People like to hand out free advice or opinion, especially if you are going through a life event. Unless you have been specifically asked, such as “What do you think?” or “What would you do?” please, for the love of Gods, keep your opinion to yourself.
People just want to be helpful, I get that. But have you ever considered your particular quip might be the third or fourth person that day who has chimed in? Do you like to be reminded how wrong or stupid you are, two, three, or four times in a day?
Or that the person has figured shit out but hasn’t said anything?
Or that you may just be adding fuel to the fire?
OR that your advice is just plain dumb?
Not to mention that one person who feels it’s their duty to inform me with a tidbit or gossip about my previous partner. That’s just an asshole thing to do. Unless I ask you about him, shut your cake hole, would ya? Newsflash: I don’t care. Also, I don’t care. In addition, I don’t care. [Also makes me wonder if you are passing information along to him about me. Hmmm…]
I’m not exactly sure why some people feel they are Dr. Phil or CNN, spewing crappy advice or news at will. But it’s annoying as hell. So stop it.
Sure, if you know I’m about to sign a document that will wipe out my savings, stop me. If I’m about to get messed up in a scam, please, say something! If you feel I’m in danger, by all means, speak up. But for the life skills and day-to-day living and struggles, let me be. Let me learn MY way.
I have stopped telling people my personal battles in fear that I’m doing it wrong. In fear I’m stuck listening to their advice ad nauseam. But especially in fear that I will have to cross off one more friend.
If you know someone who is struggling, whether it’s an illness or a life event, do your best to refrain from telling them what to do or what you think they should do. If they trust you enough to talk to you about their problems, just listen.
Just listen, without mentally forming your reply. Be that person who is a witness to the words and thoughts that are expressed. Be that person that acknowledges the pain, sorrow and worries – a simple yes nodding motion will do. Be that person they know won’t tell them they are doing it wrong.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, most people like to know you are interested in hearing their thoughts. And most people won’t answer if they don’t want to, but for the most part, they like the questions, it shows you are paying attention.
And NEVER, EVER, EVER, say or reply with, “Everything happens for a reason.” Ever. There is never a good time for that rubbish saying. Well, maybe that one instance in time which is appropriate, Never O’Clock. But other than that…
Just listen for their specific request for your opinion before handing out yours. Otherwise, the only words they want and need to hear from you are, “How do you like your coffee?” or better, “Shall I open another bottle?”