Most people have good intentions when they offer advice to others. They may have certain experiences and knowledge and think they should tell others what and what not to do, many times without being asked. They believe they can help people improve their lives, or they assume they see things others can’t see. Many times, they want to stop people from experiencing future discomfort or running into roadblocks. All of this sounds valiant, but what happens when the people you are giving advice to don’t want it?
I have learned over the years that what works for me may not work for someone else. And even if the advice I give can help someone, it is useless if that person doesn’t receive it. At that point, I can get offended, or I can respect that person’s right to choices.
Advice giving is especially prevalent in relationships. Parents tend to advise their adult children on how to live their lives even when the adult children have made it clear they don’t want to listen. Well-meaning friends offer counsel when those they offer counsel to are adamant about doing things as they please. More experienced individuals try to warn others that they are treading on wrong paths while the reluctant advisees are determined to travel the routes they’ve chosen.
Ironically, many people who come to you for advice don’t want it. They have already made up their minds about situations, and regardless of your advice, they are going to do what they have already planned.
It may be difficult to watch an individual struggle when you could have given him helpful advice, but you must realize that your advice is valuable in that person’s life only if he deems it valuable.
So don’t get offended if your advice is rejected. People have choices, and one of the choices they have is to accept or reject your advice.