Adverts are full of unsolicited advice, both on TV, in papers and online. TV programmes and movies model it and generally we are encouraged in our culture to give advice, whether asked for or not. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with offering advice when it’s asked for (because we all have our different strengths), offering it without asking first and in a manner of ‘I know best’ with an expectation that the other then needs to follow our advice, is not helping anyone…
At the very least, giving advice when someone hasn’t asked for it, disempowers them from coming up with their own solutions. At worst, it can create shame in that person if they take it to imply that they are ‘not able to look after themselves’, a bit like a small child cannot, and this can be sometimes even be taken one step further (particularly by highly sensitive people) as ‘I’m not good enough’. Such shame creation (particularly by well meaning parents) can lead to major things such as poor career choice and the resultant, huge amount of unhappiness.
So please, next time you have well meaning advice (and I reiterate…there’s nothing wrong with this), ensure you’re either responding to someone who’s already asked for it or you ask them first if they’d like your suggestions… and make sure you have no expectation around whether they follow it or not (perhaps even encouraging them to make up their own mind/follow their own intuition etc).
Wishing you well in this crazy human journey.