Author Topic: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives  (Read 16701 times)

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Granny Takes a Trip

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Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« on: October 10, 2010, 05:49:43 AM »

I want to make clear from the outset that I am not calling any one person out. However, I h4ave seen a trend here recently for someone asking advice about a specific issue, and being told that this issue is not worth bothering about. This strikes me as rather rude.

To clarify, I am not talking about the type of question which goes along the lines of 'I was walking along without shoes pushing my shopping cart, reading a book which I had bought for my best friend but was reading myself first, when I bumped into someone wearing shoes who had parked their shopping cart and had wrapped their book. We started yelling at each other. Who was rude?'

I mean the type of question where someone feels genuinely hurt and slighted, and wants to find a solution. Several people offer a solution, say four people. The fifth person breaks in with 'but that wasn't rude. You should just get over it.'  That strikes me as inappropriate, all the more so because of the maxim 'The OP has no control over the thread'. That last rule is in place to prevent people merely seeking for validation, so it is necessary. But I do feel that it can go to far the other way, and that people take that to mean that anyone can just crash a thread with opinions that might not be either helpful or relevant. Thoughts?
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MaggieB

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 06:29:28 AM »
I do see where you're coming from, and I agree that this can be done in a rude way.  But when someone posts asking for advice, they're opening themselves up to advice from people with all different perspectives.

If someone posts "Someone in my life did [something] and it bothered me.  Can I call them on it?" it is valid for another poster to say "Honestly, I think you are being a little sensitive and could cause damage to the relationship/your reputation/whatever if you do what you're proposing/what PPs have suggested."  Sometimes it's hard to see the bigger picture when you feel hurt or slighted, so it's reasonable for posters to point out when they think someone is overreacting to something that wasn't actually rude.  Again, this should always be done politely.  We really can't limit responses to only those that support the OP.  That would really defeat the purpose of a discussion board.

I think it is just the nature of the internet, and discussion boards in particular, that when you put something out there it is going to get commented on.  We can take what we find value in and ignore what we don't.

Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2010, 06:37:06 AM »
I do see where you're coming from, and I agree that this can be done in a rude way.  But when someone posts asking for advice, they're opening themselves up to advice from people with all different perspectives.

If someone posts "Someone in my life did [something] and it bothered me.  Can I call them on it?" it is valid for another poster to say "Honestly, I think you are being a little sensitive and could cause damage to the rel@tionship/your reputation/whatever if you do what you're proposing/what PPs have suggested."  Sometimes it's hard to see the bigger picture when you feel hurt or slighted, so it's reasonable for posters to point out when they think someone is overreacting to something that wasn't actually rude.  Again, this should always be done politely.  We really can't limit responses to only those that support the OP.  That would really defeat the purpose of a discussion board.

I think it is just the nature of the internet, and discussion boards in particular, that when you put something out there it is going to get commented on.  We can take what we find value in and ignore what we don't.
i

I  do see what you're saying. However, I was not talking about the exact situation that you describe (apologies, I had a feeling I wasn't expressing myself very well). I meant nore in a situation where someone was looking for solid advice about how to deal with rudeness, rather than a 'I might be being oversensitive, was this rude?'. I do agree that if someone asked for advice, and then everyone advised them that they were making too much of it, then no harm no foul. But I mean the sort of situation where a few people have actually posted practical advice, and then someone else steps in saying that the OP needs to 'get over it'. That strikes me as rude. If an OP has asked for valid advice, and several people have been supportive , and offered consrtuctive advice, I think that the naysayer would be better to keep their opinions to themself. But I do agree with you that the issue has many variables.
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sweetgirl

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 09:25:27 AM »
Is it the same topic I saw? Because I was offended by a comment on somebodies behalf and being told they were a "worrier" based on other topics from other threads.

Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2010, 09:32:08 AM »
Is it the same topic I saw? Because I was offended by a comment on somebodies behalf and being told they were a "worrier" based on other topics from other threads.

That is exactly the sort of thing I mean (though I'd prefer to keep it non-specific, as I don't want to call out any one thread or poster. Plus, it is a trend, so it's not as if only one person does it). You raise a good point, though. Very generally speaking, I think it is rude to reference other threads too much, though it can be really hard not to. There are some cases where it is almost inevitable that other threads will be mentioned, but I find that threads which heavily reference other threads have a nasty tendency to go south.
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MaggieB

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2010, 10:25:06 AM »
I guess I'm still a little confused then. (I swear I'm not trying to be difficult!)   :)

I agree that the phrase "get over it" is not very diplomatic, but I still think that it's OK to (politely!) express the opinion that the OP is overreacting, even if others in the thread have offered advice first.  I think we need to be sensitive to each other, and if a poster is upset, I would not want to add to their stress.  But sometimes our personal baggage/background/triggers make situations seem bigger than they are, and it can be helpful to have someone say "You know, I think this has become a bigger deal that it should have.  It's probably best to leave it alone now." (Or something like that.)

Even if it's just one poster who feels that way.  We've all been there where something triggers us and we get disproportionately upset with some situation and we can't see it because we're in the middle of it.  I just don't see the value in coming here and only having people allowed to validate you.

But maybe I am still misunderstanding the types of threads you mean.  Can you give an example (not from an actual thread, but maybe just a quick generic example?)

Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2010, 10:35:58 AM »
I guess I'm still a little confused then. (I swear I'm not trying to be difficult!)   :)

I agree that the phrase "get over it" is not very diplomatic, but I still think that it's OK to (politely!) express the opinion that the OP is overreacting, even if others in the thread have offered advice first.  I think we need to be sensitive to each other, and if a poster is upset, I would not want to add to their stress.  But sometimes our personal baggage/background/triggers make situations seem bigger than they are, and it can be helpful to have someone say "You know, I think this has become a bigger deal that it should have.  It's probably best to leave it alone now." (Or something like that.)

Even if it's just one poster who feels that way.  We've all been there where something triggers us and we get disproportionately upset with some situation and we can't see it because we're in the middle of it.  I just don't see the value in coming here and only having people allowed to validate you.

But maybe I am still misunderstanding the types of threads you mean.  Can you give an example (not from an actual thread, but maybe just a quick generic example?)

No, I think you got me right this time, I just think we slightly disagree ;) I do see what you're saying, that it's useful to get different perspectives. I do think that that tone and manner do have a lot to do with it, I'm with you 100% there. I think that what I'm objecting to has as much to do with tone as anything. And in fact, people who are in the majority and disagreeing with the OP (or anyone else) I think have to be careful about tone as well, otherwise one ends up with a dogpile.  But there have been a couple of threads lately where I thought there has been quite a useful discussion about how to handle a situation, and then along come one or two posters who think there's a non-issue. I don't think that it is true to say that it is looking for validation to object to those posters then voicing their opinions too stridently. If you (general) think something's a non issue, fine. But you need to be careful how you say it. I suppose I especially dislike the phrase 'This wouldn't be my hill to die on' . Good for you then, but clearly the OP doesn;t feel that way. I think that threre are one or two people who say the 'hill to die on' line a bit brusquely, and then run off. I feel that this is rude, either give a full and considered answer, in tone with the thread, or refrain from commenting.
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JadeGirl

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2010, 10:41:21 AM »
I think a kinder way would be to say something like:

The situation you described would not worry me, but as you are concerned, I think the best course of action might be to (suggestion).

That way a poster can express their feelings that it's not a worrisome situation, but also provide some assistance to the OP.

Wavicle

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2010, 10:50:18 AM »
I think you are right that we all need to be careful about how we word it, but this is a forum and the general idea is that we all discuss different perspectives. I think a good thing to keep in mind would be to say "That personally wouldn't bother me so I would do X, but if it bothers you then I think you should do Y" instead of "You are silly for letting it bother you." I think it is valuable to get that other perspective, and it is fine to clarify "I know this may be silly to some but this is my hill to die on."

If you only want support, then I think it is better to put it in the I need a Hug folder. Even then you still need to be open for comments, but in general that means it isn't a topic to be picked apart but the poster looking for someone to listen.

Lisbeth

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2010, 11:06:19 AM »
Well, having been in this situation myself, I can see both sides of it.  Sometimes it does seem like people are overreacting, but on the other hand, being told that you are "oversensitive," "overreacting," "get over it," "looking to be offended," etc. can have the effect of adding fuel to a fire.  So I think the sentiment needs to be conveyed in wording that is less blunt and shows more empathy for the other person.

I think it's fine to say that the person is having a reaction one would not expect to have oneself and that the course of action one would take oneself would be X.
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Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2010, 11:08:00 AM »
Well, having been in this situation myself, I can see both sides of it.  Sometimes it does seem like people are overreacting, but on the other hand, being told that you are "oversensitive," "overreacting," "get over it," "looking to be offended," etc. can have the effect of adding fuel to a fire.  So I think the sentiment needs to be conveyed in wording that is less blunt and shows more empathy for the other person.

I think it's fine to say that the person is having a reaction one would not expect to have oneself and that the course of action one would take oneself would be X.

Great point! You are expressing better than me, what I mean. I'm not saying we have to coat everything in cotton wool, but a little diplomacy never went amiss.
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jimithing

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2010, 01:03:20 PM »
Are people actually using the phrase, "Get over it!"?

Lisbeth

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2010, 01:11:14 PM »
Are people actually using the phrase, "Get over it!"?

They may not be, but the point being made is that words like "overreacting," "oversensitive," "looking to be offended," etc. can have the same effect on someone as "get over it."
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jimithing

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2010, 01:24:31 PM »
Are people actually using the phrase, "Get over it!"?

They may not be, but the point being made is that words like "overreacting," "oversensitive," "looking to be offended," etc. can have the same effect on someone as "get over it."

They may have the same effect, but they aren't the same thing. The OP said that we are talking about tone and diplomacy, and I think there is a world of difference between telling someone to "get over it", and that it seems like they are "overreacting."

Do you believe none of the above terms should ever be used? Because I do feel that would be unreasonable. And again, if you are posting on a message board, seeking advice, you need to be prepared to hear dissonance. I don't feel that telling someone that they parehaps are being a little too sensitive is the same thing as telling someone to get over it.

ydpubs

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Re: Offering unwanted advice or perspectives
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2010, 01:33:00 PM »
Are people actually using the phrase, "Get over it!"?

They may not be, but the point being made is that words like "overreacting," "oversensitive," "looking to be offended," etc. can have the same effect on someone as "get over it."

They may have the same effect, but they aren't the same thing. The OP said that we are talking about tone and diplomacy, and I think there is a world of difference between telling someone to "get over it", and that it seems like they are "overreacting."

Do you believe none of the above terms should ever be used? Because I do feel that would be unreasonable. And again, if you are posting on a message board, seeking advice, you need to be prepared to hear dissonance. I don't feel that telling someone that they parehaps are being a little too sensitive is the same thing as telling someone to get over it.

POD to jimithing. They are not the same thing.

You can say: What's the matter with you? Just get over it.

Or: This sounds like overreacting to me.

If you post for advice and thoughts on a message board, you should be prepared to hear thoughts and opinions that don't give agree with or support your situation or even opinions that say: Does the situation really warrant this reaction from you?
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