Unsolicited Advice

Monday, September 02, 2013

I am so behind with this but my computer was off being repaired and took way longer than expected and had all my info on it.

This is my latest column from the Geelong Advertiser on August 17th

So I walked into a well known café in Geelong recently and ordered a tea. I am not a coffee drinker so I take my tea quite seriously. Mug warmed, strong and FULL cream milk.  The guy serving me said they don’t have full cream to which I showed my very surprised non poker face. He told me that skinny milk is better for me. Really!!!!! Was he also not going to serve me a full fat muffin or slice for the same reason if I wanted one?

This is not the first time it has happened either. When I used to have equal I was once told “don’t you know its poison?” Perhaps I should ask them for relationship advice as well. Next time I am going to ask for it and see what happens.

Unsolicited advice or comments are not always welcomed with smiles especially from strangers.

It is no secret that I am not the slimmest person around and I do work hard at trying to be but I absolutely can’t stand when people say “Have you lost weight? You look great” when in fact I have put on 10 kilos. One of my friends recently replied to someone “no, but thank you for remembering me so much fatter that I really am” because that is exactly how it feels. Can’t help but laugh at that great come back.

The same goes for people commenting on how skinny someone is. I have friends who want to be a little fleshier, they try but just cant and someone commenting on it only makes them feel worse.

Unless I am positively, absolutely sure someone has made a change for the better I just don’t mention it and opt for “you look great’ instead and then they will often tell me themselves whether they have reached some kind of accomplishment. We humans are sensitive souls and sometimes we need to tread lightly on sensitive issues. Can you imagine walking up to someone with a big nose/ears/breasts saying “wow, is your _____ smaller?” Somehow weight is open slather.

There are times when I really want to give unsolicited advice but it’s just not in me to do so. In the past few weeks I have seen 2 women smoking whilst being heavily pregnant. It took all that I had not to go up and say anything. Even my kids were shocked and it opened up discussion in the car on the way home. We know smoking is bad for you, not to mention the unborn child, there is no argument there but why would I want to go into it with a total stranger? However the jury is still out on whether low fat is good for you or just a big con so perhaps people especially business owners needs to learn to mind their manners.

When you care for someone deeply and see them doing something that you know is bad for them like smoking or being in a bad relationship it’s hard not to throw your opinion into the ring but really we all know change is not going to happen until they want it to happen, until the intent is there. When they open up to you and ask you for advice then go for it and support them all the way.

While some people give unsolicited advice out of a genuine desire to help, others do so to validate their own point of view. With an acquaintance or stranger I think you are better to just think it in your head and back away slowly.

Don’t even get me started on unsolicited advice to do with parenting, there is a mine field right there. I am sure any parent would agree they have experienced it more than once. 

You didn’t breastfeed, you know your baby is not getting all it needs
Childcare can be really damaging you know
You are not giving your child a soft drink are you?
Don’t you think little Timmy should be in bed now?

And so it goes.
Like Chrissie and Jane on Mix 101.1 say……“how very dare you?”

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