How to Ignore Unwanted Advice
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How to Ignore Unwanted Advice

How to handle unwarranted advice from people you know as well as strangers.

Chances are, you can relate.  If you've ever had a friend, loved one, or even a stranger tell you what to do, then you know what I'm talking about!  Unfortunately, people are good at giving advice while rarely following it themselves.  Or else they are quick to point out the mess in other peoples' lives while failing to see where theirs is off, simply because of being blinded by the obvious.  But of course there are also those who enjoy being bossy and in charge, because they feel the need to do so.

As children, we are bombarded with "well-meaning" advice on how to behave and do what we're told.  It goes on from there at every stage of our years thereafter, to include advice on dating, personal hygiene and appearance, and how to raise children of our own!  You can be at the store, on the phone, or at the park and get advice you didn't solicit from just about anyone.  It can be from strangers or people you know, but either way you might feel mildly amused (if it's minor) or down-right irritated if you were told how to act or think based on someone else's views.  How do you know what's wise and when you should turn a deaf ear?

The Words People Say

You have to remember, people respond to what they see and hear.  Sometimes it's because you sought comfort in a friend's presence.  If someone who cares about you sees you treated poorly or worries about your safety or happiness, he or she is apt help you - whether you ask for that help or not.  Strangers who watch you, and can relate to, or are reminded of something that occurred in their own lives, may also approach you to give you their "two cents' worth".

What Kind of Person are You?

If you are a fairly confident person, then what people say won't matter as much to you.  You'll know what's right to you based on your previous decisions.  And in the event you need to ask for assistance, you make it clearly known, and you give that advice thought before going along with it.  On the other hand, if you are lacking in confidence, and are constantly asking for help in making choices ranging from big ones to the very small, then you will begin to feel powerless with your life.  It will be harder for you to turn away from the advice of others.  Keep that in mind the next time you are told what to do.

How to Respond

If what someone says to you comes out of the blue, your initial response is key.  How you react tells a lot about your well-being.  If you snap at, ridicule, or are rude to the person giving you advice, that indicates you may be insecure, stressed, unsure, or fed-up.  Whether you accept someone else's advice or not, the polite thing to do is to be courteous, perhaps smile, thank the person for the remark, or if you feel threatened, just walk away or ignore it.  Doing so shows that you are mature, can think on your feet, and care about the feelings of others.  You might think you have to be rude to not seem a doormat, but you can be tactful and kind and get the same point across without even offending others.  You may even gain further respect and have others ask you for advice in the bargain!  So don't take everything to heart, realize that not everyone is going to make you happy, and use your interactions with others as valuable learning experiences that will keep you moving forward.

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Comments (2)

Being tactful is a must. Great article.


Sometimes tact doesn't work. There are people who just won't stop giving you unwanted advice, who won't respect your boundaries. Sometimes you just have to tell them bluntly to stop offering advice. If they won't stop even then, you have to decide whether or not you wish to associate with them. Most people can take a hint, but there are some people who are like vampires.