7 Brilliant Ways to Respond to Annoying Advice You Never Asked For
Here's how you can remain respectful when receiving unsolicited suggestions.
We get by with a little help from our friends—but sometimes we don't like what they have to say. Even though it's not always malicious, unsolicited advice, whether from loved ones or strangers, can be deeply frustrating. But the next time you're about to snap back, take a moment to consider a gentler response. For those of you who want to remain respectful despite being annoyed, we consulted experts to find out how to push back in a polite way. Read on for their best advice.
Acknowledge the importance of different viewpoints.
You don't need to take unsolicited advice, but you can still acknowledge how important it is to hear different viewpoints on your circumstances, Aldrich Chan, PsyD, a licensed psychologist based in Miami, says.
"Highlight the benefit of receiving various perspectives," Chan recommends. "This response focuses on the value of diverse opinions without indicating agreement or intent to follow the advice."
Let them know you're exploring your options.
Another way to be polite in your response is make it seem like you'll actually consider their perspective when making a decision—even if you aren't really going to, according to Chan.
"Explain that you're in the process of exploring different options," he says. "This response suggests that you are open to considering various advice but doesn't imply a final decision."
This method is especially useful when the unwanted advice is accompanied by a request for an immediate decision, Jodi RR Smith, founder of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, adds.
"You can say something along the lines of 'I had not considered that, let me think about this some more,'" she suggests. "Then take all the time you need while you are deciding and if you really need to give this particular person a specific response."
Continue to be courteous.
Unsolicited advice can sometimes be welcome until it's not, 23-year certified etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts notes. But no matter how challenging it may be, remaining civil is the best way to react.
"Be courteous with your response and simply thank them for their advice," Grotts advises. "You can also show that you're appreciative of their advice, and the tone you respond with will convey your respect on their perspective."
Have a sense of humor about it.
If you're finding it hard to show appreciation for advice you didn't ask for, take time to laugh about it instead. Having a sense of humor can still be a polite way to respond, according to Grotts.
"Comic relief can defuse any situation," she shares. "You can make a joke like, 'Wow, this seems to be the it topic.'"
Be clear that you're content with your decision for now.
There's nothing quite as annoying as receiving suggestions about something you've already settled on. If that's the case, you can be clear about that without be rude, Chan says.
"Let the person know that you're content with your current decision and not seeking alternative suggestions," he recommends. "This response shows confidence in your choices while maintaining politeness."
Smile in silence.
Sometimes the most polite way to respond to unsolicited advice is by saying nothing at all. Instead, August Abbott, an etiquette expert working with JustAnswer, says you can simply smile in silence and nod as they're offering their input.
"Then when they come up for air—ask how their kids are doing, grandkids, brother, sister, aggravating auntie, or upsetting uncle—just get them going on themselves," she says. "It's likely their very favorite subject."
Tell them you'll just have to agree to disagree.
While some people may mean well with their advice, it's OK to not agree with them. And if they are persistent about giving you pointers, it's also OK to let them know that your perspectives simply may not align.
"If you want to avoid further discussion, politely suggest that you have different opinions," Chan suggests. "This response helps set boundaries while maintaining respect."
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