It’s been two months since I published my last blog post. Wow. Since then, I’ve been line-dancing, writing, quilting, and apparently, meddling. That’s not something I registered for, but I’ve joined the club.
If you know me at all, you probably aren’t surprised. Maybe you’ve even witnessed or been the beneficiary of my unsolicited advice. With my vast fount of knowledge (cough, cough) based on my life experiences, well, why wouldn’t I want to use it to help others? Because that was my intent, seriously.
I misinterpreted a conversation, and thought this slightly older, much wiser, and far more culturally diverse new friend would benefit from my wisdom. Why wouldn’t she?
Instead, it came out as meddling. How do I know I overstepped? She, ever-so-diplomatically told me so. It was a softer version of “Butt out. When I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it.”
Has this ever happened to you? It’s an easy line to cross. Just like:
Listening and fixing. Supporting and enabling. Advising and doing. Serving and needing. Teaching and taking over.
Can you think of others?
Perhaps it took a move to a retirement community to make me realize just how many of us are specialists in unsolicited opinions and advice. I suppose it comes with age and experience and the desire to help others. But why do we think our lessons learned are any better than someone else’s?
As I move through this chapter of my life, I’m going to focus on this. Help when asked, listen when needed, support when desired, and advise when requested. I’ll still find ways to serve. I need that.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue to dance as if no one’s watching, because they aren’t, write as if no one’s reading, because they can’t unless I share, and quilt as if no one is cold, because this is Arizona. And no one is cold. Meddling? It’s a work in progress, but I’m still friends with the woman and we still enjoy dinner out every week. That’s a very good sign.
Julie Carmichael says
My daughters have all said “ Boundaries “ to me. So I have learned not to be so quick with advice. I do laugh however when the tables are turned!
Pam Sievers says
So your daughters have set up a system – good for them. But yes, when the table are turned, it’s a bit different. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Some people set themselves up for unsolicited advice by complaining, lamenting, and otherwise creating opportunities for helpful people to chime in. Some unsolicited advice for one of my favorite bloggers: U B U!
Pam Sievers says
Yes! That is exactly what happened, at least in my opinion. Thanks, Sue. You are the best!
Eileen Hofstra says
When I joined a golf league the first rule on the 2-page of rules was “do not offer advice unless you are asked for advice”. One of the ladies thought she was a professional. I really enjoy your blogs.
Carol Rhan says
OMG! How timely is this. As a pastor I am supposed to listen, pray about it, then offer, if sought, counsel (aka: tell you what to do/meddling). I hope whenever I transition to not being in charge and the “responsible authority” I remember your blog .
Kathleen Mahar says
I think we’re all guilty of this now and again. (I’m hoping it’s not a regular habit in my case, but you’d have to ask my friends – hard to self-monitor!). Your heart is in the right place, dear Pam, and anyone who gets to know you will understand that your instinct is to be helpful in the most positive way.
Phyllis H Grummon says
Thanks, as always, for your humble wisdom…..an easy slope to slide down, from listening to advising!
I tend to be bossy…I can hear my friends giggling in the background so it is difficult for me to not give my 2 cents as they say. One way I have tried to avoid it is to say “I’ve had some experience doing…….would you like to hear how I handled it?” Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, but I’ve given an option to the other person and felt like I’ve offered help if desired. Win-win I hope!
Geri Conkllin says
So one day I said to my daughter during a conversation, “I probably shouldn’t say this” and she promptly said “then don’t”! I’ve had a zipper on my lips ever since unless she asks me! Lesson learned!