I’ve written on the perils of giving advice to people who haven’t asked for it, in “On giving unsolicited advice” and “14 proven ways to make you and people around you miserable,” for example.
Still, every now and then I feel like this one time my advice will help this person. I’ve been through what they have. They’ll appreciate my help. I’ll indulge myself and give them advice.
It blows up on me most of the time. I relearn what I wrote before:
A friend asked, “Do you like to give unsolicited advice?”
I said, “When I want to annoy people and have them tell me to mind my business.”
Giving unsolicited advice feels like giving help superficially. It’s still imposing our values on others. We suppress the underlying motivation, which is more like self-indulgence. We want to help them so much because it feels good to give advice and stopping ourselves takes willpower.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book