I was just at a Meetup event where I received some unsolicited advice on my business. This wasn’t even a workshop, not someplace where it is assumed that things are open for review and you are open to feedback. It wasn’t even billed as a networking event. It was a social event.
Now, I know I don’t know everything, and I try to see other people’s points of view even if only theoretically. Listening to diverse points of view can be a learning experience. But what I found particularly inappropriate was that this was someone who had just met me. Not only that, they were not offering a suggestion, but rather trying to put me into a position where I had no choice but to agree with them.
It’s possible that as a <Highly Sensitive Person, I am more aware of these things (whether I want to be or not), experience them as someone trying to throw their energy at me, etc.
It’s hard to know friends well enough to “tell them what they should do”, let alone someone you just met. When you just met someone or they are an acquaintance, you simply don’t know the specifics of their situation well enough, and maybe more importantly you don’t know the specifics of them as a person.
Because I know how it feels to be on the receiving end, I have nearly eliminated the word “should” from my vocabulary, and I do not start sentences with the words “You should….” or “You need to….” It is simply not my place to say this to another person, and I believe that to do so is to impose one’s own truth on another person.
Some classes of people seem to be magnets for unsolicited advice. I know as soon as I told people I was starting my own business, that seemed to be a license for them to give me advice. I imagine new parents are in the same boat.
How about you? Have you ever received unsolicited advice in such a way that you were amazed at the person’s lack of tact, or you just felt limited or “boxed in” by what they said?
What kind of advice or support would have been more helpful for you?
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