Why doling out unsolicited advice is a disgusting habit
This is a topic I’ve become increasingly passionate about over the last few years after learning how to navigate it and set boundaries around it in my own relationships as well as life on social media.
People offering unasked for advice on social media posts is a rampant practice. The purpose of this post is to share some perspective around it and create awareness that it’s not OK, it’s not helping, often it’s selfish, and more.
And I can tell you from experience what an enormous difference it makes to have boundaries around this. I’ve been enforcing a two-part “no unsolicited advice” rule in my Facebook groups for a few years. Here’s what it says:
1) NO unsolicited advice or feedback on posts.
The main reason is safety – I want you to know you can share things in here, vent or just be seen without having to get all kinds of advice you don’t want or didn’t ask for. So if you don’t want advice in a post, simply don’t ask for it. And if you have something to offer and no ask has been made, you’re always welcome to ask permission by leaving a comment like, “I have a thought I’d love to share if you’re open to it, let me know!”
Which leads to #2…
2) If you want advice or feedback, please be clear about that in your post.
The reason for this guideline is one, to align with #1 and two, to learn how to and practice asking for what you want and need. Something many many women need to learn that will trickle out into other areas of your life in a very beneficial way.
These guidelines don’t just create safer and more connective spaces on social media, they work really well in life, too. When there is no risk of unsolicited advice people feel safer, they can show up more honestly and be witnessed in their vulnerability. And sometimes that’s what people need, a witness, not a coach, therapist, or advisor.
When people have the awareness to not assume it’s ok to give unsolicited advice, and offer others the respect of asking permission to contribute their thoughts or insights, it creates an energy of receptivity.
This blog comes from the Wild Soul Wednesday Facebook Live video I did on this topic on April 12 called “Why Doling Out Unsolicited Advice Is A Disgusting Habit.”
You can watch the full video below.
Here are the main points I covered:
1. Many people have wonderful intentions or genuinely want to help, but good intentions do not excuse/ justify giving out unsolicited advice
2. People are sharing because they need to be witnessed/heard
3. Giving someone advice they didn’t ask for comes with assumptions/implications:
a. Assumption that you know better
b. Implies you don’t trust the person to make decisions
c. Need to be right / need to prove something
4. Giving unsolicited advice is usually more about you than the other person:
a. Your need to feel significant, loved or liked
b. Your need to fix or control a situation
c. A habit of taking on people as projects
5. It’s an imposition because it hasn’t been asked for
6. It hijacks the other person’s experience and makes the situation about you
7. Hurts trust and feels bad to receive, makes the person feel less safe in sharing information
8. Not helpful anyway and won’t be heard because the person isn’t in a receptive state
1. For the receiver – Be super clear upfront about needing to be heard / not looking for any advice or feedback
2. For the giver – Ask permission first; “I have an insight/I have something to share here, would you like to hear it?” And be willing to drop it if the person says no.
After I posted this video, a friend tagged me in a great article on the topic called The Gift of Presence, The Perils of Advice. (link here https://onbeing.org/blog/the-gift-of-presence-the-perils-of-advice/) It’s a beautiful read, filled with examples that provide deeper understanding and context.
Enjoy the post and please share with those you think would appreciate it.
Thanks so much!
EWhy doling out unsolicited advice is a disgusting habit