Why Do Some People Hand Out Unsolicited Advice?

Here’s a thought: Imagine me, a Relationship Therapist, running around telling people what’s wrong with their relationship! They’d probably tell me to get lost.

Unfortunately, not everyone is fully aware of how infuriating unsolicited advice can be.

And many don’t realise — what they may be saying about themselves by doing so.

In other words, giving unsolicited advice means you may be seen as a:

A busybody

A drama queen


A know-it-all

An energy drainer


Unaware of people’s boundaries

Or you could be seen as a bully.

And it’s easy to spot a bully.

If confronted, a bully never apologises. They either get abusive or they justify their behaviour by giving some excuse like, ‘Oh I was just, (plus the excuse). Or they may even accuse you of not appreciating their advice and so on.

They could also suddenly come over as all sweet and nice. But beware! People can cross other people’s boundaries in the sweetest most possible way, which may throw you at first, until you begin to see through their underlying behaviour.

But why do some people feel the NEED to hand out advice?

First of all we need to recognise that relationships are about power and control.

I explain how we utilise this behaviour via my ‘Circle Theory’. If for a moment we could represent people as circles, then in a normal relationship the two circles would be equal in size. This is when the power is shared.

But if one person becomes more powerful their ‘circle’ would grow to become bigger and bigger, whereas the other person’s circle would either remain the same size or it may even get smaller.

This is when people start feeling uncomfortable and uneasy.

This is when people start feeling annoyed and this is when conflict begins.

It is when someone feels unequal or on a different level — being made to feel either superior or inferior.

I use this example with clients as it helps people understand the impact certain behaviour has on others.

Earlier on, I also used the word ‘need’ in my question: Why do people ‘need’ to hand out advice? Some people need attention and they will find all sorts of ways to increase their ‘circle size’ so as to look and become ‘bigger’.

When someone uses these techniques to show off, it may initially make them look bigger, more powerful more knowledgeable and so on, however it can also be seen as arrogant and patronising.

Sadly however, by ‘becoming a bigger circle’ people don’t often realise that this actually pushes people away.

In other words it has the opposite effect because people want to feel equal — not different or small.

Giving unsolicited advice falls under the category of someone needing to be bigger, to seem more knowledgeable than the person receiving the advice. This can be quite irritating which is why it pushes people away.

Used in business, this is definitely not a good way to go about attracting clients.

So here are a few tips:

1) If your opinion isn’t requested — stay mute.

2) Don’t hand out advice unless you are asked for it.

3) What other people get up to — is none of your business.

People have different experiences and different qualities to offer. No one should be put in a position where they feel inferior or superior. We all have something to offer.

Embrace this and know that if you do have great advice, the right people will come to you. They may even pay you for your advice.

Trust that what you have to offer IS valuable. You just have to wait for the right people to ask you for your advice before you just hand it out.

However Will Rogers does offer a bit of good advice for us all.

He said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up!”

© 2016 Deidré Wallace. All rights reserved.

You can learn more about yourself and relationships at: http://relationshipknowledge.com/

About The Author

I am a UK fully qualified Psychodynamic Relationship Therapist, Life Coach and Teacher.

I am not offering relationship advice, I am offering relationship knowledge.

I encourage people to think differently and I help people understand how and why we choose our personal and business relationships.

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