Thanks, but no thanks.
It’s happened to us all, from both sides – we’ve given unwanted advice to our friends and they’ve done the same to us. Despite the best intentions from either party, things don’t go over well on the receiving end. So how do you handle when your bestie gives you some unwanted advice?
In my experience, I’ve discovered the best way to handle this situation is to smile and express gratitude. Even if I don’t agree with the advice I’m given or think it won’t work for me, I try to appreciate the sentiment. I look at it this way – if my friend feels comfortable enough to tell me her opinion and give some advice about something I’m facing, they are most likely coming from a place of love.
BUT WHAT TO DO THE EXPERTS SAY?
I recently found an article from Psychology Today (penned by Amy Morin, an author/psychotherapist/licensed social worker) that outlines a few responses for handling unwanted advice. She shares a very important tidbit of information: reply to the person giving you advice in such a way that doesn’t give up your power in the conversation or relationship. You don’t want to damage your friendship by shutting someone down immediately, but you also don’t want to receive more unwanted advice. Sure, it’s a very delicate line but it’s possible to handle it with grace.
“Reply to the person giving you advice in such a way that doesn’t give up your power in the conversation or relationship.”
Some of Morin’s suggested lines are fantastic. From, “I’ll think about that,” to, “I’ll consider if that’s right for me,” or, “I’m not looking for any advice right now,” she has examples on how to stand firm when receiving unsolicited advice from someone in your life. The key is to set boundaries and stay in control of the situation. Remember: it’s ultimately your call how to handle a situation. If you’re given advice you don’t agree with, you are free to place it in the back of your mind and go forth as you see fit. You don’t need to explain yourself, either. That is honestly one of the most important things I’ve learned – being okay with not explaining yourself or your decisions after someone gives you unsolicited advice.
My favorite piece from Morin’s article is this – “Always consider the source.” Such a great rule of thumb when faced with some advice you don’t necessary need or want to hear. If it’s a close friend or your bestie doling out the advice it might be good for you to consider it. You will know it’s not something that’s right for you; you can simply say so and move forward. If it’s a new friend or acquaintance you aren’t super close with (yet), who doesn’t know much about you or the situation, you can be polite but still tell them you won’t be doing what they suggest.
How do you handle unwanted advice? Will you change your approach now that you’ve read this? Share your thoughts with us below!