Being pregnant means I now receive a lot of advice. Majority of it unsolicited. Comes with being so visibly in a particular state of being I suppose. And I don’t mind for the most part, it’s usually harmless and usually helpful.
Having observed ‘unsolicited advice givers’ in their natural habitat over the past 6 or so months and being on the receiving end of a lot of unsolicited advice, I have come to the conclusion that there are 6 general types of unsolicited advice givers.
The ‘I acknowledge you did not ask for this advice’ one
These are generally the most innocuous of the bunch. They will usually preface their advice with: ‘my advice, not that you asked for it, is…’. Their advice is usually helpful and the easiest to take, they also usually go through the trouble of explaining that it is just what worked for them and to feel free to ignore their advice as you see fit.
The ‘I know the right way to do everything’ one
These are the ones who have not only an opinion, but the ‘right’ opinion, of how things should be done and imply that you would be silly to not take their advice. They act like this unsolicited advice is the greatest favour one human being could bestow upon another because they are taking the time out of their day to pass on their wisdom. Also dismissive of any other way of doing things because they know the one, true path to winning at parenting.
The ‘I had a perfect baby and therefore can’t help you’ one
While similar to the right opinion giver above, this one didn’t have to try loads of different techniques, there was no trial and error, no issues to resolve. This one had the perfect baby and will remind you constantly. Common sayings include ‘I don’t have any advice for you because I didn’t have that problem’ or ‘I had a perfect pregnancy/labour/birth/baby/sleeper/eater’. Thoroughly unhelpful because they have succeeded in not only making you feel inadequate, but have also offered no advice.
The ‘don’t do what I did’ one
This one will tell you all the mistakes they made in raising their kids to help you not to make the same ‘mistakes’. Sometimes helpful, but will mostly make you feel overwhelmed at all the possible ways you can screw up your kids. Also they have no advice on what to do, only what not to do, which is definitely not the same thing and not really all that helpful.
The ‘I hate it when people give unsolicited advice, then gives unsolicited advice’ one
This is the worst of them all. The person who says ‘I hate it when people give unsolicited advice’ and then proceed to give you their own (completely unsolicited) advice. It’s annoying because they have just finished telling you how horrible it is when people do it, only to do it themselves and they lack the self-awareness to notice! Also their advice is usually the worst and most unhelpful.
The ‘I can see you’re struggling so I’ll share my experience’ one
This is usually only done by a person who knows you really well, who you trust and who you are happy to accept advice from. However, if someone who isn’t close to you tries this, it usually comes out badly. I have a few friends I will happily take unsolicited advice from all day long because they know me, know what I’m going through and will say things in a way that will not only make me listen but will also actually help. This type of advice is much always done in a loving and helpful way, and this is by far the best kind of unsolicited advice because it comes from a place of love and concern, and you’re in a position to actually make use of said advice.
What types of unsolicited advice givers do you know?
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