To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that he doesn’t know what to do, or that he can’t do it on his own. – John Gray
Marcy felt strangled after receiving unsolicited advice time and time again, she told her much-loved friend, Jennifer, “I appreciate that you are trying to help me, I really do, but I was not asking for advice.”
Jennifer replied, “This really hurts my feelings. I am only trying to help. I’ll just not say anything anymore!”
Parents, friends, brothers and sisters—
It is acceptable to occasionally give unsolicited advice, especially when you see someone in dire need, and you feel your advice will help. My suggestion is, if you are unsure, ask them if they would like to hear your opinion or advice.
When you give advice that is not asked for it can reflect as:
I (the advice giver ) am up here…
You (the one I am giving advice to) are below me.
Before giving advice, consider:
- Do they really need my advice, or do I feel the need to give it?
- Did they ask for my advice?
- Do I believe they have not thought their situation out, or am I lacking in self-control?
- Do I make it a habit to help everyone, or do I simply listen and acknowledge, which allows the person to tell me his story?
More often than not, the person that receives unsolicited advice has thoroughly thought through their circumstances before they share their story with you. When they share a story with you, they may be venting. They may be hoping to share a personal thought with you. They probably need someone to listen intently. When you habitually give advice, you may find your friends and loved ones become very closed-mouthed with you.
This excerpt from a Chicago Tribune article gives clarification to advice giving:
Costello said people who are self-absorbed will have trouble listening without offering advice.
“They tend to assume that they know everything or that it’s all about them,” she said.
“They are viewing the communication world through their own lenses,” Rooni said. “They think ‘If I were them, what would I want? I would want someone to itemize things and give me a solution.'”
Find out what they want from you.
“Do they want to be held, heard or understood?” Rooni said. “When someone wants a solution they will say ‘Do you have any ideas or suggestions?’ They will typically communicate what it is that they want if we actually ask them.”
Avoid giving advice unless you know it has been requested. Your best gift is to listen.