Today, I want to talk about a tough subject in the crafting world. We don’t talk about it too often, because people don’t want to seem mean or “ungrateful”, but we should. Today I want to talk about unsolicited advice.
“Unsolicited advice is always self serving.”- Amy Dickinson
The word “unsolicited” means “not asked for; given or done voluntarily”. Now, sometimes, unsolicited advice can be a good thing, for example, you may have made a spelling error in a project and you didn’t notice it, and you wouldn’t want to send a product to the customer with spelling or punctuation errors, right? However, most cases don’t turn out that way. I deal with unsolicited advice A LOT. As an admin of multiple Facebook groups (3, possibly 4), people like to give their input on how our groups should be run. We always listen to suggestions, though we may not take all of them, because most of our rules or guidelines are written the way they are for a specific reason. Certain things may have happened in the past that may have caused us to need new rules or for us to throw out old ones. The list is ever changing, and really, a good group or business needs to be able to grow and evolve to cater to the masses of the community or their members. Sometimes, when groups grow quickly, they go through “growing pains” of sorts and a few new members realize that the group may not be a great fit for them. It happens. That is life. But what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.
“To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that he doesn’t know what to do or can’t do it on his own.”- John Gray
Enough about my groups. Let’s talk about how you can try to deal with unsolicited advice when in a group, or at a craft show, or even from your mother-in-law. HA! It happens to the best of us. So how do we handle it? It is easy to go through a small whirlwind of emotions in just a few moments when it happens (you can become offended, then angry, then sad, etc) so the number one suggestion I have is… Kill Them With Kindness. I actually wrote an entire song about this back in my high school days and I swear it could have been a hit!
One of the most diplomatic ways to handle advice given when you didn’t actually ask for it is….. “Thank you for your suggestion! I will consider if that is the right option for me!” Not only are you actually acknowledging that you heard the person, but you are making a stand by basically saying “What works for you, may not work for me”. This is my go-to option for the constant advice given about some of my wood signs that I have made.
You could also just be downright honest and say, “I’m so happy that that works for you, but this is how I prefer to do it.” This is helpful when people are pushy about doing things THEIR way.
Then there is the not-so-diplomatic but very honest option of “I am not going to do that.” If you want to shut someone down and get your point across, that is the most plain-and-simple way to do it.
At the end of the day, we all just need to remember that opinions are like anuses.. everyone has one and they all stink. It is what we choose to do with our opinions that makes the difference! Do we want to compliment someone and their work and make them feel good, or do we want to point out all of the flaws in someone and their hard work? We don’t want our unsolicited advice to land on deaf ears and/or make people angry. If you really feel the need to give someone advice when they haven’t asked for it, remember to always start AND end with a compliment, and NEVER criticize.
Hopefully this has helped someone out there realize that it is not always okay to give unsolicited advice, or maybe it helped someone figure out how to deal with it when they receive it!
Now go out there and make beautiful things and give at least ONE (or more) other person a great compliment instead of unsolicited advice!