I have an acquaintance who I can tell would like to be friends. We have mutual friends who we both get along with. While I like her and believe her intentions are sincere, her unsolicited advice for every little thing I say drives me batty. We all have those people in our lives, even worse—that person might be you! Is your unsolicited advice ruining your relationships?
It’s Not About You
The fact of the matter is, the advice we give others is really the advice we would give ourselves. It’s what we would do, or incorrectly believe we would do if we were in their shoes. But, it’s not about you!
Did They Even Ask For Your Advice?
Sometimes we just want to vent to our friends and family. Sometimes we are just sharing things about our life. Neither is an invitation for advice.
We are all guilty of unsolicited advice. When a close friend made a decision to move out of the country with a guy she had just met, I recall bombarding her with worry-filled questions—just like everyone else. Finally, she said that if she wanted people’s advice she would ask for it. It felt right, and she was going. I got it, and I was embarrassed…
You Might Be Doing It Without Knowing It
As in my example above, I never technically gave my friend my “advice” but I asked enough questions that let her know my opinion. I hurt her feelings without realizing it.
Notice the next time you say to a friend or loved one, “you know what you should do” or “why didn’t you just” or even “if I were you I’d”. depending on the friend and situation this may be helpful, but when it’s too frequent—it can feel judgmental.
We all want the best for our loved ones, but what is best for someone else is not up to us.