Shruti creates content based on her own experience and extensive research.
What Is Unsolicited Advice?
If you have ever advised someone without their seal of approval, you must be familiar with the expression "unsolicited advice". It refers to unwanted and unwarranted advice.
More than often, people dump their knowledge and wisdom on others with the belief that they are being helpful. It's their way of showing love and concern. But they don't comprehend that offering advice is not a piece of cake, especially when it's needless. It comes across as condescending and patronizing to the receiver, who simply wants to be heard and understood.
So, for once in our lives, can we be good listeners?
Examples of Unsolicited Advice:
When a mother is expecting a child, a lot of people come forward to throw their opinions and suggestions her way, which is fine as long as they know when to stop. Allow her to experience motherhood in peace without constant nagging and interruption; after all, she is meant to learn as other mothers did during their pregnancy.
If parents buy toys for their children, we can find at least one neighbour who would come up and call it a waste of money. They would also advise on what the child should be given and what not. However, this know-it-all attitude is just the problem.
When someone is going through relationship troubles, others give solutions on how to handle love life better because they believe they are competent to do so based on their own experiences.
If a woman confides in her friend about her weight gain, she is advised to drink warm water with honey and lemon right away. Google wasn't enough that even her friend decided to become a search engine?
There was a time when I was too thin, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't gain weight. No one bothered to understand my mental and physical struggles. They assumed I liked being skinny and dished out advice on how I should increase my food intake to fatten myself up so that the wind wouldn't whisk me away, then to top it all off, they went ahead and told me what I should wear to "appear" healthy. For crying out loud, what happened to minding your own business?
Unsolicited advice-givers believe they are providing useful advice because they have the necessary experience. They think that the world can continue to function only when they offer a slice of their mind. But is it so difficult to comprehend that every situation is not alike for every person?
They don't have to be our destiny. It's our lives, and we'll write our stories the way we see fit.
It's alright to receive advice when we are seeking it, other times, it's irksome and has the potential to create stress. We feel degraded as if others are undermining our choices and laughing behind our backs. Although not everyone is judgmental, it does feel like being criticized. This leads to anger, frustration and distance among people. We would drown in our own problems and be alone but not accept unsolicited advice.
So, let's not be that person who sticks their nose in others' lives. It makes the receiver think we are trying to be a dictator since it exudes arrogance and superiority. But we all are adults and not spoon-feeding kids anymore. We have been taught abundant lessons by teachers and parents.
Now we need someone who will lend their shoulder and be our emotional support, not someone who feels the need to supply answers and ideas to make themselves feel better, powerful, and competent while making us feel a lot worse.
Take a moment to think about what the person must be feeling. Learn to read their emotions. Confirm with them if that's what they are feeling. Share your own experiences with them; perhaps they can relate on some level? But don't try to be an expert.
What NOT to do?
Don't tell. Don't Judge. Don't Discourage.
—You should break up before your heart gets broken. Find someone else.
—This product is the best. It worked for me really well. Here, take it. You must try before your acne gets worse.
—I don't think this will work for you. Drop it, and choose some other career.
—You should exercise every day. Do more squats.
—When I was pregnant, I quit my job. It was tough to balance, you know? You should quit too. It will make your life easier.
What to DO then?
Ask. Support. Encourage.
—Are you open to suggestions?
—I have a suggestion. Do you want to hear it?
—What can I do to help?
—How do I help?
—I have been in a similar situation before. Is it okay if I tell you what worked for me?
© 2021 Shruti Rout