Why Unsolicited Opinions Are The Worst Kind Of Arseholes

“Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past. From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts; and recycling it for more than it’s worth.” – Baz Luhrman, Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen).

It’s been said that opinions are like arseholes – everybody’s got one. Unsolicited opinions, then, are by far the worst kind.

RELATED: How To Handle Unwanted Parenting Advice

Many a family relationship is strained by one person giving constant unwanted and unsolicited advice to another; sure, the person might mean well, but there’s nothing like feeling undermined and disrespected in your own home. In addition, it’s all too common for complete strangers to dispense unnecessary and unwelcome parenting advice in public, as though you needed it.

Common scenario one: You’re a busy working mum grappling with two toddlers – one of whom, gasp, has a dummy in her mouth – at a shopping centre. Call the child protection agency! Said two-year-old rarely has her dummy, but on this particular day, she’s woken up on the wrong side of the bed, and you don’t have the heart for a long battle to separate her from her beloved pacifier.

Unsolicited advice crime against humanity: A middle-aged woman, whom you catch sight of staring at you and your children disapprovingly, while you’re both in the supermarket fruit and veg section, freely and loudly scolds you about your parenting failures. “She’s a bit old to have a dummy, isn’t she? Careful – she might still want it when she’s 21!” says she, with a superior air. “Have you tried giving her lollies to suck on or apple juice…”

unwanted opinions, unsolicited advice, relationships

Common scenario two: You and your husband are discussing an important issue in the kitchen, when your mother-in-law enters the room.

Unsolicited advice crime against humanity: Your MIL has heard approximately three seconds of the conversation, but feels qualified to offer her very unwanted advice on the issue, without knowing any of the background on it. She’s staying with you in your house and feels it necessary to offer constant, annoying and unwanted advice on everything from how you cook, clean, parent your children and even make the damned bed.

How about shut the f*** up?! Look, I get that people want to help – indeed they like to think they’re doing so. But unless you specifically ask for their advice, I think it’s far kinder for people to just keep their mouths shut. And unless you’ve got something nice to say, zip it. Please – for the sake of humanity! No one wants your unsolicited opinions.

I try my best to live by the same credo – a far nicer thing to do, I find, is ask loved ones how they are. And if you’re the dreaded unwanted advice giver in your family, try giving yourself a gentle uppercut every time you find yourself about to start a sentence with “You should…”

unwanted opinions, unsolicited advice, relationships

What’s more, if you’re a stranger at the supermarket about to dispense some highly unwanted and unsolicited advice to me, look out; for so tired and worn-out am I by my toddlers, I may attempt to run you over with my double pram. I don’t want or need your advice, so please get out of my way. You’ve been warned unsolicited advice givers!

What do you think? How do you combat unsolicited opinions?

Images via someecards.com, kikiandtea.com, popsugar.com

Why Men Don’t Listen And Offer Unsolicited Advice

If you’ve ever felt like your man is indeed from another planet – nay galaxy far, far away – you’re not alone, sister.

RELATED: Communications Skills For Healthy Relationships

Just recently, a best friend and I bemoaned the fact that our husbands were, at times, frustratingly highly skilled at offering unsolicited advice, but were far less capable listeners. Why can’t men just shut the f*** up and listen? Why do they have to offer solutions when you’ve never sought them? It’s an age-old relationship problem psychologists have long counselled couples about. So, why are men’s and women’s relationship needs so different?

Relationship experts say generally speaking, when we women have a problem, we usually want to sit down with a friend or their partner and talk about the issues, mull it over, express our feelings about the problem and receive empathy and encouragement. Above all, we just want to feel listened to and heard. Only after we’ve received this support do we want to move into problem solving, receiving advice and discussing solutions.

So, we women often become really frustrated and annoyed with our male partners when we try to talk with them about a problem, because men just seem to want to jump straight in with solutions and unsolicited advice. How many times has your loved one, bless him, said something like: “If you just do it like this…” or “You should have just done what I told you…” Gah!

relationships, listening skills, relationship advice


However, clinical psychologists do concede many men are also bad listeners, cutting straight to problem solving when you just want to talk and feel listened to. And some men feel compelled to offer unsolicited advice for no reason; when you are actually more than capable of dealing with the situation by yourself. So, why do they do this?

For some, it may be a form of chauvinism, with the underlying belief that you as a woman can’t cope without their help and guidance. Grrr! Others may be well-meaning and genuinely want to help, jumping in with solutions and advice too quickly. Which category does your man fit into?

Another part of the puzzle is that relationship experts say men are genetically programmed to be problem solvers; and problem-solving behaviour rather than exploring feelings and motivations is encouraged in the majority of boys as they grow up.

relationships, listening skills, relationship advice

The solution? They say to try encouraging our partners to be better listeners by explaining to them we’d really just like to talk about our problem and have him pay attention to us and really understand before he comes up with solutions. What’s more, we may have to gently remind him of this each time we want to talk about a problem. Sigh.

But if this doesn’t work, and if the man in your life continues to jump in too soon with solutions and unsolicited advice, you could try:

a) Punching him in the arm (er, just kidding) or
b) Talking to the women in your life for the empathy and understanding that you need, then…
c) When you’re ready to address the problem, talk to the man in your life for solutions to your problem.

relationships, listening skills, relationship advice

Intimate relationships sure aren’t easy at times, but hopefully the bargaining will pay off. What do you think? Why don’t men listen to women and offer unsolicited advice?

Images via listcult.com, kikiandtea.com, huffingtonpost.com, someecards.com