Why You Shouldn’t Always Trust The Advice You Receive

I remember the first time my supervisor from my former placement called me in for a meeting because she wanted to talk to me. I sensed something was wrong within the first few seconds. And I was right.

The meeting started with basic questions like her asking me how my day went. But then, she told me something I didn’t expect: 

“You need to beware that you’re very unprofessional,” she said. 

Then she smiled and said, “But you know, it’s all fine. At least you’re showing your personality.” 

I found it very strange, so I told her that professionalism has always been a concern of mine. And when I asked her for suggestions, she started using herself as an example: 

“Oh, I only tell others my secrets,” she tells me. “Oh, why don’t you have anyone else to talk to?” 

The question threw me off: I didn’t understand what she meant. Perhaps I shouldn’t be talking to her as much during work. But I found it very strange how she had to use herself as an example to provide me with some advice.

The person who offered me advice then became the person who terminated me. 

That’s when I learned that she wasn’t looking out for my best interest but was trying to find ways to sabotage me.

Then, while I was working at another job, a different colleague told me the same thing. And her body language while she was telling me her concerns was similar to my former supervisor. 

When I asked her how I could improve my behavior, she wasn’t willing to offer any suggestions.

“It’s a you thing. You figure it out yourself,” she told me. 

At first, I thought my colleague was looking out for me. But I later realized that, similar to my supervisor, she was giving me advice to put me down and hinder my progress — she didn’t bother providing me with any explanation. 

This made me realize something: Just because someone is offering to give you advice doesn’t necessarily mean they want the best for you. 

In fact, if they want the best for you, they may listen to your situation instead of giving advice. By listening, they are willing to work with you and accept your decision regardless of how much they may disagree with it. 

But by providing advice, they want you to think of them as trustworthy people who are looking out for you. However, many people will often pose as reliable people to take advantage of your vulnerabilities. As a result, there may be better ideas than following advice from people who do not know you well.

Giving advice is very intimate, as no one can predict or know what’s best for someone else. No one can judge our life circumstances. And by giving advice, they make assumptions about our capabilities.

So, I learned the hard way that when people give advice, it often doesn’t mean that they care about you as a person. In fact, it may be the opposite. 

Still, everyone’s experience is different. But when someone gives you advice, you can proceed in whichever way you like. After all, it’s your own decision.

Photo by Semina Psichogiopoulou on Unsplash


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