Giving unsolicited advice is like walking into someone’s house uninvited. Even if that person is your friend. (Please don’t visit your friends without informing them)
This week has been a rollercoaster of drama both personally and professionally. There were times when I wanted to just rant. In fact, almost always I just wanted to pour out what I was feeling, why I was feeling that way, and everything I fantasized about the situation, but I hardly expressed any of these emotions because I was tired of ranting to someone only for the person to bombard me with series of advice I never asked for.
So instead, I spoke to my brain and cells alone in that tiny little space in my head. *laughs* Yet, the one time I did rant this week, it was with a wonderful person that just listened beautifully well. Whoop!! Such a blessing.
People are so quick to show off how much they know about your situation, or a new project with dozens of do this, go this way, act like this, just at the mere mention of expressing your self. If you are on this table, be calming down. Cool down.
Truth is, if they needed your advice they would ask. Now, I’m not saying giving advice is wrong, I’m simply saying giving unsolicited advice is wrong. Unsolicited advice is advice that is wrong. When its clear the receiver doesn’t want your advice is where the problem lies.
Look at this scenario; My friend visiting me isn’t wrong, but my friend visiting me without prior information is wrong because a lot of things can go wrong for both me and the visitor. Firstly, I may not be at home, and she coming to meet the house locked would be a huge disappointment to her. Something that would have been adverted if she had called earlier. Secondly, I may be with my partner spending some alone & romantic time I waited for so long to have with him only for her to spoil it with her visit. Or does she want to meet us in our sensual escapades? *winks*
Now that is what happens when giving unsolicited advice to a person. Its un welcomed, its bad manners, it makes the person feel incapable of handling their own situation and its unwanted.
Isabella from reaching self shared a quote by Dalai Lama I love so such.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’re lost.” — Dalai Lama
Knowing when a person does not want you giving unsolicited advice.
The only way to know when giving unsolicited advice is wrong is through;
1. The receivers story.
Now lets be practical shall we? Look at this two story. Lets say Chris and Joy talked to you differently.
“…so that was what happened my dear, and I wanted to react in different ways, but I just held it in. The fact that he used those words on me was sad. I felt it oh.”
“Guy remember that message I told you our MD sent, do you know that the same message has left me in the middle of a crisis. Now Ella thinks I’m out for her when you know how much I appreciate her. I just don’t know what to do. I can’t be the reason they are going through this ordeal. I wish I knew what to do to remedy the situation.”
After carefully reading those two statements above you’d see that while it is tempting to advice Chris, its obvious that he doesn’t need it. What Chris clearly need is your listening ear, attention, and encouragement, not giving unsolicited advice.
Joy on the other hand obviously needs real advice. She is confused. She needs a way out. But its not your cue to jump in right away. Understand the situation and give your best advice possible.
Our problem is that we too like gist, you like people coming to you, you love to play the mother hen, and that makes you hear just the words and not listen deeply. Listening would help you understand what the person wants. If Chris and Joy met you with their different situation. A good listener would understand what needs to be done while an adviser general would hop on an opportunity to drop his/her advice.
3 things to do Instead of giving unsolicited advice.
Now that you know why giving unsolicited advice is wrong, and how to know when someone needs advice, it is also important to also know what else to give in place of an advice, and when to give advice.
Try to empathize with what they are going through. Empathy makes you ask the best questions to put the receiver at ease. Empathy makes the receiver even open more, and this in turn makes you understand the situation. When you empathize the receiver realizes that you’re not selfish, that you’re not trying to control the situation, and that he/she is strong enough to handle it even when you don’t give an advice.
2. Ask how you can help.
Ask first before giving an advice. Asking first differentiates you from the other person giving unsolicited advice.
“What can I do to help?
“If you ever need me I’m here. Really, don’t hesitate to ask.”
“How can I help you?”
Ask these questions before giving any advice even when your mouth is itching you.
3. Be Supportive
Instead of giving unsolicited advice why not support? Support speaks louder. An advice starts you on remedying the situation but support stays with you throughout the journey. Support says “I’ll always be here when you need me,” “I’m cheering on you,” “I’m checking on you, how’s it going?”
Support sinks deep. The one who adviced you can be forgotten but the one who supports you through the journey is hardly forgotten. Be supportive.
There are a lot of advisers on the street and less supporters. Be the one that support more.
I am here because I want people to live fuller lives and I can support them through that, not just give advice. So if you ever need my support in writing, blogging, storytelling, business Just comment below or send me a mail using the contact form menu. And if you ever need a listening ear, I’m right here. This is a safe space. Void of judgments.
Any thoughts on this post? Any relatable experience? Please share in the comment below
Did you know that journaling helps when you have no one to talk to.