Author Topic: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice  (Read 2730 times)

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oopsie

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Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« on: April 07, 2013, 09:59:32 PM »
A casual friend of mine just texted me with some completely unsolicited advice out of the blue on the subject of something concerning my work. The text began with "you should..." and then told me what they think I should do (for example "you should change your website to have this and this on it").

I can't help but feel annoyed. One because I'm a little embarrassed as the thing they are advising me about is something I'm already aware of that I should change but just haven't yet for various reasons, two, because it feels like they think that maybe I'm too stupid to realize that the item in question needs to be changed and three, because I didn't ask for this advice in the first place.

Do I have a right to feel annoyed? Is giving unsolicited advice considered rude?

Surianne

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 10:04:19 PM »
I don't think unsolicited advice is always rude.  It's hard to say about this case without knowing the specific circumstances.  It sounds like this is something that you agree needs to be changed, but you haven't changed yet?  I don't think it's insulting that your friend didn't realize you had seen it.  The natural assumption would be that if you'd seen it, you would have fixed it, yes?  So they were probably trying to be helpful. 

Nebraska Jones

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 10:12:49 PM »
I would be peeved too.  Generally speaking, a statement starting with "you should..." or "you need to..." just makes the person come across as someone that doesn't know how to mind their own business.  At least that has been my experience.

oopsie

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 10:17:26 PM »
I don't think unsolicited advice is always rude.  It's hard to say about this case without knowing the specific circumstances.  It sounds like this is something that you agree needs to be changed, but you haven't changed yet?  I don't think it's insulting that your friend didn't realize you had seen it.  The natural assumption would be that if you'd seen it, you would have fixed it, yes?  So they were probably trying to be helpful.

Without getting in to specific details, it would be akin to him texting me out of the blue to say "you should get your car rust-proofed" when I know (and anyone else with a pair of eyes can see) that my car is covered in rust. Make sense? It doesn't seem helpful to me, just annoying.

Surianne

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013, 10:30:35 PM »
Hmm.  Unfortunately, I don't know enough about cars to understand the analogy, so I probably can't offer an informed opinion on this one.  I was thinking it was something like noticing a broken link or typing error on your webpage, since you mentioned webpages in your OP, in which case I'd say it was kind of him to point it out, rather than rude.

gramma dishes

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2013, 10:34:32 PM »
Would you have been as upset if he had begun his email with "I was just looking at your web site and I noticed that ... (blah,
 blah, blah) ..."?

There's no doubt that when anyone starts off with the words "You should ..." it's pretty much assured to be a turnoff.

Maybe he really is just trying to seem superior.  But I suspect he really just wasn't sure you'd noticed the issue and thought he could help you by bringing it to your attention.  We don't have the privilege of knowing his personality.  Only you know if that's his usual and customary smug modus operandi or if he's usually just a really nice guy who might be trying to be genuinely helpful and just used less than tactful wording.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2013, 11:45:10 PM »
My reply to something like this is "Thanks, it's on my list".

There are many things it's obvious I need to do at work, but the situation is that there's far too much work and far too few people to do it.  "You should..." is a bit off-putting, but I appreciate knowing what my "customers" notice; it helps me set priorities.
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oopsie

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2013, 11:49:35 PM »
My reply to something like this is "Thanks, it's on my list".

I love this! I'll remember it for next time.

Library Dragon

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2013, 11:53:08 PM »
I understand the annoyance.  A, "Wanted to let you know that the link to ABC is broken."

The response is good. 

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oopsie

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2013, 12:12:03 AM »
I understand the annoyance.  A, "Wanted to let you know that the link to ABC is broken."

The response is good.

I just wanted to clarify that being notified of a broken link would be useful and I would be appreciative of someone telling me about that.

With the website example, what unsolicited advice I was actually given would be more similar to if he texted me to say what specific content I should include on my web page or to redesign it completely to something he finds more aesthetically pleasing.

Basically, it came across as more of a criticism than an attempt to be helpful. I find he is very critical of the way a lot of people do things that is really none of his concern. This time, it happened to be directed at me.

Luci

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2013, 12:24:36 AM »
I would be peeved too.  Generally speaking, a statement starting with "you should..." or "you need to..." just makes the person come across as someone that doesn't know how to mind their own business.  At least that has been my experience.

Unless I have asked for advice, that brings out the stubborn teenager in me.................I'm 68.

gen xer

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2013, 09:44:23 AM »
In general I think unsolicited advice is rude and patronizing...although I try to give people the benefit of the doubt as far as their intentions. 

It is one of my major etiquette pet peeves.  If people want advice they will ask for it....then you can offer it.  Most people don't even listen to unsolicited advice - they do exactly what they want to do.  Even if it is good, sound advice I think people get their back up at being told what to do.

gen xer

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2013, 10:05:46 AM »
 I was just rereading the original post....and it brought up yet another thing that I hate - the pointing out of the obvious.  My MIL is a notorious offender in that regard.  She likes to repeatedly point out the scratch in my car door, if there is paint chipped on my walls, the gouge in my hardwood floor every chance she gets....as though I don't know.

Last time she did the car door thing I got kind of mad ( there's just this grating manner about her - like she's so astonished that I could let it go ) and told her I knew it was there, have always known it was there but wasn't worried about it enough to fix it as it was strictly cosmetic.  It is an eight year old Accord not a vintage MG or anything.

Of course she was scandalized. ::)

BeagleMommy

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2013, 10:12:07 AM »
I think it is generally a bad idea to give unsolicited advice.  Particulary about work or child-rearing.

I think my response would have been "Thanks.  I'll give that all the consideration it deserves.".  However, the response I would LIKE to give would be "Thank you, Captain Obvious!", but I can't control the evilness of my subconscious.

gramma dishes

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Re: Giving/receiving unsolicited advice
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 10:51:08 AM »
...   I find he is very critical of the way a lot of people do things that is really none of his concern. This time, it happened to be directed at me.

Okay, this pretty much answers the 'personality' question.  Yes, I'd have been offended.   ;)