Everybody was in such a situation: a friend complains about the problem, wishing to be listened to, and we already have several solutions ready. Or maybe we see a problem that we don’t think the friend is fully aware of and want to draw attention to it to help solve it. However, despite our good intentions, the advice may not be acceptable or very useful. It is not worth giving uninvited advice, especially advice about someone’s romantic relationship – we explain why. Here are 3 reasons why unwelcome relationship advice can have unpleasant consequences:
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You undermine a person’s self-esteem
By giving advice, you indicate to the person that he or she is unable to solve the problem with the partner on his or her own. Even if you don’t talk about it directly, you still subconsciously feel superior and consider yourself an experienced friend. In this way, your relationship is put on an equal footing – not as partners, but as a teacher/student. Finally, such advice can also be seen as an attempt to control the recipient. In this way, it threatens his or her sense of independence.
If your advice is to criticize a friend’s partner, the advice is in a sense also criticized by the friend.
It can hurt your relationship
Unwanted advice not only causes the recipient to treat himself badly, but also causes him or her to treat his or her relationship with you badly. In the long run, ineffective support can reduce trust between the giver and recipient and actually harm your relationship. One reason for this is that getting support can make the recipient feel obliged, increasing the tension in the relationship. Providing unsolicited advice can also reduce the likelihood that the recipient will seek your advice in the future.
It is unlikely to help
You may think: “Of course, this advice is hard to follow, it may upset my friend or make him angry, but it is worth it because the advice will help. In fact, we are likely to give unsolicited advice to those with whom we feel closest to us, as these are the people we want to help the most and feel most comfortable helping. However, recipients of unsolicited advice often reject it, so your wonderful advice, made in good faith, is unlikely to be helpful. There are several reasons why this type of support is not effective: partly because support is most effective when it meets the recipient’s needs.