In Grief, Inc. one of the things Holly faces is the well-meaning advice of friends and family members when she is confronted with a fatal diagnosis. Her two best friends immediately start a ‘bucket list’ for Holly of all the things they wish they could do and other well-meaners (This is not a word, but in my opinion it should be) also have opinions on what Holly should or should not be doing. I don’t think I’m particularly unique in that while I find unsolicited advice from others to be off-putting at best and usually obnoxious, I rarely see the advice I yearn to give others in the same light. I’ve found that it is pretty much impossible to deliver advice sans the judgment. Think about it! By telling someone a better way of doing anything, including their life, aren’t you a) implying they are not doing all that well and b) you, in your infinite wisdom have a better way? There is a very good saying about opinions that I won’t repeat here, but I’m sure you’ve heard it.
I have endeavored to adopt as a policy the practice not to give advice unless specifically asked. The result is that I don’t sound like a know-it-all, I am in no way culpable for how things turn out for a person and I am pretty much only called on to advise on things I actually know something about. This is a good policy, although once in a while I sometimes cheat by asking people if they would like advice. I tell myself they could always say no, but they rarely do. Although my favorite response to this question to date is “Only if you don’t get mad at me if I don’t take it”. In Grief, Inc, Holly feels some anxiety about taking all the advice she is offered. A reforming people pleaser, she needs to decide what really works for her. I have incorporated three phrases into my life that are pretty much all purpose when it comes to dealing with unsolicited advice. They are “You may be right,” “Thanks for that, I’ll take it into consideration” and “That’s just not going to work for me”. My advice for you is to commit these to memory and use them at will (wink wink).