Do you ever get frustrated with people who suggest a “quick fix” solution for losing weight?
• “If you want to lose weight, you have to stop eating sugar.”
• “I lost weight using products that will change your life. Buy my products now.”
• “All you need is more willpower.”
I hate it when this happens. As someone who has lost and gained large amounts of weight many times, I know from experience that losing weight isn’t a one-size-fits-all challenge.
Unsolicited advice, regardless of how well-intended it may be, usually comes across as criticism.
How do you feel when someone tries to “fix” you with uninvited input? If it’s not weight loss, maybe it’s telling you how to:
• Feed your children.
• Spend your money.
• Resolve relational challenges.
How do you respond when someone tries to fix you?
I used to have one of two extreme responses, depending on who was talking to me. Do either of these sound familiar?
• Do nothing and act like it’s not bothering you, even though it does, and then later (maybe many weeks later) you blow up.
• React defensively and aggressively in the moment. Then later you wish you hadn’t.
Learning to become honest with the right people at the right time has been empowering. It’s helped me to not hear food calling my name when I start feeling irritated.
Here are several response options to someone trying to fix you with their advice. Experiment to find what works best for you.
Respond in the moment
If you are talking with someone who tends to react in a positive manner when challenged, choose a simple response.
For example, “Thanks for caring. I’ve got that area of my life covered.”
If you are talking to someone who has a history of not listening to you and even becoming defensive, it’s helpful to have a conversation later.
Be sure to initiate the conversation another time; don’t let it go.
For some situations, I choose my battles, viewing it as their issue and not mine.
For example, with someone I will probably not see again, I often decide to let it go.
If it’s still bothering me, I either journal or talk to someone else about how I am feeling.
Choose Your Response
So, the next time someone offers unsolicited advice meant to fix you, remember: you can learn to choose your response.
These questions will help:
• Is there a history of the person responding positively when challenged? If so, respond honestly in the moment.
• Is there a history of the person responding defensively or aggressively in the moment when challenged? If so, choose a better time to have a conversation about the impact of their advice.
• Is this a relationship with no future? If so, journal or talk about it later with someone else.
One Small Win: Be intentional about practicing these responses. You’ll be glad that you did.
What’s your typical response when someone offers you unsolicited advice?
Mary Lou Caskey trains Christian coaches and communicators to influence hearts through the power of story. If you want to become a transformative storyteller, click here to connect with Mary Lou and get her free quiz, “Is It the Best Time to Share a Personal Story?”
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