Useful Tips

Psychology of unsolicited advice: how to get rid of them


The co-author of this article is Tasha Rube, LMSW. Tasha Roubaix is ​​a licensed MSc from Missouri. Received a master's degree from the University of Missouri in 2014.

The number of sources used in this article is 17. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

Many people like to give advice. Knowing and making the right decisions takes time. Often, unwanted advice provokes a defensive reaction, as people value autonomy and their own decisions. If you are not asked, it is usually best to keep the advice with you. Your behavior should be a role model. Think about the reasons that encourage you to give advice to others.

1. The desire to help

As a rule, people give out unsolicited advice not at all out of harm, but only because they sincerely want to help and believe that their life experience is enough to start sharing it. They sincerely believe that their advice will help the person to whom it is addressed and, proceeding from purely altruistic motives, will distribute them to everyone, even those who do not ask.

2. Attempt to get closer

Sometimes unwanted tips serve as a tool to get closer. With the help of unsolicited advice, a person can simply try to start a conversation and, possibly, build friendships. In most cases, these tips do not look intrusive and turn into a casual conversation.

3. Overcrowding

When people consider themselves experts in some business, they live by their interests and hobbies, they can automatically give everyone advice in this area just because they just can’t be silent - they are overwhelmed by this and when they see that they can be useful, they don’t pass by . Usually the advice of such enthusiasts does not become intrusive and does not make us lose our peace of mind and inner peace.

4. Confusion and helplessness

This situation often happens in relationships with loved ones. When we see a person in a difficult situation and understand that we can help nothing, but sincerely sympathize, we begin to feel embarrassed, and in order to somehow block this helplessness and inaction, we reflexively give out unsolicited advice. This can happen to everyone, you can ignore it, or simply offer the adviser to switch to another topic.

5. The need to feel needed and useful

Quite often, the motive for unwanted advice is the desire to feel necessary and useful. Elderly people who can no longer realize themselves in the professional sphere, young and lonely people - they need to feel useful to society and others, but do not know how to realize it. Often they do not even realize this and can suffer if their advice is rejected or stumbles upon a sharp, negative reaction.

6. Reply to the complaint

Sometimes we ourselves create ideal conditions for receiving unnecessary advice. Advice is a perfectly normal, healthy and adequate response to a complaint. Therefore, it is worth analyzing not only the behavior and communication tactics of other people, but also to observe yourself. If you allow yourself to complain about something, be prepared to listen to unwanted advice. This does not mean that one should heed such advice or stop being frank with friends and relatives. No, you just need to build communication in a healthy way, and if you do not want to receive advice, but just feel the need to talk it out, tell the other person about it.

7. The pressure of narcissism

Daffodils are a special category of people, communication with which is always tense and has a lot of difficulties. Unsolicited advice is their profile. In order to maintain their self-esteem, they need to nourish it by comparing themselves with other people and elevation above them. Unwanted advice from such people always leaves an unpleasant aftertaste, although they can be pronounced in a completely friendly tone, even with an imitation of sincere sympathy. The purpose of such advice from the daffodil is to make you feel bad and give him some of your life energy.

8. Hidden criticism

When you find yourself in a difficult situation, you become a target for mentally disadvantaged people. Those who could not approach you when you were in a position of balance and power can afford to “bite” you with hidden criticism, camouflaged in unwanted advice. Criticism and condemnation in such situations are not worth attention. Why? You are criticized not because you are really bad, but because your critics are bad and they just want to ease their condition a little.

9. The desire for dominance

Many people simply do not know how to build relationships on an equal footing from an adult-adult position, and believe that only one can dominate the relationship. In such situations, unsolicited advice can only be a tool to consolidate or establish a dominant position. However, such relationships are not healthy, because they will be accompanied by continuous rivalry, and regardless of what position the second person does not seek to dominate.

10. Provocation of conflict

There is a separate category of toxic people who feed on someone else's energy, taking them out of balance, provoking conflicts and the manifestation of strong emotions. They often give others unsolicited advice, they know how to do it at the most inopportune time. Lack of tact and obsession are the main differences between such people. Awareness of this will help protect against provocations and not give the toxic person what he wanted. If attempts to provoke a conflict by distributing tactless advice are repeated, it is enough to give a stiff rebuff, and this will neutralize the adviser.

How to respond to unsolicited advice?

If you are outraged or annoyed by the advice of the people around you, you can follow the tactics of resolute rejection, but do so in order not to aggravate the unpleasant situation and get out of it in a state of spiritual harmony and balance. Below we consider tips that will help to respond to unsolicited tips so as not to offend the adviser and let him know that you do not need such consultations.

• Promise the adviser that you will definitely think over his words and switch to another topic or politely say goodbye if the situation allows this.

• Thank you for your advice, but politely refuse. You can simply say: "Thank you for your advice and participation, but that does not suit me."

• Tell your interlocutor that you value his opinion, but your situation is slightly different from his experience and you will make a decision based on this.

• Show interest and participation if a person is trying to sincerely help you, but say that it is superfluous and you already understand how to act.

• Keep calm if the counselor has hidden, unhealthy motives. Let him speak out and give up the advice decisively, without going into details of the reasons for the refusal and without explaining himself to him.

• Convince the person that everything is in order with you and you can handle it. This option is suitable for situations with genuinely worried people, for example, relatives and friends who, from the bottom of their hearts, wish you well.

• Advise a person to find a more productive application of their knowledge and experience, for example, to start a thematic blog and video channel. So you will not only refuse unsolicited advice, but also help a person to feel better, and maybe even find a job for their life.

As you can see, unwanted advice can be dictated by various internal motives. In any case, if they are a source of tension, you can always abandon them and build communication so that there is no place for negativity in it.