“I understand why you’re doing it but have you truly considered the costs?” a well meaning family member messages me.
Although I know that their concern is coming from a good place, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit resentful at their question, as if they have assumed that we haven’t spent months crunching the numbers to make sure we can afford this life-changing decision.
I haven’t told many people about our decision to buy a house until we hear about the mortgage decision (isn’t it funny how it’s so much easier to share details about your life online?) but those we have told fall into two camps: delighted and apprehensive.
So how does one react when faced with unsolicited advice from loved ones? Here’s a couple of things that have worked for us so far.
Acknowledge their intentions are good
If you know that their intentions are good, but misguided, acknowledge that you appreciate their concern. They may have been in a similar situation and wanted to share their experiences to help you out. This does not mean you need to do as they say.
Consider their points
Think about the person giving the advice. Do they have substantial experience in what they’re advising you about? Could they give you a different perspective on the matter? It’s good to be open to advice as it can challenge you to consider whether you really are taking the best course of action. We did stop and reconsider our decisions when it was first mentioned as the person had brought up valid arguments. We evaluated our position and it helped us consolidate our feeling that we were doing the right thing.
Change the subject
“Okay, thank you for sharing. Hey, did you catch the final episode of GLOW?” Sometimes people give unsolicited advice as a way of starting conversations. Redirect the conversation in a direction you’re happy to go.
Assert your boundaries
We haven’t yet reached this point but if a person continues to not take the hint, you will eventually need to say something along the lines of “Thank you for thinking of us but we aren’t looking for advice about this right now”. This is a difficult step but a necessary one if the topic keeps coming up.
Have you ever had to field unsolicited advice from loved ones? How did you handle it?