“If you want to get a bunch of unsolicited advice from people who have no business giving you unsolicited advice, just get pregnant.
It would seem pregnancy has its own special flavor of unsolicited advisors. As I deal with this issue personally, I’d like to share some thoughts on the matter.
I fully appreciate that advice is usually intended to be helpful. Intentions, however, are not the same as outcomes. Regardless of our intentions, giving advice that isn’t requested is at best annoying and at worst invasive and manipulative.
Having been on the receiving end of far too many unsolicited pieces of advice, I find it helpful to ask permission to share an opinion or a thought with family, friends, or anyone when they are sharing a story or speaking with me as a confidant.
This is because I find it disrespectful and presumptive to insert my opinions when they may not be wanted. Even within a coaching context (where advice is expressly solicited), rarely do I tell anyone what to do. During my coaching, the goal is for us to arrive at answers together.
Unsolicited advice, or as my husband prefers to call it, ‘Projectile vomiting your opinion onto others,’ can also undermine people’s ability to figure out what’s right for them, which is usually the most empowering solution.
So, how do we stop giving unsolicited advice? Understand that someone telling you about a problem isn’t an invitation for you to give advice. Often, people want to be heard and understood. They want to process and feel supported.
They don’t want to be told what to do or how to think. So, the simplest approach to advice-giving is to ask permission before offering advice or suggestions. But what to do if you’re on the receiving end of unsolicited advice?
If you’re on the receiving end of unsolicited advice, your approach will probably depend on who is giving you the advice, about what, and how often. Generally, the best approach is to be direct and polite about what you need.
You may also want to take preventative measures, especially with routine offenders, and start conversations by letting them know if you’re looking for empathy, guidance, or feedback. This can set expectations and help others know how best to support you.”
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