Unsolicited Advice Comes With A Price - Grasshopper
Whether you are the giver or receiver, you'll get stuck with the bill.
Who doesn't like to give their opinion? That's why radio and TV talk shows have people waiting in line to pipe up with their two cents worth. Look at all the opinion polls on web sites, not to mention the "like" button on Facebook.
The sticky wicket comes about when we offer or receive advice that wasn't asked for. Reminds me of a story . . .
My mentor, the late Dr. Dave Dobson had an expression he used quite often. You would say to him that you knew this person who had such and such going on with them and would be asking him to come up with a strategy you could use with them. He would say, "Are they paying you?"
That was his way of asking, "Are they asking for your advice?" He was too respectful of people who were not his clients or students to offer them his sage advice unless asked.
How often do you chime in when nobody asks you? The percentages are alarming. The price you pay is monumental.
There is nowhere I go that I can't spot peoples' problems in a matter of seconds. It's as easy for me as it is for a barber to spot a bad haircut. Just about every time that I have stepped over the line, uninvited, I have done a disservice to myself and to another.
The reason it backfires is that most often the person is not ready to hear that advice. Now you know why this old adage is so popular: "The teacher will show up when the student is ready."
Your opinion is treated as an intrusion, which it is, and no matter how helpful or "on the money" it may be, it falls on deaf ears because it didn't have an invitation. People will take the pain your opinion has dredged up and associate it with you. Reminds me of another story . . .
Over 25 years ago I offered an unsolicited opinion to someone who was dealing with an issue that I could see right through. It was crystal clear to me. I knew the cause and the solution to the problem and offered it up without being asked. That person despises me 'til this day.
The interesting thing is they knew what I was saying was accurate but that didn't matter because they weren't ready and they didn't ask. If they thought the advice was frivolous, they wouldn't have had the visceral reaction they had.
Like I said in a previous blog post, "Opinions are like websites; every asshole has one."
The hard lesson to learn is that it's not the accuracy of your opinion that's the issue. It's whether it's welcome or not.
One of my new favorite quotes is from Carolyn Myss who says, "You have to be willing to be hated when you tell the truth." I would like to turn that around and amend it slightly and say, "You will be hated less when you offer up less unsolicited advice."
Another reason that unsolicited advice is not received well is because of what's implied. You may as well wear a sign that says, "I know something you don't know." It smacks of superiority. You have unwittingly communicated that I'm better than you. That may feel good for the moment, but you will pay for it on the back end.
This is just a suggestion to notice how alive and well unsolicited advice is, and the price you pay when you just have to have your say.
Like they used to say in World War II, "Loose lips sink ships."
All the best,
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