What to Consider Before Offering Unsolicited Advice

People are fundamentally different. This is not a secret. We think differently. We experience things differently. We retain information differently. We communicate through the transfer of those thoughts, experiences, and information, but we don’t always consider the fact that people aren’t always operating at the same frequency as we are. Their priorities are not always the same. They’re not always in the same phase of life.

It’s so easy to unintentionally impose our way of thinking and our priorities on other people.

This is especially true for people that we care about. We tell them how they should live, how they should react and what they should feel. The problem is that it’s impossible to filter your experiences and knowledge through the lens of their unique perspective. What’s best for you may not be best for them. Even if it is, we all come around to things in our own time.

I’ve been on both sides of this. We all have, no matter how well-meaning. It usually comes from a place of wanting to help and wanting to expedite the learning process for someone. You’ve been through something that makes you wiser, so you want to help others avoid the same mistakes you made. When you’re on the receiving end of that, it’s easy to take offense, especially if that advice was unsolicited. A lot of the time it’s not because we don’t think that person knows what they’re talking about, but because we understand that they are speaking through the bias of their perspective.

What is the fix for this?

Do we stop giving each other advice? We’re human, so that’s unlikely. It’s a big part of the way we bond with each other. It’s more about making sure that the person is open to receiving what you have to say, and understanding that person is not you. They’re not operating with the same experiences and information as you. They’re working from their own set of internal data, some of which you may not be privy to. People also receive knowledge differently. The way that I learn may not be the way that you learn.

Waiting for someone to solicit advice, making it known that the information being relayed is unique to your mindset and experiences, and then letting it go once it is said is what I’ve found to be most effective in these situations. That is also the way that information resonates the best with me. It’s about respecting everyone’s right to living their life their way, and not assuming that you always know what’s best. We’re all just figuring it out as we go. We’re entitled to our ups and our downs.

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