When someone is in trouble and they connect with people with a direct request, they’re not looking for advice. When someone posts an ad seeking an apartment or room to rent, they are not asking for an analysis of the housing market.
Yet, so many people think that offering unsolicited advice is a form of compassion. It’s not. And it’s a waste of energy to toss unwanted advice at someone. If you can’t help the person out with their request, then just leave it at that. You don’t need to say anything. You don’t need to force your suggestions on this person who might be suffering from anxiety or depression in that moment. They’re already feeling overwhelmed and if you’re not a mental health counselor, refrain from causing a bigger storm.
Most of use these days are just trying to get through each moment. Even getting through an entire day is daunting. I used to have a life where I could plan ahead for a week, a month, or even a year. Those days have ended. I’ve been in a crisis mode since April (2022) and the last thing I want are people treating me like I’m too stupid to know what resources are available to me or even better yet, how to use the resources.
I’m in my fifties and I’ve rented many homes during my adult years so I don’t need advice on how to look for housing. The search has multiple approaches which includes responding to ads (hoping they’re aren’t scam posts), contacting management companies and realtors as well as, posting housing wanted ads.
The problem isn’t the approach. The problem is that many long-term rentals have been transformed into vacation rentals. The problem is not enough new construction has been built as far as rentals. The problem is not that someone looking for a home doesn’t know how to conduct a search. The problem isn’t the lack of networking. The problem is an epidemic of greed and heartlessness. Do you even know how to solve all that?
Twenty years ago people could find homes to rent. Why is it then that this has changed dramatically? And how is unsolicited advice (which I call a lazy response to kindness and compassion) going to solve this problem? It only makes the person giving the advice feel secure in that moment and even a bit smug.
And this unsolicited advice also happens around health conditions, job searches, and other situations that come up for people. If someone needs health advice aren’t they better off going to a medical professional than listening to someone causing their head to spin with advice (social media). Why is it that we live in an age when everyone thinks they are an expert on everything? When someone acts like an expert they are almost always acting in a condescending way. They treat the people seeking help like they are idiots. But remember that saying about when we point a finger at someone, the other fingers are pointing back at us.
This is a heavier topic than what I usually post. I do believe with the Sun moving into Virgo today we will be more critical than usual. I also wanted to speak my truth about unsolicited advice because it represents a toxic exchange of energy that isn’t healthy for either party. The person giving the advice is now blue in the face and frustrated while the other person (who had advice hurled at them) is experiencing a blow to her self-esteem.
Connecting people with resources is different than giving unsolicited advice or sharing an analysis with someone needing help. Share a phone number of a professional organization or say that you will network the person’s request. These are two uplifting ways to help another person without experiencing resentment and burnout.
Use discernment. If a person has legal issues then he needs to speak to a legal professional. If a person is suffering from a health condition, they won’t find answers on a forum of their peers, unless it’s a referral phone number to a medical professional. In an age of misinformation, much of that misinformation comes unqualified and unproved from peers and not experts. Are we going to entrust our lives to friends on social media (unless they are experts)?
The humble person refrains from stroking his or her ego by acting like a smarty pants. We live in a world where a crisis is occurring every moment. People request help from all corners and it can grow tiresome. Trying to solve or quickly fix another person’s problem so that we feel more at peace in the world only leads to battles. If we want to experience a better world then that’s an inside job. We need to work on ourselves. And then after we make improvements in our own lives, we inspire others. Everything we do from the inside out ripples out to create more peace in the world.
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