6 September 2018
I get a lot of unsolicited advice.
I’m grateful that people around the world are willing to spend their time giving me unsolicited advice. I’m glad that they care, and in most cases, the advice comes from a good place. I understand that giving advice feels good.
But, to be honest, there are times when I’m looking for advice…and times when I’m not looking for advice. In fact, usually when I post a blog entry or a YouTube video, I end it with a question to set the tone for the conversation I’m interested in having. Yet inevitably someone will chime in with advice directed specifically at me instead of just joining the conversation. It’s a little weird.
How Often Do You Give Unsolicited Advice?
I think, though, that it’s important to be aware of how often we’re giving unsolicited advice. I’ve had times in my life with specific people where I just got in a habit of replying to everything they said with advice. When I finally became aware of it, I was disappointed in myself. I had somehow turned a friendship into an ongoing counseling session.
However, something happened the other day that inspired this blog entry. I had just finished recording a podcast with someone, and that person said, “Hey, can I give you some unsolicited advice?” He proceeded to give me a great tip about this website.
I came very close to missing out on some good advice simply because I didn’t ask for it. While I ask for advice quite frequently, but it’s almost always very targeted to a specific person/group and about a very specific topic. This was different, as I should have identified that I was talking to a really sharp person, and I should have said, “Do you have any general advice for me?” Or something like that. I should have opened the door instead of requiring them to knock.
I Am Soliciting Your Advice Today
Today I’d like to open the comments to unsolicited advice. I’m requesting advice from anyone about anything, as long as you post it publicly in the comments below. You can give me advice about this blog/website, my games, my company, social media, my YouTube channel, me personally, etc. Any topic is eligible, though this isn’t an opportunity to flat-out insult me. I may be a receptacle today, but not a punching bag.
I almost didn’t do this because it seems self-serving, which is the opposite goal of this blog in general–it’s here to give you value, not me. But I think there’s value in what I wrote about above (being aware of giving unsolicited advice and of how often you ask people for open advice), and I hope there’s value in what I’ll say next.
How to Give Advice
For me and for most people, if you want to increase the chances that I’ll really hear the advice and take it to heart, there’s a bad way to give it and a good way to give it. I write about this in detail here, but below is a quick summary:
An example of the bad way is: “Your writing sucks.”
This really isn’t even advice. It’s just an opinion, and it lacks detail, compassion, examples, and actionable steps.
Here’s an example of a good way: “Hey Jamey, I’ve really been enjoying your blog. However, I think sometimes the articles are too long, especially when I’m reading them on my phone. For example, your post on Monday took me 20 minutes to read. Have you thought about breaking up longer articles into smaller segments?”
This includes the following:
- Conveying that my intentions are good.
- Sharing my opinion as an opinion (potentially making it about you).
- Providing an example.
- Giving my advice as an actionable option.
So this is it–an open forum to give me advice. I promise that I will read every comment, and I am truly open to acting on any advice posted here. Though, to safeguard you against the fear of a defensive reply, I’m not going to reply to the advice presented here–I’m just going to read it and think about it. THANK YOU, though, for taking the time to share your insights with me today.
Also, if someone else comments with advice that you agree or disagree with, feel free to reply to their comment to reinforce it (or disagree politely).
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