Welcome to another Thursday UNFILTERED blog post, the only blog that never gives unsolicited advice.
Last week, I talked about a major problem that sabotages relationships. If you’re having trouble with any relationship, you’ll want to check it out. And perhaps read it twice.
Based on the response, the problem I addressed is far bigger than I thought. So thanks for all the feedback.
Before we get into today’s subject, I want to talk about the current pandemic.
I don’t know about you, but it’s now hitting close to home. I have a very good friend who caught COVID along with his family. And it’s been difficult for them.
According to a recent study, depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide are on the rise since the pandemic.
Back in April, I wrote and self-published a robust “Survival Guide” for the pandemic which mainly focuses on how to survive it emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
I decided to give it away without charge. Although many read and loved it (based on testimonials), relatively few shared the link with their friends and urged them to get a copy.
Two of my peers (one a pastor and the other a scholar) published books on the pandemic for sale.
Regrettably, if something is without charge, it’s taken for granted and not valued, no matter how good it is.
I believe my Survival Guide would have helped more people if I sold it. Sad but true.
Anyways, I have no intention on selling it now or in the future. So if you are new to my list and haven’t downloaded it yet, go to frankviola.org/svg.
The link to share with your friends is at the beginning of the guide.
Now on to today’s subject.
I want to introduce you to another relationship destroyer, especially when it comes to friendships.
It is offering unsolicited advice.
(I’m talking about to fellow adults, not your crumb snatchers or your underage children. Nor to employees or those who have paid you for coaching.)
Ever since I’ve been a believer, I’ve met people who regularly offered unsolicited advice to others.
They’d often couch it in terms of “God told me” or “God put this on my heart,” or worst of all, “this is for your encouragement” – (yea, right).
Sometimes it would manifest itself when a prayer request was made.
Example: Melvin writes an email to his friends saying, “I’m requesting prayer for my Aunt Nina’s hangnail. Please keep her in your prayers. Pray for me too because I’m losing sleep over it.”
One of Melvin’s friends, Joe — a man who is highly confident in his own opinions and his ability to “hear God” — responds saying,
“Hey Mel. I’ve been praying for your Aunt Nina and for you, and here’s what I encourage you both to do …”
Excuse me Joe, but Melvin never asked for your advice. He simply asked for your prayers.
The advice was unsolicited.
In the vast majority of cases I’ve seen where unsolicited advice was given, the advice was off target. Sometimes by a country mile.
It was built on inaccurate assumptions.
So you’d be wise to only give people advice when they ask for it.
“But Frank, what if God gives me a piece of wisdom to help someone?”
If you think the Lord has genuinely shown you something about another person or their situation, use that knowledge to pray more intelligently.
If the Lord REALLY wants you to give them advice, do one of two things:
- Ask Him to put on that person’s heart the desire to reach out to you and ask for your input.
- Simply ask the person, “Can I share a piece of advice with you?”
If they say, “sure, share it” – then this becomes solicited advice. So freely give your advice, for they’ve given you permission. But attach no expectations to their response.
If they decline – don’t judge their motivations or take it personally. If you do, you’re being outcome dependent — the relationship sabotager we spoke about last week.
In short, if you give people unsolicited advice, don’t be surprised if some of your friends pull back from you.
Pressure is a relationship killer, and unsolicited advice often puts pressure on people, whether you intend it or not.
By the way, since you’re subscribed to my email list, you’re giving me permission to give you advice every Thursday. And I just gave it. 🙂
Until next week,
P.S. If you’re not subscribed to my Thursday UNFILTERED updates, you can subscribe here. It’s free and comes with a dozen Super Fire Hot Wings … the kind you can only eat after you sign a set of release forms.