also something to be said for handling a problem yourself if you are capable, and that is the Ron Swanson way.

“Give a man a fish and feed him for the day. Don’t teach a man to fish… and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man. And fishing’s not that hard.”


Here’s another Swanson-ism that encapsulates Ron’s approach to life and being self-sustainable. He believes people should be capable of doing things for themselves on their own. Let that grown man fish for himself, and you do you.

“You chose a thankless job. You can’t be upset when nobody thanks you. Don’t start chasing applause and acclaim. That way lies madness.”

Ron Swanson at his desk

No one works harder for Pawnee citizens than Leslie, so when they start talking about kicking her out of office, she is understandably upset. However, Ron gives her some pretty wise words. Sure, she needs the approval of her citizens, but she is too concerned with what they think. She’s better off focusing on the hard work she does, rather than if it’s being noticed.

“Friends: One to three is sufficient.”

Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness

We already know that Ron isn’t exactly the most social person. He actually goes the extra mile just to avoid talking to people or dealing with the public. It comes as no shock that he doesn’t believe in having a massive amount of friends. However, his belief that “one to three” friends is sufficient raises an interesting — and useful — point about having quality friends over quantity.

“When people get too chummy with me, I like to call them by the wrong name to let them know I don’t really care about them.”

Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson

In the event you find yourself with too many friends (see quote above for the appropriate amount), Ron offers this wonderful piece of advice for keeping all those people at arm’s length.

“Normally, if given the choice between doing something and nothing, I’d choose to do nothing. But I will do something if it helps someone else do nothing. I’d work all night, if it meant nothing got done.”

Ron Swanson and the swivel chair

We all know Ron despises the government and does not like doing any work. However, he will do something, if it means helping someone else do nothing. He works hard to make sure nothing gets done!

“I would rather bleed out than sit here and talk about my feelings for 10 minutes.”


Everyone knows Ron hates talking about feelings. He would rather do literally anything except talk about his feelings. Of course, it’s not that he doesn’t care, exactly… for the most part, anyway. He just doesn’t like showing emotions. Perhaps not the best example to set, but it definitely sums up Ron Swanson.

“You know what makes a good person good? When a good person does something bad, they own up to it. They try to learn something from it and move on.”

Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec

While Leslie feels she is a bad person and is looking for ways to avoid consequences, Ron drops this piece of advice for her. Ron reassures her that she is indeed a good person, and although good people sometimes do bad things, it’s how they respond that defines them. Sure, not all of his advice is the most solid, but this one is gold.