It’s safe to say that at some point in our lives we will get someone’s unsolicited advice. And we all know that person: the one who is an expert on everything and feels its’ their duty to share; the maven, or perhaps it is someone who truly is well-intentioned, but lacks a little self-awareness. And I’m sure we’ve all been that person from time-to-time. To be clear, I’m talking about the kind of advice that you didn’t ask for: you know, like when you’re a first time mom and are trying to figure things out on your own (that specific example just happens to come to mind now, for whatever reason!) So, how do you deal with unwanted advice? Here are some tips.
Ignore, If You’re Able To
The easiest way to avoid conflict is to just simply try to ignore it. Chances are the person giving the advice means well (see below), and you don’t want to hurt their feelings by starting anything. I’ve seen multiple bosses do just this when it came to notes calls from the network. It’s very easy to be cordial on the phone, and then simply not take the note. No one is hurt and everyone can move on unscathed.
Have a Stock Line You Say
Going back to the notes call example, the most brilliant execution of this is done with a standard line that is almost like code for all parties to move on: “I’ll take a look at that.”* It’s succinct and to-the-point, and again no one gets their feelings hurt. The person giving the advice feels heard and you, the advice-recipient, can move on from the subject. Easy-peasey. And hopefully you’re not dealing with someone who is clueless and is trying to belabor a point, which brings me to:
If the Advice is Relentless, Kindly Speak Up
Okay, so you tried to ignore it and gave your stock line hoping they would get the hint and move on, but they want to keep bringing up the article they read about or the advice that “saved their lives” and for whatever reason, you just don’t want to hear it. At this point, it’s perfectly acceptable to say something AS LONG AS YOU’RE NICE ABOUT IT. Again, chances are this advice is coming from a good place, and it’s best to not kick a gift horse in the mouth, but it’s your life (baby, script, car, etc) and you know better than anybody. That being said…
Keep An Open Mind
Sometimes even unwanted advice is good advice. It may not be what you want to hear and/or the delivery might suck, but opening your mind to new ideas can be good. And even though the advice may not apply at the time, it could apply in another situation or make a fun trivia fact (hey, you never know when you’ll need that knowledge for HQ, right?)
Take It From the Source
As with all advice, but especially unwanted advice, it’s always best to take it from the source. If the person giving you car advice owns multiple cars and can change their own oil, it’s okay to listen to what they have to say— in fact, it’s probably for the best! Same goes if it’s career advice and it’s coming from a person whose career you admire. But let’s say you’re getting relationship advice from someone who isn’t the best at staying committed, it’s okay to take that advice with a grain of salt. Not saying you have to be an expert or lead by example every time you give advice (like you should probably take this whole list with a grain of salt, guys), but it at least keeps things in perspective when you’re dealing with that person’s unwanted advice (hey, you’re the one reading this thing!)
Remember That It’s (most likely) Coming From a Good Place
Chances are if someone is taking the time to give you advice, they’re not a shitty person. Just that thought alone should give you enough to simply grin and bear it.
*Sometimes they really do mean they’ll take a look at it, FYI