What Is Unsolicited Advice?
Why Is It A Communication Killer?
When someone shares her pain caused by event or experience, she’s just sharing her feelings. She’s not asking for advice or help to fix the problem. She just needs to be heard, to be understood, and to be loved. Her feelings are just are and your compassionate heart is all that is needed. Giving advice too quickly diminishes the pain as if she’s not worth your time and you wonder why you can’t develop healthy relationships. I witnessed such scenario and began to tell myself that I need to grow in the art of compassion. I’m sure I’ve done it a thousand and one times and better not point my fingers. I’m sure I have hurt my loved ones who didn’t need advice. All they need is my presence, my listening ears, and sometimes my tears. [restrict]
Good intentions don’t always make effective communication or better relationships. You might mean well. You want to help. You offer advice to someone without being asked. They get mad. You get mad because the other person isn’t appreciating your effort. What’s going on?
It’s pretty simple. Advice offered without it being requested may be unwelcome for a number of reasons. The most obvious that giving unsolicited advice places you, the advice giver, in a “one up” position. That means that “you know”, and the other person doesn’t (or else you wouldn’t be offering advice, would you?). Many of my unsolicited advisers are just talk. They don’t even know how to walk their talk! They’re irritating … that I have to bite my tongue while my heart draws up swords! Olekoi! I’m being honest here!
When people are placed in a one up, one down context, the person “one down” tends to react in a hostile way, even if, in this situation, the advice being given is clearly very good. The reaction of a person to unsolicited advice is often not related to whether the advice is good or not.
The upshot is that it’s best to ask the other person if they want to hear a suggestion, before forcing it on the other person. This allows him or her to share control of the conversation with you.
It’s also worth paying attention to your own agenda if you tend to offer unsolicited advice. People offer advice when it’s not wanted for various reasons, good and bad, but one of the worst reasons has to do with trying to make oneself appear knowledgeable or to improve one’s status. Not a good reason for helping.
Offering advice without being asked is like asking for trouble.
Someone gave me these five reasons “Why I do not give unsolicited advice — and why I am not crazy about getting it, either.” They are –
- If other people really wanted your advice, they would ask for it.
- People don’t value advice unless they seek it out. And even then, they don’t really value advice all
that much unless they PAY for it.
- The giver of unsolicited advice often makes the erroneous assumption that the receiver has goofed
because of lack of knowledge.
What the giver does not realize is that the receiver either (a) does not agree with the giver’s opinion or (b) has made the error because of lack of time — or because fixing it is not a priority.
- The giver of unsolicited advice may claim his motive is purely to be helpful, but the action is almost always driven in part by a conceited desire to show off (what he perceives as) his superior knowledge. As such, it comes across as argumentative, arrogant, and annoying — not kind, friendly, and helpful.
- The advice giver erroneously assumes that the topic in question is a priority to the recipient. In fact, it may not be a priority. Often, it is not even the least bit important. [/restrict]