Emma loved her boyfriend and enjoyed giving him lots of pointers and tips to make his life better. She often told her boyfriend things like,
- “You really need to put the dishes in your dishwasher this way.”
- “You should only call your mom once every two weeks. You’re way too big of a mama’s boy.
- “You let your gas tank get down to 1/4 of a tank? You should fill up at 1/2 a tank if you really want to be safe.”
- “You need to tell your boss to fire Angela. She’s so annoying. Your life would be a lot easier.”
- “You should brush your teeth twice per day for at least two minutes.”
- “You better clean your bathroom every other day.”
Unsolicited Advice Is Usually Unwelcome
Unsolicited advice means advice someone gives you that you did not request or seek. You’ve probably been the recipient of this kind of advice:
- From extended family or friends:
- “You really just need to go ahead and find a guy and settle down.”
- “You shouldn’t wear shorts like that.”
- “You should go back to college if you want to amount to anything.”
- “I think you need to lose a few pounds.”
- From random strangers:
- “That’s not how you should select a cantaloupe.”
- “Your car isn’t parked properly between the lines. Need me to park your car for you?”
Most Men Appreciate This Kind of Advice More
The truth is, people appreciate advice they seek out. They don’t really tend to value advice that someone just blurts out when they weren’t looking for someone’s opinion or help.
Men, especially, don’t tend to get excited about other people giving them a lot of unasked for counsel. (Most adults don’t like this, honestly. Men or women.)
Many times, we don’t need to provide commentary on other grown adults’ choices and life-decisions. If they ask us for advice, that’s different. Or if they are truly in danger and don’t realize it, we may need to speak up. But even in those times when we need to say something, we can be respectful and polite.
- “I have a concern I’d like to share with you about X if that is okay with you.”
- “May I have permission to speak into your life?”
- “Would you like to know a tip about how you can get your dishes cleaner?”
There are emergencies when we need to just step in if we see something dangerous is about to happen.
- “Quick, duck! You’re about to get hit in the back of the head!”
But most of the time, we can keep our opinions to ourselves, especially when we feel tempted to say things like:
- “You should do this…”
- “You better do this…”
- “You need to do that…”
Friendly Suggestions and Requests Are Better
Instead of dictating things to your guy, or others, try making respectful requests or suggestions, instead.
- “Would you please do X for me?”
- “I’d love it if we could do Y.”
- “This makes me nervous, could we try that instead, please?”
- “Would you like to hear an idea I just had?”
- “I’d really like to do Z.”
Added Bonus—Healthier Relationships
The awesome thing is, as you refrain from sharing advice your guy really doesn’t value, he will likely value your opinions and insights even more and come to you asking for your thoughts.
Then when you share, respectfully, of course, he will want to hear what you say and is more likely to carefully consider your words and ideas. This leads to greater trust, attraction, and connection.
You don’t give up power when you don’t constantly blurt out advice he doesn’t want or need. You gain his respect. Then he gives you a place of much greater influence in his life.
We Need God’s Wisdom in Whether to Speak Up or Not
It can get confusing. We definitely need the wisdom of God and His discernment. Sometimes we don’t need to say anything. Other times, it is important that we speak up.
I have a video up today on this topic, too, with some different examples. Sometimes it helps to hear and see tone of voice and facial expressions, as well.
We should have an important voice in our relationships. But we can do that in a way that is respectful and honoring to our guys and to the Lord. It just takes a bit of learning, practice, and the power of the Lord.
Respect Basics – VIDEO