Opinions Aren't Facts! Five Tips to Politely Decline Unsolicited Advice...

"You should do it this way!"
"You're not really going to eat that, are you?!"
"You can't possibly believe that!"
...opinions eh?
Everybody's got 'em, and sometimes people just can't help but share!

Which is fine, we're all 100% entitled to our opinions (and 100% entitled to disagree with someone else's!), but when opinions cross the fine line into unsolicited advice territory, sometimes they need to be nipped in the bud.

Not a fan of confrontation? Me neither, so here are five top tips to politely, but firmly decline...


1. Assume their intentions are good. This can be hard, but it's especially important if the advice giver is a friend or relative that you don't want to strain your relationship with. Try to assume the best - that they are genuinely trying to help, rather than preach or judge - it can help diffuse things a bit before you respond.

2. Hear Them Out. Sometimes, an unsolicited advice giver just wants to be heard, and might feel much better once they've got it off their chest, to the point where they're completely accepting when you reply "Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm going to do it my own way & see how it goes!" If not...

3. Keep it upbeat. Humour is a much undervalued negotiation tool - and also a great distraction technique. If you can make a joke at your own expense to move the conversation on, go for it! You can even let them think you're taking their advice on board, "What a great idea! Why dodn't I think of that?!" ...even if you have no intention of doing so!
If they're persistent...

4. Shut It Down. If a repeat offender starts feeling like a chore to deal with, you need to be direct, with no room for misinterpretation. To keep it friendly, but firm, try one of these responses:

"Great Idea! I'll think about it." (even if you have no intention of doing so)
 
"That's an interesting idea, but I prefer my way."

"I've tried that, but it didn't work for me." 

"Thank you for caring, but I'm not actually looking for advice right now."

"That's actually not in line with my values, but thanks for your input."

5. Move On. Before the person has time to get offended, or reframe & present their same "advice" from a different angle, steer the conversation to something else - ask about their day, how their pet is, compliment their shoes - anything at all to move things along.

If that doesn't work?
Remember you're entitled to remove yourself from the conversation altogether.
Invent an appointment you have to dash off to, fake a call you need to take right away - if you've tried to be kind & they're still relentless, you owe it to yourself to get the heck out!

6. Bonus tip: If someone is overtly rude about what they think of how you live your life, and especially if they're not anyone particularly important to you (hello opinionated strangers on the internet!) - you're 100% allowed to bypass all previous advice and be rude in return.

Sometimes, a blunt reply & a quick block are the easiest way to move forward... if only there was a mute feature in real life! 😆

How do you deal with unsolicited opinions & advice?

[The critters in this post are from the Smiley Snail Mail letter: "The Only Right Way is the One That's Right For You!" which is available to download here :D]

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