Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

Unsolicited advice…

Don’t give unsolicited advice where solicitors are not welcome. (Don’t give unsolicited advice if you can get paid for it).

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You’ve probably experienced it – someone you know is hurting and you want to help them, so you offer some well-reasoned, but unsolicited, advice. Surprisingly, the person is none too clear with you that you should mind your own business. It took me a long time to learn the lesson expressed by this aphorism. The aphorism is related to the old adage about leading a horse to water. Before you decide to tell someone what they might change in their behavior or in their life, try to assess first whether they will be receptive to your thoughts—I mean really receptive: if you think the person is only paying lip service to you about being receptive, don’t bother speaking a word. Hold their hand and sympathize if necessary, but don’t speak a word.

Sometimes unsolicited advice is not welcome because the receiver does not respect advice offered for free. In that case, you should oblige them by charging them for your wisdom.

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