I think all of us have experienced getting unsolicited advice at one point or another. Sometimes it’s helpful, but often it’s completely unwanted. I always think in my head, “If I wanted your advice, I would have asked.” I try to catch myself before offering advice to other people, especially friends when they haven’t asked. Sometimes people just want to vent or talk something through out loud, and they don’t necessarily want (or need) someone else’s opinion. But what happens when you do get that unwanted feedback? Maxie’s got you covered.
What to Do with Advice That You Didn’t Ask For
Guest post by Maxie McCoy
A few months ago I texted Carly with the ever famous friend message, “OMG can I vent for a second??” And I proceeded to tell her these random comments I got from a friend which included criticism regarding something I was working on and lots of opinions that I didn’t ask for.
The first reaction I had was WTF and the second was this actually doesn’t matter at all. But we’re all human, I definitely am, and I was pissed for a minute before I reminded myself to let it gooooo.
I’ve learned a thing or two about unsolicited advice. Like my parents asking me not to use certain words in my writing that they don’t approve of (LOL). Or friends who want to tell you how to handle your situation. Or people on the internet who don’t know you yet still want to tell you how to live.
If you find yourself in a situation with a friend, with a parent, or anyone else where you’re getting advice that you simply didn’t ask for, I feel you. We all do. But there’s a way to turn these situations into a positive without getting too worked up (learned from clearly having gotten too worked up before, see text to Carly above 😉)
Speak up. When you start to notice unsolicited advice happening either in a situation, or as a pattern, it’ll get easier to cut it off rather than turn it into an entire gabfest that you’d give anything to get out of just to be polite. Here are my favorite ways to respond to the advice you didn’t ask for, depending on what the situation calls for:
– I don’t really feel like talking about this right now.
– I’m still processing it myself.
– Thanks, I’ll think about that.
Assess the person’s intention. People who give unsolicited advice aren’t always know-it-alls, and they’re not bad humans. Many times, in fact, it’s people that want the best for you so much they can’t help but try and solve your problems and/or guide your actions. Try your best with those you love to see it as that and nothing more. (And remember, just because they might think they’re right doesn’t mean that you’re wrong).
Filter through the advice. Every once in awhile there may be nuggets of truth that you appreciate and agree with in this advice you never asked for. In which case, run with it! If they ended up having a point, it’s OK to follow that just because you weren’t into at the time. Afterall, feedback from others is all about delivery.
Let it go. If out-of-nowhere advice really makes you mad, give yourself a minute to think about why you’re mad, where your emotions are coming from and if they have anything to teach you, maybe phone a friend to get it off your chest, and then don’t make it anything more than it needs be.
Unsolicited advice is the worst. But it doesn’t have to turn into a tizzy if you know how to handle it with those you love. And let’s all do a better job of not giving advice that we weren’t asked for.