It is disrespectful and presumptive to insert your opinions and ideas when they may not be wanted.
Unsolicited or unrequested advice is often experienced as criticism and can be experienced as disrespectful and presumptuous. If it’s repetitive, it can be experienced as nagging. Unsolicited advice can even communicate an air of superiority. The advice giver assumes they know what’s right or best.
Why do people give unsolicited advice?
Some reasons for giving unsolicited advice are:
- They want to be helpful.
- The person believes they know they are right.
- They are eager to share something new.
- Sometimes it’s an attempt to reduce our anxiety.
- The advice giver might be worried about a loved one and feel powerless. They need to figure out what else to do besides giving unsolicited advice.
- They want to show their superiority and authority on a less charitable note.
Emotionally, giving and taking advice is among the most difficult interactions people must negotiate.
What is advice? Wikipedia states that an advice message is a suggestion for addressing a problem.
For some people, asking for advice has more to do with seeking confirmation than anything else. In my experience, when I respond, there is no need to ask me because they already know the answer.
One result of all the unsolicited advice is that it often leads to the recipient feeling angry, resulting in an argument. The receiver can feel lectured to, belittled, reprimanded, and nagged.
Within the context of marriage, husbands may feel reprimanded for their wife’s advice. In contrast, women may feel their husband is condescending.
The fact is that the giving and taking of advice is a slippery slope to go down. It is usually best to ask a spouse or friend if they want advice. Politely decline advice at this time.
Even if providing the information is the most acceptable advice, it is only helpful if sought after. These are emotional politics that bring out the vulnerability and sensitiveness of many people.
What are your experiences with giving and taking advice?
Please send your comments to Dr. Allan N Schwartz
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD