I have a dog. I estimate the number of strangers who come up to me in public and give me unsolicited advice about my dog at about 25%. Yes, seriously, 1 in 4 strangers. An informal unscientific poll of my friends shows that not even parents of small children get that much advice! I guess people are (slightly) more respectful when humans are involved?
Anyway, I’m really committed to building a positive community, but I also so much want to shut these people up. I’m sick of being told what herbs my dog should eat or whether or not I should let him lean against my legs or if he should be allowed to put his head outside the car window or which training methods I should use. My dog isn’t bugging anybody. People just want to tell me what’s what.
What’s the script for being polite and shutting down the advice at the same time? Actually, that script would be useful for all aspects of my life. People constantly want to tell other people (especially women) what to do. Creating antagonism feels like a non-solution to me. Just a waste of time and effort that only results in arguments and doesn’t make me feel better.
I’d like to be polite, positive, and clear — no snark, no sarcasm, no hostility. But I can’t think of any statement that meets all those criteria. So instead I just end up silently wandering away first chance I get. Then I feel invisible.
Wants advice on unwanted advice
I don’t know that I have a magic way for you to tell intrusive people to step off but everyone feels great afterward. I have some ways that might work to actually end the interactions, where you can feel like you did your best and at least did not increase the rudeness at play. Will that work?