- Utilise the first 4 steps to deal with unsolicited advice (see graphic below)
- Overbearing unsolicited advice means that the advice giver starts to focus on the How and Why of the advice
- It’s a lose-lose situation when we begin to enter into a conversation trying to convince each other of our way of doing things.
- A win-win approach involves the first 4 steps and adding the additional step of shifting the work away from you. This will communicate your boundary and you can show up in an authentic way.
First 4 Steps to Dealing with Unsolicited Advice
If you’ve followed the verbal judo steps in the previous article and the advice giver seems invested in you following through on the advice then there are a few more things to understand in what’s being communicated.
Definition of Overbearing
I’ll take the example from the previous article, my friend said to me:
“You need to take Vitamin supplements…”
And then after I thank her for sharing her tip she proceeds to tell me about the brand and where I can get it in our city and how often to take it.
My friend took the advice a step further, she was getting into my “how”.
Overbearing means that the unsolicited advice is getting into the How and Why of their recommended solution.
If you feel like these behaviours are trying to control the situation, again, I want you to go back to the first guideline in the previous article: Let go of the intentions.
Maybe they actually want to control the situation and even if they did, you are free as an adult to execute your free will. The best news is that they can’t actually control what you think and do.
When we don’t let go of their intentions, we spend a lot of energy in a conversation where two people are trying to convince each other that their solution is better. And that’s a lose-lose for everyone.
And there’s a way out so you don’t get wrapped up into it.
So now that you’ve let go of their intentions and you can see that their explanation of the How and Why are just excess words and from there you can begin to release some of the frustration.
Notice the words they’re saying. It’s nothing more than sucking in of air into vocal cords to create sound. That’s it, no more meaning needs to be attached to it.
The only reason why this becomes uncomfortable is that you want them to stop. But just as they can’t control you, you can’t control them.
You can, of course, get up and walk away. That’s always an option. And in some cases that might be your appropriate action in setting boundaries.
In other situations, I add an additional step to the verbal judo.
Step 5: Shift responsibility (work) away from you
I find that people will “naturally” stop when there’s work to be done behind the words.
It’s usually easier to tell people what to do rather than help them do it or do it themselves.
You decided you aren’t going to consider it and won’t take the advice. That’s where your work ends.
Why do the work and pretend (that costs you energy you probably don’t want to spend and pretending takes work!).
You may think it will get them off your back. It won’t. Because if you do the work that can communicate approval.
Shift responsibility away from you. Here’s the Vitamin C incident:
Friend: “You should probably write down the brand name of that Vitamin C supplement?”
Me: “I got it in my head.”
Friend: “It’s better to write it down so you don’t forget.”
Me: “If you’d like, you can send me a message” (the person had my contact info, I don’t give out my contact info for the unsolicited advice).
Most people giving unsolicited advice don’t want to message you later or do the work. Even if they do, there’s the delete button.
When the person sees that you’re not willing to do the work to follow through on the advice then that communicates your boundary without even having to say the words.
Advice is so much easier to give than follow through on.
That’s when action speaks louder than words. And even when they respond with:
“Are you sure you don’t want to write it down?”
Go for a word more concrete with lightness in your voice: “absolutely” “totally” “definitely”.
The more work you shift away from yourself the more your boundary is communicated to what you’re willing to deal with and what you’re not.
You don’t want to take the advice and they don’t want to do the work. Instead of a lose-lose game where no one agrees, it becomes a win-win game where each of you gets to do what you want.
You’re being authentic and holding your boundaries. That’s verbal judo.
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One response to “Verbal Judo: Overbearing Unsolicited Advice (part two)”
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