The ‘menace’ of unsolicited advising

unsolicited advising

In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.

Solon stated it long back- that one advice in advising that holds the key to come across as what it should, at least in the favoured meaning of it. And yet even in such simplicity of its meaning and something that is reasonable to stick to as well, we falter so often and so glaringly in falling to this age old temptation to dish out advice that we end up denting our own repetition. Not so much though as someone who gave out some well meaning suggestion but unfortunately not to such good effect but rather as someone ‘disgraceful’ enough to roll out such guidance that was not what was being sought in the first place.

Asserting in that dubious reputation of occurring as unsolicited advice, this stray tendency innate almost in all of us as a very basic human nature to counsel indeed every soul who happens to be confiding or sharing their certain experience with us is a universal torment of an amusing degree. Indeed, advising seems like so much a lucrative proposition to never squander any chance of its encounter. One gets to voice out their personal response to a situation not alluding to them, validating perhaps by that account their own approach to different life happenings. There sure prevails quite often as well that genuine concern for the one to whom the advice is addressed, expected to yield positive results for them in all good will of the adviser. But there also lurks beneath an underlying ‘agenda’, even if subconsciously, of feeding into the human ego for assessing their self worth in measures of the power entity.

Lending advice to others, irrespective of whether it is asked for or not endows upon the adviser a certain assertion of self worth that can be interpreted in terms as varied as being wise and harbouring a deep worldly cognisance to such superficial ideals in desirability as emerging as someone powerful enough by virtue of the impact they expect to yield upon the one they are advising in the profound belief of being followed indeed for their deliverance of that sermon. Advising therefore is not always so much a generous act in meaning well of others, availing as it does- or rather attempts to- of a certain ‘payback’ from the one advised. Desirous of gaining for themselves a greater position of power, whether or not that is intended or tends to be a musing of the mind, thus is what very often directs the counselling tendency of the non professional kind making it hence a rather interesting trait through which the human character unfurls.

The power dynamics necessarily guiding the drive to advise others might be an upsetting aspect already in weighing the pros and cons of the unsolicited offering of some helping words but that isn’t just the only concerning crux of the matter. Equally assertive in manifesting the deliverance of unwanted advice as something rather annoying and troublesome indeed would be the associated negatives interpretable out of this lesson in learning, though in a different knowledge of what it was expected to enlighten one with.

Advising can emerge as a problematic behavior especially when it occurs in the middle of the session in ranting or in relating the supposed problem that needs to be addressed. Abruptly cutting in someone when they are recounting a not so comfortable narrative of their lives to instead laden them with some definite advice on its overcoming worsens the problem already by going against a very basic adage. The enormous essence that has come to rest upon the rare good listeners of the world speak volumes about the importance of letting someone wanting to talk have it all out of them. But in the zest of that irresistible assertion of one’s wisdom through advising, this in between phenomenon ruins the experience for the one burdened already with some trouble. And thus it emerges, this tendency to offer advice as only a half hearted interest in the narration of the advised, let alone a genuine attempt to help them overcome it.

All these tussle of the power and an expression in indifference might already set the premise upon which advice, especially the type not actively called for, emerges as something so negative despite its literal prevalence in utter goodness. But unsolicited advice spans as exactly that- disregarded and unwelcome- even when it harbours still potential for effectively warding away the very root of the problem primarily because of the fact that it was not asked for. Volunteering might otherwise be a gratuitous act in willing offering oneself up for help of whatever nature, but when it comes to advising this is a golden rule that plays upon that excess of the Midas’ touch to instead emerge as pure nuisance. In not making consideration for the utmost necessity of whether or not the one facing the situation actually desires a solution to that effect and still proceeding to make one’s opinion known and matter on that front, the unwanted doling of advice asserts as an intrusive working into the personal affairs of the concerned, even when they are the one stating the facts.

unsolicited advice
Source: DJ Graffiti

Unsolicited advice often feels more like judgement than counsel perhaps majorly because of it being unasked for. Violating as it does the basic premise of privacy albeit in a different way of meandering, this form of advising even when rooted in the most well meaning of intentions reveals instead in a manner contradictory to what it actually might be. In fact this particular volunteering in advice giving is all the more repulsive even in its very idea of conjuring due also to the tricky nature of issues it might be attempting to attend. Very often what transpires out of such narrating of ‘ordeals’ is that the one giving an account of things does not view the ‘problem’ as one that demands an advice for its solution. It might be a clutter of thoughts burdening an already overwhelmed existence that they need to just let out for it to lose its potency in disruption. At other times, the rant might be the clarity that leads therefore the very person facing the ‘problem’ to come to a solution out of their own accord. As something necessarily personal in character and one therefore that can be handled by their employment of own faculties, any advice that follows isn’t just valueless due to it being uncalled for a response; it might even be completely not needed.

Lending out advice unnecessarily, as it might seem to occur to those who weren’t looking for it anyway, becomes even aggravated a case of repulsive bearing due to it presenting a picture in disregarding the capacity of the one bombarded with all that wisdom. The truth might be farther away from this particular strand in interpreting the advisal response but the associated element of the vibes one might get from that piece of sagacious sermon is not always so favourable. Specially when one finds themselves in that vulnerable state of what might be a conflict of sorts and one they chose to open up on, the trail of the do’s and don’ts that follow might have them questioning their own ability in reasoning. Leading them thus to be dismissive or defensive, while coming to harbour a typical dislike for the one lending them the advice as someone trying to demean them or conversely aiming to assert instead their own supremacy in judgement can make the advice recipient resent their decision of hinging on the advice giver.

To recall Solon though, unsolicited advice rarely feels sincere because perhaps the attempt in most cases happen to be such that yields to this tendency as being the only possible response. It might even impose as compulsion enough and interestingly for both the giver and the receiver. The giver on their part might consider doling out some advice as what is expected out of them, the receiver on the other hand might feel that those words are being imposed on them to drive them to obligatory a mode of action. In such conflicting views making the round on either side, even the most logical of advices ceases to come across as a lending in helpfulness. Instead, what emerges out of this rather empathic presenting of one’s opinion on someone else’s matter are such streaks of ignorance that those made to avail it would rather ignore.

Talking about ignoring though, the impact seems to be as prominent upon the advice giver as well. Unsolicited advice is so universally seen as a nuisance that it is just the recipient of it whose ‘woes’ are sympathised with. But the ignoring of their gift of the advice stems also sorrow for the giver of it- not allowing for the fact that they themselves are the source of this ignominy of what could characterise indeed as defeat.

The frustrating experience that shapes up for the giver- just of all things not needed though- is one that stems from the inability of their wisdom to make inroads into the lives of the other person they had been meaning to serve good apparently. But equally frustrating can be more genial attempts in advice giving on something that concerns some very dear one. In all our overpowering love for our close knit group of people, we oftentimes end up dishing advice in all our helplessness at being unable to help them out any other way. Landing ourselves thus at the crossroads where we are already disturbed by the personal matters of another and despaired even more by their rejection of our advice emerging out of the most purest of emotions, we perhaps begin to realise the disvalue of unsolicited advice. For the better of course since nowhere in the history of the world and in no time of it has such advice made sense that had failed to satisfy the standards signifying the ultimate sensible seeking in solicit.