Thursday, March 7, 2013

Advice: Take it or Leave it

If you haven't noticed by now I'm one of those people.  You know the ones - always ready with a piece of advice whether you want it or not. 

Okay, so I'm not one of the worst kinds who offer advice even when it isn't asked for...  Yeah, maybe I am.  But I don't think I'm one of the pushy ones.

I like to think I only offer advice in cases where the person genuinely seems like they need it.  A gentleman gazing at the shelves next to me for a long enough period of time will elicit a 'can I help you find something?'  And if his reply is that he's looking for X, but doesn't know which brand to buy, I'll try to help.  If he says he doesn't need help, I leave him alone. 

The thing about advice is that the person on the receiving end can always take it or leave it.  I won't be offended - especially if the advice I'm offering was unasked for.  Hey, it's just my opinion and if you weren't interested in the first place, it's your choice to listen or not.  If you asked for my advice, and then ignore it entirely?  Well, that might get my undies in a twist a little.  But hey, that's the chance we both take in the advice game.

Do any of you ever watch those shows where an expert is called in to help a failing business?  Restaurant Impossible, Hotel Impossible, Tabitha's Salon Takeover, Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue... I love watching someone come in, takeover a business that's on the fast track to bankruptcy, and turn it around. Now there's some good advice on those shows.  Experts in their fields.  In those cases, it would be wise to listen when they talk - but even then, it's advice that can be taken or left.  Those that listen, thrive.  Those that don't?  You can usually check back on them 6 months later and find they went under.  :shrug:

Not that I'm saying my advice is anywhere close to expert.  Oh hell no.  I'm just out there giving tips, hints, suggestions on what might work for me.  If I tell you to do X, and it doesn't work, try Y.  I'm not infallible.

So, if you're out there wondering about something, don't be surprised if I jump in with my two cents.  Accept it or don't.  Your choice. 

What about you?  Are you an advice giver?  Do you ask for advice or do you hint around that you might need advice and hope someone jumps in?  And if someone gives you unasked for advice, what do you do?


  1. a general rule, I try to keep my advice to myself unless asked for it. For two reasons:

    1) I'm well-aware I don't know much, let alone everything

    2) I think advice can only do someone good if they're willing to listen to it, so the chance of unsolicited advice will probably fall on deaf ears anyway.

    I can never understand why the business owners are so resistant on those shows (except it makes for good TV). Why ask for help if you just want to continue with your failing status quo??

  2. Good advice on giving advice, JB. ;o)

    My thoughts exactly on those business owners.

  3. Advice is an edged weapon. If someone asks me for advice, I give it. If they ask my opinion, I give it. Otherwise, I play things pretty close to my chest. I find this to especially be true when it comes to writing. Don't ask me for a critique if *generic* you just want a feel good gloss-over of how talented you think you are. Conversely, when I ask for one, I expect a hard-nosed shredding of my work. THAT'S how I get better. I'm lucky that my CP and I are on the same page there.

    On the other hand, if someone is standing in a store looking clueless, I'll offer help, though I try to offer choices within my opinion so the receiver can make up their own mind.

    Interesting topic today. :)

  4. If I have a real life experience to a problem, I'll share that. They can see it as advice if they like, but really it's just a story of what I did in a specific situation.