Not having a car in LA means that most of my days I have to take uber or lyft to get around. I tend to get car sick so I often sit in the front seat and this opens up an opportunity for my drivers to ask me many questions. I totally get it, most people treat these drivers like they would a taxi driver or bus driver and don’t dive into dialogue other than basic chit chat. The first questions are usually related to what I do or where I’m going. Over the last few weeks I have been prepping for my upcoming wedding by taking classes at a local yoga studio (Set and Flow if you're interested! I highly recommend!) so naturally the conversation leads to why I’m doing yoga and how I like it. Throughout this dialogue I have been advised to try the “lemonade” diet (this is not a Beyonce diet either...it’s a version of the master cleanse I guess) and to download an “anorexia” app (not an actual anorexia app, but those were the words it was presented to me by). This is when I started paying attention, not because I was interested in the suggestions but because I was startled to think who else gets this kind of advice.
Unsolicited advice can come from anyone about anything. “You should try this because it worked for me” is a statement that I tend to be wary of because of many different reasons:
#1 - Unless you are a professional or are licensed, advising someone by using words like “should” can be a little shameful or forceful. If it’s just a suggestion, make that clear. There are some days that I am feeling super confident and other days I could be more sensitive which is how most people are. It’s normal for us to fluctuate because each day is different and that’s okay. Being mindful of potentially shameful verbiage is important and can help get your message across in a more receptive way.
#2 - What works for me may not work for you. Giving up gluten and sugar is a sure way for my skin to clear up, but because of other physical symptoms I experience I don’t give the advice to copy my skin clearing tips. Instead, I share my story and how I found success with it. I’m a totally different person with a unique set of genes that are only mine, so my body chemistry works with some formulas and not others. Reading blogs, googling advice and asking friends for advice is great if you take it with a grain of salt. I have had to correct reactions, irritations and damaged skin because of this unsolicited advice. If a suggestion resonates with you, make sure to double check with your professional to see if it’s a workable formula for you.
#3 - Keep it kind! If you’re going to give advice regardless of expertise, make sure it’s positive. A suggestion in one’s appearance or health care can be taken completely the wrong way unless it’s swayed in a positive way. “You need to try this yoga class, I’ve lost so much weight from it” could make someone feel as if you are suggesting that they may need to lose weight. Try “I think you would love this yoga class, I have been really enjoying my results from it” because it gives you ownership of the statement while still making a positive suggestion.
At the end of the day, I doubt any uber drivers mean any harm. As a professional in a field that deals with one of the most vulnerable aspects of our physical and emotional well being I try to care for everyone’s feelings as if they were my own. I hope this helps shed light on how you could approach advice giving and how to respectfully accept the intention of unsolicited advice.
xo - Hayley