In today’s short video, I want to share some thoughts about giving advice. The first distinction to make is that advice can be solicited or unsolicited. We all know that unsolicited advice usually doesn’t land very well.
However, I think that something not everyone knows is that, even when someone asks for our advice, whether it’s a friend, a relative, a client, etcetera, and even if we go to great lengths doing our best to give that person good advice, they still have no obligation whatsoever to follow it.
There can be many reasons why someone might decide not to follow our advice. Maybe it doesn’t fully resonate with their values, beliefs, preferences, situation, experience, etcetera. It’s important to remember that we can only give advice from our limited education and experience, and they might be different from the other person’s experience and education, plus we are probably unable to take into account all of the factors at play in the other person’s circumstances.
Maybe the other person is asking for our advice so as to learn another perspective, or to see if there’s anything we might say they hadn’t previously thought of themselves. They can be aware of factors we are not aware of. We can’t truly know what’s best for another person.
So, all of this to say, I believe the other person shouldn’t have to feel pressured to follow our advice simply because they asked for it. Otherwise, we are doing them a disservice.
If we notice that we feel frustrated or angry when someone doesn’t follow our advice, even if they asked for it, there are a couple of things we can do. First of all, we can tap on it. Think about one of the times it happened (or the next time it might happen) that someone asks you for your advice and then doesn’t follow it, and notice what feeling, sensation or emotion comes up for you now when thinking about that. And that’s your starting point for doing Basic EFT on that specific event.
Notice also what meaning you are attributing to this situation. “They just want to waste my time”. “They don’t think I know what I’m talking about”, etcetera. As you think about that specific event, and the meaning you’ve given it, you can tap on how you feel when thinking about that as well.
And, of course, just like the other person has a right not to follow your advice, you also have a right not to give them advice anymore if you feel that’s only going to waste your time or make you feel frustrated.
Personally, I would give them advice anyway (if they ask me for it, and it’s on a topic I have some education or experience on), but knowing that they might resonate with it or maybe they won’t, and it’s ok anyway. They have every right in the world not to follow my advice.
So, to recap, if someone asks you for advice and then, for whatever reason, decides not to follow it, and that makes you feel angry, frustrated, or some other emotion, you can always tap on that emotional reaction. And/or if you want to, you can decide not to give them advice anymore. They are not obligated to follow your advice.