How do you feel when someone gives unsolicited advice to you? Did they ask first if it was okay for them to give their opinion? Probably not. It can be really frustrating and annoying, especially if their opinion or advice wasn’t invited in the first place. In this blog post, we will discuss 11 ways that will help you handle receiving unsolicited advice from others.
What is Unsolicited Advice?
Unsolicited advice is information, suggestions, or help that you receive from others. It is usually unwanted and can be quite irritating to hear what they have to say when it wasn’t asked for in the first place.
Why Does Unsolicited Advice Happen?
Unsolicited advice happens when you are in a situation that someone else is not. They might feel the need to comment or give their opinion on how to handle it, even though they have never been in this specific type of scenario before. For example, unsolicited advice can come from your spouse, parents, or friends.
11 Ways to Handle Unsolicited Advice From Others
1. Take a deep breath and count to ten before responding
Sometimes the last thing you want to hear while you’re venting is someone else’s opinion or advice. Sometimes you may want to vent just to vent.
If someone does interrupt you with unsolicited advice try taking a breath and counting to ten before responding out of frustration. This may even give you the chance to consider the advice they’ve given.
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2. Smile and thank them for their concern
Once you’ve taken a breath, evaluate how you feel about receiving this unsolicited advice. Maybe it’s helpful after all, or maybe it was completely out of pocket.
Either way, try to be gracious and simply smile and thank them for their concern.
3. Stop talking
If the conversation takes a turn you’re not happy with it’s ok to end it abruptly. When someone gives us unsolicited advice it can feel like we’re not really being heard or understood.
After all, if you wanted advice you would have asked for it right? If you feel frustrated with the interaction, it’s ok to just end the conversation or walk away.
4. Change the subject of the conversation by asking questions about them
If you see that someone is intent on giving you unsolicited advice try to steer the conversation in a direction that turns the attention away from you and your situation.
Maybe ask about their own experience in dealing with that particular situation, or about their work – anything really that will change the direction of the conversation so that you feel more comfortable.
5. Thank them for their advice, then do what you want to do anyway
When people offer unsolicited advice chances are, more often than not, that their intentions are good. However, the advice may not resonate with you and that’s ok.
When that’s the case, a thank you is sufficient and you can still do whatever you had planned to do in the first place. They don’t have to know you won’t be taking their advice.
6. Be polite but firm in your refusal of their advice
Sometimes it’s important to set boundaries so, when you do receive unsolicited advice it’s ok to say something along the lines of “Thank you for your advice however, that will not work for me”.
You want to be polite but also help this person understand that not every situation requires their input.
7. Offer an alternative solution that may work better for you
When someone chooses to serve you with some unsolicited advice engage with them in a conversation as to why the solution their proposing doesn’t sit right with you and propose an alternative way for you to handle the situation, instead – i.e.“That sounds like great advice; however I’ve found success with this approach.”
This can even help them get to know you a little better so they know how you would typically handle things.
8. Ask for more information about the advice they’re giving you
Sometimes unsolicited advice isn’t bad. Sometimes it can actually help us look at a situation from an angle we hadn’t considered before.
When that’s the case, and you’re feeling receptive to it, acknowledge their advice and ask if they have any other suggestions that can help you out.
9.Be honest about why you don’t want to hear it
Sometimes other people’s opinions and advice can feel negative or unwarranted.
When that’s the case it’s often a sign of them projecting their failures onto you, for example, “Stop trying to chase your dream, you’ll burn out trying” – when someone doesn’t have anything nice to say it’s perfectly fine to say something along the lines of “I appreciate your input but I’m not interested in hearing anything negative.”
10. Explain why their idea won’t work in your situation
When we talk to others about our problems we often give them an abbreviated version of the situation, sparing them a lot of the background details.
This means that this person doesn’t have the full picture and therefore their advice may miss the mark. When this happens, it’s ok to go into further details about why their advice won’t work for you.
11. Try to understand where they are coming from – often times people give unsolicited advice because they want the best for you
Most of the time, people offer their advice because they genuinely want to help. Try to put this in perspective the next time a friend or loved one offers you unsolicited advice.
Maybe you didn’t ask for it but, is there a glimmer of love and care in what they’re advising you to do? If there is, remember to be kind. This is just the way some people show their love.
Receiving unsolicited advice from others can be frustrating, especially when all you wanted was to vent to someone about some of your issues. People don’t always know what we’re looking for when we start to vent – is it advice, comfort, or just a listening ear?
One way to avoid receiving unsolicited advice in the first place is to let others know what you need from them before you even start talking or venting. Remember, most people’s intentions are good when they give you advice so, kindness and patience will go a long way in preserving the relationship.
However, don’t be afraid to be firm in setting boundaries when it feels like others are overstepping them. Your personal space and your freedom to decide how you choose to live your life are most important.