Business Owner Doesn't Want Unsolicited Advice
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm getting sick of my friends and colleagues giving me unwanted advice. I started my own business a little while ago, and I didn't ask anyone for help because I didn't want any help. Since the early phases of starting my business, I've received a lot of advice that I didn't ask for. Most of the time, the people who offer their advice do not have their own business and have no experience dealing with the stuff that I work on. I know that they mean well, and I don't want to sound rude by rejecting their advice, but for some reason, it does offend me that people think I need it in the first place. I only need advice from people who are in a better position than me. What should I say to my friends who constantly offer their two cents? -- Annoyed
DEAR ANNOYED: Rather than sharply asking them to quit it with the advice, take a more diplomatic approach. Thank them for thinking about you, and keep it moving. Believe it or not, every now and then a layperson may have a great idea, so you shouldn't close yourself off entirely from their thoughts. But you can stay neutral. Just say thank you and change the subject if they go on too long. Ask them questions about their work, family or other interests. People love to talk about themselves, so this often will get them out of your business and back into their own. When they go on too long, you can draw the line and tell them you have listened to all that you can for now. There may come a time, too, when you have to tell them that you appreciate how much they care about you, but that their constant analysis of your business is not helpful.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend got a new job, and she's been driving me crazy by talking about it constantly. I understand that it's a stressful job and it takes a lot of her time, but she's becoming a bit obsessive. Whenever we speak, we talk about her work, her boss, her co-workers or her salary. I'm getting bored of it, honestly. I feel guilty because I will dodge her phone calls on purpose just to avoid talking about her job.
She's a great friend and I love her dearly, but the constant work talk is starting to make me draw back a little. I know that I can't keep avoiding her. I don't want to hurt her feelings by telling her she can't talk about her job with me. She's needed this job for a while, and I'm proud of her -- but enough is enough. Should I say something to her? -- Bored BFF
DEAR BORED BFF: There's a chance that your friend may see for herself that she is going overboard with work talk. You can compassionately tell her that while you are thrilled that she got this job, after work hours you would like to talk about other things. When she starts in on a story, interrupt and tell her you would like to tell her a story. Introduce new ideas to the conversation, including family, friends, fitness or dating. Tell her you miss your conversations when you talked about everything. Encourage her to take a deep breath and allow herself to think beyond this new work opportunity. If she refuses, you may have to keep her at a distance for a while.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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