What makes you think you know better?

unsolicited-advice-for-invisible-illness Unsolicited advice isn’t about helping someone: it’s about bolstering one’s own ego. No wonder it’s almost always useless— if not actually harmful.

Ben, my grown son, is getting a lot of that right now, and it’s driving him crazy.

People he barely knows are calling to let him know why he shouldn’t have had his gall bladder removed in the first place; how his diet caused the problem; or what he should eat now.

Did anyone stop to think they might not know anything about it?

I doubt it. They certainly didn’t when I was struggling to raise Ben. Everyone had advice for me: eliminate sugar, dairy, or eggs; add vitamin X, Y or Z; get him acupuncture, reiki, or craniosacral therapy; and of course, discipline him this way or that.

No one suggested back then that he might be autistic.

Just like none of Ben’s self-appointed advisors consider that he might have an abnormality in his gall bladder. No one except his doctor, that is.advice

So, here’s my unsolicited advice. When someone you care about is facing a tough time, don’t judge, don’t pontificate, and don’t give advice unless asked.

Instead, try listening—deep listening, the kind that’s about the person speaking, not you. The kind that could actually be a help.

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