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Unsolicited Advice

When to Give It and When to Keep It to Yourself

By Teng HueyPublished about a year ago 4 min read

Unsolicited advice is something that most people have experienced at some point in their lives. It’s the advice that someone offers without being asked, and it can be about anything from career choices to parenting, relationships, health, and more. While some people might welcome unsolicited advice, others find it annoying, intrusive, or even offensive. So, when is it appropriate to give unsolicited advice, and when is it best to keep it to yourself?

The Pros of Giving Unsolicited Advice

One of the main reasons why people give unsolicited advice is that they want to help. They might have experienced something similar to the person they’re advising, and they genuinely believe that their advice could be helpful. Additionally, some people might feel that if they don’t offer advice, they’re not doing their duty as a friend, family member, or colleague.

In some cases, unsolicited advice can be helpful. For example, if someone is in danger or about to make a serious mistake, unsolicited advice could save them from harm. Or, if someone is unaware of something that could improve their life, unsolicited advice could open their eyes to new possibilities.

Another potential benefit of unsolicited advice is that it can help people build stronger relationships. When someone gives unsolicited advice, it shows that they care and are invested in the other person’s well-being. If the person receiving the advice takes it well, it can lead to a deeper connection between the two parties.

The Cons of Giving Unsolicited Advice

Despite the potential benefits of giving unsolicited advice, there are also several downsides to consider. One of the biggest problems with unsolicited advice is that it can be perceived as rude, arrogant, or condescending. When someone offers advice without being asked, it can come across as if they’re assuming that the other person doesn’t know what they’re doing, or that they’re better than the other person.

Another potential issue with unsolicited advice is that it can be ineffective. Even if the advice is sound, if the person receiving it isn’t open to it, they’re unlikely to take it on board. If someone is feeling defensive or resistant, unsolicited advice could make them feel even more stubborn or entrenched in their beliefs.

Finally, unsolicited advice can be a waste of time and energy. If someone isn’t receptive to the advice, or if they’re not in a position to act on it, then the advice is unlikely to make a difference. This could lead to frustration on the part of the advice-giver, which could strain the relationship between the two parties.

When to Give Unsolicited Advice

So, when is it appropriate to give unsolicited advice? Here are a few situations where it might be acceptable:

If someone is in danger: If someone is about to do something that could put their safety at risk, it’s generally okay to give unsolicited advice. For example, if someone is about to drive drunk, it’s important to step in and offer advice, even if they didn’t ask for it.

If you have a close relationship with someone: If you have a strong relationship with someone, they might be more open to unsolicited advice. For example, if you’re a parent, you might feel comfortable giving your child advice even if they didn’t ask for it.

If the stakes are high: If someone’s decision could have serious consequences, it might be worth giving unsolicited advice. For example, if someone is about to invest a large sum of money in a risky venture, it might be worth speaking up.

When to Keep Unsolicited Advice to Yourself

Of course, there are also plenty of situations where it’s best to keep unsolicited advice to yourself. Here are a few examples:

If it’s not your place: If the situation doesn’t directly involve you or your expertise, it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself. For example, if you’re not a parent and you see a parent struggling with their child in public, it’s not your place to offer parenting advice.

If it’s a personal matter: If someone is going through a personal struggle, such as a breakup or the loss of a loved one, it’s generally not appropriate to offer unsolicited advice. They may need time to process their feelings and come to their own conclusions.

If it could be perceived as condescending: If your advice could come across as patronizing or condescending, it’s best to keep it to yourself. For example, if someone is struggling with a task and you offer advice without being asked, it could be perceived as insulting.

If you’re not sure: If you’re not sure whether your advice is wanted or needed, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep it to yourself. You can always ask the person if they would like your advice before offering it.

The Bottom Line.

Unsolicited advice can be a tricky subject, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to when it’s appropriate to give it. However, as a general rule, it’s best to only offer advice when it’s necessary, and when you have expertise or experience that can be helpful. It’s also important to consider the person’s feelings and be respectful of their boundaries. By doing so, you can avoid coming across as intrusive or condescending, and instead offer valuable insights and support to those who need it.


About the Creator

Teng Huey

As a tech enthusiast with a passion for learning and exploring new topics, I write about the latest trends in technology, as well as a variety of other subjects. From science to culture and everything in between.

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