Social Graces: How To Reject Someone’s Unsolicited Advice

By Christen A. Johnson Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Ok, we've all been there. You know this person has your best interest at heart but frankly, you didn't ask his or her opinion. Here's how to SHUT IT DOWN!

Chicago Tribune

Q: A friend gives you unsolicited advice about something you shared, but you don't care for her attempted concern. How do you reject the advice without seeming dismissive?

A: Make it clear that you're rejecting the advice. There's an art to doing it in a firm, polite manner: Express that you're going to act according to your values and that the situation is something you need to think about. It's important that your next move be right for you, even if it isn't right for your friend.

You might say, "I appreciate your desire to weigh in on this, but I'm not looking for any input right now. I am going to need to take some time to think about what's best for me without the influence of other people." That will show your friend that you aren't interested in hearing advice from anyone, not just your friend.

Expressing your desire to do what's right for you isn't about insulting your friend; it's that you need to choose your own path based on your beliefs and your circumstances. -Amy Morin, author of "13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do"

A: If you're hoping to vent without triggering someone's advice mechanism, say, "Can I rant to you about something? I'm not actually looking for input, just a sympathetic sounding board." And your confidants can listen and say, "That sounds so hard!" instead of, "You should totally write him out of your will."

Remember that the advice was most likely offered in good faith. You can appreciate it even if the content didn't suit you. "Thank you so much for your input," you might say. My 16-year-old daughter often says, "Yeah. I'm not going to do that. But I understand that's what you would do."

Bad advice can illuminate how you actually want to address your issue. When someone says something that feels off, it might help you reset your own internal compass. On the other hand, advice that really rubs you the wrong way should cue you to consider if your interlocutor might, in fact, be right. -Catherine Newman, etiquette expert and "Modern Manners" columnist for Real Simple ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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