Raise your hand if you ever had someone give you unsolicited advice.
By now, your hand is probably high to the sky. No matter the topic there’s never a shortage of random people giving you advice, especially when you didn’t ask for it.
From family members, friends, co-workers, even strangers at the supermarket – we’ve all had the experience of someone telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. It can be about a new fad diet that we need to try or what’s the right way to raise your newborn baby. And nine times out of ten, we always think that same thing: “Dude, mind your business.”
Most people never say it out loud in the hopes of not being mean or rude, but deep down we just sit there and gloss over whatever they have to say. We do this because:
1. We never asked for it. So the advice is really about them, not you.
2. We’re not paying attention so it’s going in one ear and out the other.
Research actually shows that when we receive unsolicited advice from others, the human brain response with defiance automatically because “we want to maximize out personal freedom and decision making.” When we receive advice without asking, we pay no attention. Now here’s the one thing that’ll probably make your head spin.
You’re giving unsolicited advice and you need to stop.
Who me? Yes, you. Before you get all defensive, in actuality it’s not really your fault. It’s human nature and we all do this. Human beings like to share experiences especially if the results were positive or negative. We think we’re saving our friends from a major blow or helping them in a life changing event. So we share without thinking about how the other person is feeling (or if they even asked).
How can we help our friends without giving advice? Here’s the answer:
Practice what you preach.
People rarely seek advice but when they do, they’re looking for people who are living by example. A study done by Harvard Business School uncovered that people who are “looking for advice simply wanted to receive information (thereby widening the set of options).” However those who give advice think that they’re supposed to provide direction (which is NOT TRUE).
We don’t want to be told what to do. Period. Instead, we want to see the options that we have. Instead of spouting words, be the example that they want to see and remind them that at the end of the day it’s their decision. It’s their choice.
Don’t talk the game, play the game. Be an example.
It’s like finding a physical fitness trainer: one trainer talks a big game name drops all they people they worked with yet their appearance looks super unhealthy. Whereas the second trainer looks incredibly fit and waits for you to ask them questions about what you are looking for. Which one are you going to go for? The second one right? No brainer.
So before you give that advice or tell people what they should and shouldn’t do, take a breath. Remember to wait for them to ask for advice and ask yourself “do I practice what I preach?” You’ll be more helpful to your friends by doing this.
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Til next time homies,