5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Giving Unsolicited Advice
Last updated: September 2021
Whether it’s a stranger, a friend, a family member, or someone who just randomly commented on your post online, getting unsolicited advice is no longer new in the chronic illness community.
First, let me get this straight.
Not all advice is disrespectful, because some are helpful and insightful. Advice becomes unsolicited when it’s not asked for, when it’s repeatedly given, and when it’s being forced to and imposed on another person.
More than the fact that it’s offensive, intrusive and it crosses a person’s boundaries, here are the following reasons why we beg you to please stop giving us advice, solutions, and opinions that we did not ask for:
We want you to empathize instead
I know, you just want to help. But really, the best way to be of help is to just be there. Be present. Sometimes, our loved ones overthink too much and they can’t seem to figure out what we want from them. When in reality, what we really need is their emotional support and to know that we are being understood.
Sometimes, I don’t want a solution to the problem
Have you considered that maybe I don’t want anyone to try to solve my problems for me? I'm not rushing to you because I'm seeking a rational solution. Me sharing a tiny portion of what makes me worry is not an invitation for you to give unsolicited advice. Sometimes, I just want to feel supported and validated. Surprisingly, this is more than enough already.
You don't know my illness more than I do
This is my body, this is my illness. I am the one who’s struggling, not you. I am the one who has tried all of the different treatments, medications, and products, not you. This is my life. And you don’t have the right to shove your opinions at me without my permission.
I just want you to listen
Sometimes, I just want someone to talk to because sharing my grief makes things lighter. I just want someone who would just listen, without being judged and ridiculed, and without having to worry about getting an offensive response. I just want to put my guard down completely, and release all of my worries to get things off of my shoulder.
You’re making me feel like I’m not doing enough
More than the fact that you’re making me feel like you know me and my body more than I do, you’re also making me feel inadequate. You’re making me feel like I’m not trying hard enough, when in fact I am giving my best, I am giving everything that I possibly can.
Support makes all the difference
It's not your responsibility to save me, it's not your duty to make me feel better. And although I know that I need help and that I couldn’t totally do everything on my own, it would be best if you'd try to understand that the best way to help me is to just be the support system that I need to get through this.
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