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April 30, 2007 / missknowitall

How To Handle Too Much Advice

Dear Little Miss,

I know that you are in the business of giving advice, so my question may seem a bit funny to you.  I am a newly-wed and have just found out that I am expecting.  When we were getting married, my husband and I received a lot, and I mean a lot, of unasked-for advice.  We even had a stranger give us sexual advice in a grocery store one time.  I thought all that was bad, but now that people know I am pregnant I am getting double the advice.  I am also part of a rather large family and every time we announce anything we are guaranteed hours and hours of unwanted advice.  Is there anyway that I can avoid all these do-gooders’ comments?  And how do I handle really rude advice?  Please help me before I start advising them as to where they can put their advice.

Signed, Avoiding Advice

Dear Avoiding Advice,

Sounds like you are almost at your breaking point with this one.  I’d hate to be the next unsuspecting do-gooder to open my mouth =).  This is why advice columnists often choose to remain anonymous.  Advice from strangers can easily be remedied.  If strangers feel they can give you advice it usually means you have given them too much personal information to begin with.  If someone sees you kissing your hubby in the grocery line and you blush and say “Sorry, we are newly-weds”, then you have pretty much invited them to comment.  So, stop giving them information.  As your belly grows you may receive advice no matter how quiet you are, and in those instances you can either smile and say, “Good idea, I’m going to do that!” and just forget what they said or you can clutch your mouth and run away like you are about to loose your lunch.  Family members, however, are pretty much guaranteed to give you advice every time you see them.  Generally, I tell people to just quietly listen to all the advice they get, because you never know when some of that advice will come in handy.  If it makes you feel any better, you can be assured that any family member who is giving you advice has probably had their fare share of unwanted advice heaped upon them too, and now they are just completing their part of the vicious advice cycle.  If advice ever becomes blatantly rude, demeaning, or insinuating your best bet is to gasp, clutch at your chest and with wide eyes say, “Did you just say what I think you just said?”, then shake your head and smile while saying, “Oh, I’m sure you didn’t.  I must be hearing things.  If you’ll excuse me I’m going to go get a drink of water”.  Then get up and leave them alone and feeling foolish with their nasty advice.  

Do-goodingly yours,

Miss Knowitall 

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