5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Giving Unsolicited Advice

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Oh man, this is a topic I'm very passionate about - unsolicited advice.   It happens most of all on social media like Facebook but can also happen in daily conversations.  Why does it trigger me so much, especially on Facebook? Okay, so look at this scenario.   You post your dinner on Facebook and it's a nice steak you grilled, some potatoes, and green beans.  Someone comments under it that they don't eat meat and it's horrible how animals are treated at meat farms.   Well, we all know that, but it's not really your place to judge.  I didn't ask for your opinion.  It's almost as if I was sitting inside eating dinner and you came to my window to shout that you don't like meat.  Okay? Cool, I don't care.   So how do you know if you're giving unsolicited advice and you should actually push post under your reply? Well here are some questions to ask yourself first.  Keep in mind these are in regards to regular things that people may talk or post about and this doesn't include hateful spewing of vulgar language, etc.

1. Does this come out of a place of judgement? 

Are you about to give your input and advice because you take issue with what someone posted? Are you annoyed that they are annoyed with how they were treated by a store clerk and as a store clerk yourself you're annoyed with them as a customer?   Step back.   Listen to what they are saying and honor and respect their feelings. 

2. Did they ask for my advice? 
Many people when asking for advice will preface their words with the statement that they actually are looking for advice or suggestions.  Unsolicited advice comes when no one asks but you give your two cents anyways when they were already expressing their own emotions or feelings.  Someone doing this is not always an open invitation to judge or offer advice.

3. Can I just express this opinion on my own page first? 
If yes, then do it.  So they shared an article about a zoo they are going to visit and you don't support zoos.  Instead of hijacking their post and telling them why they shouldn't go, write a post on your own page about how you feel about zoos.  If they are open to your input, they'll likely see your post and maybe it will change their mind.

4. Do I know their personal life and experience all that well? 
Yes, you may be annoyed hearing your coworker complain about having to spend the holidays with her family and you want to say that she should be lucky to have her family still but wait.... do you know her personal experience with her family? Perhaps they are very toxic and abusive to her.   

5. Does giving this advice bring more positive or negative? 
Is it going to open a can of worms and start a huge debate or is it going to assist someone with something they are asking for?  This is a very important question.  If it's going to be helpful because they directly asked then go right ahead.  If it's going to start a huge dumpster fire, JUST DON'T!!!

6. Does my advice sound judgemental? 
Advice givers often are people who have some experience themselves. If you have a house you bought, for example, you already have some good information about how to buy the house and how to look for a good deal. So you might naturally recommend a mortgage calculator to calculate mortgage balance, the trouble is that might sound a bit judgemental coming from someone who has been there and done that.

What are your thoughts on getting unsolicited advice?

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