How to Graciously Accept Unwanted Advice

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thumbs downCongratulations! You just bought a car, a house, started a new job, or had a baby. Lucky you – now you’re being inundated with advice and tips from those around you, and the stress is beginning to take its toll. You’re thankful for their care but some of the advice you’re given makes you rethink your relationship with them. Their advice, simply put, is terrible.

It may be that you just don’t agree with the advice they’re giving. You believe in a different style of parenting, or you’ve been told to do the opposite with your money by a reliable source. Often, you can simply smile and thank the advice-lender for their thoughtfulness.

There are times, however, when these well-wishers will want to be thanked in a more impactful way – you actually following through on their advice. Which you cannot and will not do. They would be insulted if you decided to “go in another direction,” but your gut screams run as far as you can, as fast as you can. So how do you balance the maintenance of those relationships and your own self-respect? We’ve got the scoop on how to graciously accept unwanted advice.

Be gracious
Typically, the people who are giving you advice on something important, like your finances or parenting, are people who are close to you. You admire these people and like being around them, so a breach in friendship over something like poor advice will be hurtful.

When their tips for living taste sour in your mouth, don’t immediately spit it back at them. Honor their willingness to help – they obviously feel they can lend a hand in your situation. Even if you’re opposed to the advice, thank the giver for his or her care.

Assess what really bothers you

Jessica from accounting means well. Her advice about your toddler being stubborn may raise your eyebrow but stop and think what’s really making you peeved. Is it the tips she’s giving about handling your child, or your feelings toward her? Plain stubbornness causes us to avoid taking advice from people we dislike. Confront whether or not you’re turned off by her tactics or her attitude. They may go hand in hand.

Quickly turn the conversation to less polarizing subjects

When you’re given some sketchy advice, thank the person with a kind word and deftly steer the talk to something neutral and light. Say, “Thank you for your help, my husband/partner and I will think about it. So how was your weekend?” That way they understand your consideration, but they are also left to answer your question and being (hopefully) the polite adult they are will follow your lead.

Stand up for yourself

If you really don’t want your wedding reception held at your father-in-law’s club, or for your colleague to look over your taxes, sometimes there’s no avoiding a confrontation. Your life is your own, and you cannot compromise it to save someone’s feelings. It’s tough love when things like your happiness and financial comfort are at stake. Be kind, but also direct. Explain why you would rather not endorse their comments.

Being rational will aid your side of things. Telling your grandmother her style of parenting is bogus isn’t respectful – explain that your doctor has assured you of the proper way to take care of your child, since infant care has progressed so far. You may be met with an icy attitude, but at least you’ll carry on the way you think is best.

Always remember that people give advice out of generosity. Don’t be offended and jump to the conclusion that they think your way of living is wrong. Keep an open mind to their suggestions and consider their advice when it’s offered. You don’t want to lose a friend over which brand of cars is safest, so be receptive to their help and you’ll save yourself the stress.

How to Graciously Accept Unwanted Advice


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