Unsolicited Advice: Judgemental Assumptions
Giving unsolicited advice causes problems.
Advice is preceded by a judgment or evaluation—which is based on our interpretation of the situation. Although we may sincerely intend to help or assist someone, giving unsolicited advice sends a variety of underlying messages which are all based on assumptions, and are almost always perceived as negative. As a result, advice often comes across as judgmental, authoritative, or self-serving.
When we give unsolicited advice, the judgmental assumption is, “You can’t figure this out on your own,” or “I don’t trust you to figure it out.” The authoritative assumption is, “I know better than you,” or “I know and you don’t, so I have to tell you.” The self-serving assumption is, “I need to give you the benefit of my advice to validate or to prove to myself how smart I am.” ”m
If we find ourselves frustrated because we are just trying to help by offering others great advice and they’re not taking it, it’s time to change tactics. Our well-
meaning, unsolicited advice is “you-ing,” that is telling other people about themselves. Our goal is to refocus and strive to live a life filled with genuine joy, love, and peace.
If someone else isn’t ready for or doesn’t want feedback, it’s counterproductive to offer it. Don’t share insights unless asking and receive permission first.
If, for example, your sister declines your offer, let the desire to help go and accept that she is responsible for her own happiness. Refocus on being happy yourself and take time to appreciate what you like about her.
The need to give others unsolicited advice is rooted in unexpressed anger. Our focus is external rather than where it should be- on ourself, in our heart and living our own life in a way that promotes love and respect. We need to manage our own anger by expressing it naturally, and constructively so we can stay in our own lane.
What’s going on when we feel entitled to give unsolicited advice:
• We are feeling anger and instead of accepting what is, believe that other people should be different than they are.
• Trespass frequently on others’ emotional domain without permission.
• Believe it’s our duty to set others straight and enlighten them with our wisdom.
• Treat others as if they need our superior guidance.
The Price We Pay:
• Producing defensiveness and distance with our words.
• Coming across to others as bossy, controlling, condescending, nagging, superior, judgmental.
• Feeling closed off and disconnected from others.
• Feeling less love and intimacy, lack of compassion.
How to Change:
• Stop and be silent when feeling the impulse to tell other people about themselves. Practice listening to their feelings, perceptions and opinions without judgement when the impulse to spout advice arises.
• Listen with empathy, seek to genuinely understand.
• Before opening our mouth to offer opinions, check within. If our intuition confirms it’s all right, lovingly ask and receive permission before you plunge ahead: “I’d like to give you some feedback or make a request. Is that okay?” If you get a no, ask a couple more times to see if they reconsider — a consistent no, means no. If we get a yes, ask again to make sure they’re not just being polite.
• If people are open to what we have to say, go forward with kindness, offer opinion with no strings attached, don’t argue with their reaction or try to convince them.
• Let them know we can elaborate if they want additional information.
• Accept we each have our own personal truth.
• Only if people are at risk of endangering themselves or others are we entitled to offer suggestions without permission.
• Recognize we are only accountable for ourself, spend energy on living life with respect and personal integrity.
• Talk about yourself – that is what is true for you about you.
Karmin, A. (2017). Unsolicited Advice: Judgemental Assumptions. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 20, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/anger/2017/05/unsolicited-advice-judgemental-assumptions/