Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Unsolicited Stranger Advice (USA)

Maybe it is just me, but I get a fair amount of unsolicited advice from strangers. Probably because I am always looking confused or like I don't know what I’m doing. Historically, I have found the most advice comes when:

You are pregnant. Examples:

  • You have no idea how your life will change. Let me tell you the ways.
  • You should have a natural birth. Medications hurt babies.
  • You should have drugs when you give birth. Then you can forget about the pain and enjoy the experience.
  • Are you sure you’re not having twins? You’re pretty huge.
  • My labor and delivery was so rough, I was ripped in half. It was a bloodbath. I hope yours isn’t like that.
  • You are really getting your hair highlighted (eating sushi, ingesting brie cheese, drinking coffee) while you’re pregnant? You are going to give your baby birth defects.

You are a parent. Examples:

  • You should breastfeed until your child is five. That way they get the best nutrients and are smarter.
  • Do you really use disposable diapers? Do you know how environmentally grotesque that is?
  • Do you really use cloth diapers? Do you know how much water it takes to wash ONE of those diapers?
  • Have you had your child tested for ADHD? He/she seems a bit out of hand.

You are running. Examples:

  • Running will ruin your knees!
  • Did you know running can kill you? I heard someone died at the finish line of a marathon this year.
  • Your form is wrong. Let me instruct you in the correct way to do things.
  • Next time you should run a shorter marathon.
  • Wow, you run a lot? You really don’t look like a runner. I thought they were skinny. Maybe you are doing it wrong.
  • Why do you run races if you don’t win? You should really try to win next time.

You are checking out at a store. Examples:

  • Wow, are you really buying these chips? They have a lot of fat in them, and I don’t think you need anymore of that.
  • Who are you sending that card too? It’s really sweet. I never send pre-made cards. It’s tacky. I always make my own.
  • Oh, I see it is that time of the month for you. Do you want to pick up some Hershey bars as well?
  • I’m glad to see you are using condoms as protection. I hope one of you is also on the pill because that is the most effective technique.
  • I really wish I could eat all this gluten like you do. It gives me gas and bloating. It’s really not good for you. You should consider giving it up.

You are with family members. Examples:

  • Oh, honey. You probably don’t need  second helping of mashed potatoes.
  • You run/train too much. You should enjoy life more and do other things.
  • Have you started applying for any jobs yet? I hear Wal-mart is hiring.
  • You should really have more kids before your eggs dry up. Your dad and I were like rabbits.

My favorite story about unsolicited advice actually didn’t happen to me – it happened to Ken. He had been swimming laps at our local rec facility and went into the changing room. A man who was about 75 years old decided he needed to give Ken some pointers on how to improve his swimming form. Completely naked, he got in front of Ken and demonstrated how to “glide” when you swim. All Ken recalls was a lot of flopping of this man’s private parts. He was pretty scarred from the whole incident. Unsolicited advice is one thing, but giving unsolicited advice while naked? That’s a sin.

Let’s face it. There is a time and a place for unsolicited advice. For example, if I am going on a trail run and a runner coming off the trail tells me to be careful because he saw 5 mountain lions and 3 rattlesnakes, this is very valuable advice. But, other than that, I will ask if I need/want advice.

Your turn. Tell me the best piece of unsolicited advice you ever got.

SUAR

60 comments:

  1. I was doing an eye exam on a older guy 75ish and he thought he heard me say something in a way that's wasn't proper English. I said which one of these is clearer (eye exam), he heard which ones of these is clearer. He then muttered "wow, which ones of these. what does that say about our local schools." In HIS OUT LOUD VOICE. TO ME!! His eye doctor!!! I was so pissed. I dilated his eyes then returned to finish the exam. Still pissed. When I was done I asked him why he felt it was his place to correct my English. I told him it was rude and I would never have pointed out that to him. That it wasn't his place to do that and he made me feel stupid. Then I said--besides that, you mis-heard me. He says: I hurt you? Me: You mis-heard me. Him: I what? Me: YOU DIDN'T HEAR ME CORRECTLY! Him: Oh. Yes, you are probably right. WTF.

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    1. wow, that's beyond annoying and irritating!

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  2. This is too funny! Just today I was running and this lady yelled to me. What are you running off? You don't need to run. I just smiled and said thank you. I wanted to say I love food way too much that's why I run.~L

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  3. yes, as the mother of little kids, I've often commented to myself "funny how everyone knows what I should be doing, but no one actually offers to help"

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  4. About 10 years ago, I had my oldest son, who was 6 at the time, home from school with an asthma exacerbation. I took him with me on my errands, and we were coming out of the bookstore, when an elderly man passed by and said to me "that kid should be in school!" I replied that he was sick, and the man said, "then he should be at home!". I told him to mind his own business and he replied "fuck off!".

    Shaken, I took his advice and took my son home.

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  5. OMG I got so annoyed by this one family friend/acquaintance who tried to tell me that endurance running is terrible for me. I plastered a smile on my face and tuned him out.

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  6. Mm and this is why I LOVE your blog! About to become a young single mom and I specifically moved out to my family's ranch in the middle of nowhere so I could escape the constant "advice" giving of others. If I want someone's advice, I'll ask. Encouragement is more than welcome however. For now though, I'll spend my last few weeks surrounded by the silence of horses and sweet aroma of nature.

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  7. I have been told so many times that I'm ruining my knees- argh. And as a stepmom the advice is very interesting ... Or the reverse happens - I'm just ignored as a nonparent. But I will cop to giving unsolicited advice to other runners and that is to strengthtrain.... I will admit I do it and I don't regret it! At a minimum it only... helps! (See what I did there?!

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  8. Not sure if advice per say but I was once told that I had good hips for having babies and a pretty face so it didn't matter what I wanted because I was bound to be snapped up by a farmer.

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    1. THIS! This is priceless. I hope you were snapped up by a farmer, pretty lady. :)

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  9. Hilarity! I want to die when my patients start giving each other unsolicited advice in the waiting room (I'm a pharmacist). There is SO MUCH misinformation about medications being swapped out there - Lord a'mighty. It kills me.
    The worst unsolicited advice I've received was an extremely detailed and rather vulgar description of exactly the technique and timing needed to conceive - coming from someone who assumed she knew all about my infertility and how to solve it. Except, ah, I didn't have kids then because I didn't want them. And I definitely didn't want her timing tips.

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  10. Our child care provider told me that if our baby keeps sleeping in our bed, that's it for the intimacy between me and my husband. It was quite a lecture, she went on for almost 10 minutes.For the record, he's our third kid and he was maybe 8 months old when she gave me this lecture.

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  11. as I came down the homestretch of my Pennsylvania marathon (a 10+ min PR and first time under 5 hrs.), a man already finished with a medal dangling from his neck yells at me to straighten up, stretch my diaphragm, etc. etc. The stink eye I gave him should have killed him.

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  12. A checkout lady at the grocery asked me how I was cooking the salmon I was buying. When I told her on the grill, she got really belligerent about how that will overcook the fish and I was going to ruin it (never happens, I know what I'm doing). She was explaining how you should always stuff the fish with cheese, veggies, etc., then bread it, then fry it in a pan because that's the "only way" you don't ruin it. She held me hostage with her lecture while she scanned my stuff.

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  13. What is it about strangers that makes them think they can do our lives better?

    My favorite stranger-advice happened a few weeks ago. We were out of town for a wedding, and after the rehearsal and bunch of us went to a bar. An old man interrupted my husband as we walked to our table, asking: "Will you be back here tonight?" My husband was like, "Uh...I don't think so?" And the guy told him, "Oh, I was going to offer to meet you here again and bring a razor for you to take care of that beard."

    I was like, "I don't let him shave it, I prefer the beard," at which point the man said, "Ah, well, happy wife, happy life" and left us alone haha.

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  14. Almost everyday I hear the one about training to much!
    And there is a cashier at the grocery store that examines EVERY item she scans. She comments on EVERYTHING! So annoying.

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  15. I just had my yearly check-up and was pretty surprised to hear my doctor say "Just be careful and don't beat yourself up too much with all that running." What?! It's not like I even came to the appointment with any running-related medical complaints, so I'm not sure what prompted that remark!

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  16. I laughed so hard at the "shorter marathon" one. I cringe when people ask me, "How long is your marathon?" Or, "Oh yeah you have a marathon this weekend right?" Uh no, it's a 5k. "Marathon" is not synonymous with "race". LOL

    When I'm cooking, or cleaning, or doing something of the sort that my mom (bless her) has been doing for years, she starts sentences with, "I would do it this way blah blah." I'm like "GREAT - I'm doing it THIS way!" Love you mommy!

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  17. I get so much unsolicited, unwelcome advice from strangers about running that it's gotten to the point where I try not to let people know that I'm a runner!

    I was once lectured by a customer at work about how I shouldn't run because I'm going to get skin cancer from spending all that time outside. Also, when I was out running one day, this guy in his yard yelled out, "You should run on the other side of the road!" I replied, "No, you're supposed to run facing traffic." He says, "Yeah, but THEY don't know that!" Whaaaaaat?


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  18. My husband and I don't want kids and never have since the day we met (7+ years ago). But people ask when we're going to have kids. Once I tell them we aren't having any or don't want any, 9 times out of 10 they say "oh you'll change your mind". Pisses me off to no end, like at 37 I have no idea what I want and I decided on a whim. If I'm feeling particularly sassy, I say "and what makes you think that?" Putting them on the spot sometimes freaks them out and they don't often have an answer, which goes to show you they are just mindlessly spewing crap from their mouths.

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    Replies
    1. We've been married 23 years, I turned 50 last month, and I think people are FINALLY realizing we really aren't going to have kids after all. Going against "the norm" really messes with people - strangers, friends and family alike!

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    2. Along a similar vein, I have two girls and when they were younger, I was asked all the time when I was going to try for a boy. Um, sure...I'll just keep popping kids out Duggar-style until I hit the jackpot with a baby boy. Geez.

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  19. Listen sister, if I want your opinion, I'll beat it out of you.
    -Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

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  20. Middle of winter, in Michigan, below freezing temps, a child had just been abducted not far from where I currently was, I had a 2 year old and 9 month old with me.....I didn't return my shopping cart to the corral. A guy came by and started lecturing me on how unconsiderate I was.

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  21. Jo-Anne SheffieldMay 22, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    I love this post especially about Ken's floppy experience. People are so quick to tell someone else how to live without looking at their own life first!

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  22. One time at the City Swim Center's locker room, which is shady at best, a portly woman wearing only a bra handed out her personalized marketing calendars for her real estate business. She explained that she thinks being prepared is the key to success. Until I heard Ken's floppy story, I thought this was rock bottom. I am haunted by teh visition of this lumpy woman, but now also by the image of Ken's naked mentor. ICK!

    And in other news, I found this awesome link that made me think of you INSTANTLY. It's the Kitty Carpet, a fashionable merkin option. Shut! Up!
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006JFA8AM?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B006JFA8AM&linkCode=shr&tag=thebloggess-20&linkId=O4T6TQWTOLEFFBKS&qid=1400611620&sr=8-1&keywords=kitty+carpet



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  23. I love getting the advice about my running and I get it often. "You run too much". "You need to slow down". "Your going to kill yourself". "Running that much isn't healthy". All these comments from people I know who have never worked out a day in their life!

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  24. As a young, female engineer, construction sites are full of 50+ year old men and their unsolicited advice. My favorite was "you should carry a gun in your purse, that big ol' city up there has got to be dangerous for a pretty young thing like you" (I live in Kansas City).

    My 90 year old grandfather also got very offended about how I peel potatoes last Christmas, and that was promptly corrected.

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  25. Here's a good one: when I started running my aunt told me that my uterus would drop out!

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  26. I've been told by a co-worker that I need to start running with a gun on me. We all know there is some risk to running alone, but I told him that I was pretty sure I would end up shooting myself! I will stick to my runner's mace.

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  27. when I was bartending one night, a (nightly, overweight, know-it-all) patron gave me a list of reasons why it is so bad for me to run. I could only respond that, the bar stool he was sitting on was a much better alternative to running and thanked him for the advice.

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  28. I have been swing dancing for 26 years. However, men still get me on the dance floor and proceed to teach me the "right" way to follow their leads.

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  29. hahaha omgggggg i have an awful mental image in my mind.

    i cant think of anything off the top of my head that is good but i went to a soul cycle class (hated it!) for the first time and the instrcutor got off her bike and was walking around, stopped at my bike and increased my resistance. i am a spinning instructor, lady! and i just ran a half marathon YESTERDAY. i am sore. i am using this to shake out my legs. advice NOT wanted. haha

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  30. What I hate more than anything is the dudebros at the gym who incessantly give me unsolicited advice on how to lift. I was a competitive powerlifter for more than 10 years and I know what the hell I'm doing in a weight room. I don't need some guy to try to correct my form (which is fine, thank you very much) or suggest that I stick to the nautilus machines just because I'm a girl.

    Interestingly, the big guys who actually know what they are doing never do this sort of thing.

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    1. This is my experience too... people who offer unsolicited advice normally aren't the folks who know enough to give advice.

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  31. Just today I was running and something on my shoe was making a clicking noise. When I bent down to figure it out, a man came up behind me and told me I should double knot my shoelaces so they don't come untied! Seriously?! I wasn't even tying my shoe #1, but I am a runner, of course I double knot my shoes. Plus, he was wearing headphones, so when I tried to explain it wasn't a shoelace issue, he couldn't even hear me:/ Annoying!

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  32. One elderly neighbor told me that if I keep running my uterus will fall out on the floor to which I replied, Good, I'll just kick it to the side cause I'm pretty sure I won't be needing it anymore. The look on her face was priceless!

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  33. It's not really advise, but my favorite comment stems from the fact that I have 6 children. So, of course, during my many years of child bearing & having lots of little ones, everyone and their brother wanted to say to me: "you know what causes that don't you?" I finally learned to get a big smile on my face & say "why yes.....would you like a demonstration?" It shut people up real quick!

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  34. this happened to my husband. a quick background on hubby-he is NOT a runner, he was a competitive power lifter, semi pro foot ballplayer and he competes in highland Scottish game-you know where they pick up really heavy things and throw them around? he is a big guy,250+ at the time. I finally convinced him to do a few 5ks-during his 2nd 5k ,as I was waiting for him to cross the line after I raced, I saw him coming through the last stretch like his pants were on fire. he caught up to a thin framed man at the finish line. he beat him by only 1 second, but after he crossed the line he shook the guys hand and said, "you didn't know this was a fat mans sport,did ya?"im pretty sure there were more explicit words thrown in there though.....
    I was shocked at this statement and I asked-"why were you so rude to him?!
    and then he told me that same thin man passed him about the 2nd mile and in the process said "don't you know this is a skinny mans sport?"
    this of course didn't sit well with my competitive husband........
    I don't think that guy will be offering any advice as to which sports are for the "skinny men" anytime soon!

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  35. Unsolicited advice drives me nuts! These are hilarious, by the way!

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  36. Wow, I am so sorry for Ken!!! My most recent experience with unsolicited advice was then the vacuum guy at my gym (the guy that carries the vacuum around on his back) tried to tell me that 3 weeks after my knee surgery, I should be doing the leg extension machine. Not only that, but he offered to SHOW me how to use the machine. AUGH. For one, I KNOW how to use that machine. Also, there was no way I was doing any lower body resistance training so soon after surgery. Last, the vacuum guy is the last person I shall take advice from at the gym!

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  37. I was walking through Macy's and a saleswoman at the cosmetic counter asked me if I was there to get my eyebrows done.

    I am currently pregnant and the advice never ends! A few days ago a woman said I should walk and do squats every day. Cause squats are super comfortable when you're 6 months pregnant.

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  38. I literally just had an experience yesterday in Trader Joe's where two customers came to check out, overheard a conversation I was having about running and than proceeded to tell me to do interval training or stop running long distance because it's terrible for you. One girl said she didn't even think it was that big of an athletic feat to run long. "I don't think it's even that hard". She then proceeded to tell me that she could only run the 800 meter, because after that "she just ran out of gas".

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  39. In my experience the only thing that seems to elicit more unwanted advice than maternity and parenting is training for an Ironman. It's crazy how people just cannot seem to resist giving advice.

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  40. "Why are you paying to run another race when you can run at home for free?"

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  41. I recently had a local race walker that I know (not well) that saw me while I was running one morning. I was two hours late getting out due to a storm and I was just out for a few miles before I had to start work. He saw me while driving home from his shift and turned around to drive alongside of me for three miles while I ran. After he had just told me that he had only "ran (aka race walked)" two miles all of last year, he told me that there is something he had been wanting to tell me for a long time. Stupidly..... I asked what it was. He told me that to improve my speed I should really start doing more speed workouts at the track. I informed him that I do speed work once a week and that I had just PR'd in a local 5k two days before by 2:30. Really? I usually welcome any running advice and I'm always open to new idea but that PISSED me off!!!! #idiot

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  42. Ha! Maybe this is why more people don't read my blog, titled "Unsolicited Advice." In my defense, though, I write the blog because I can never seem to share my wisdom face to face. I can't imagine actually telling a stranger that they need to improve or how. So, I write, and let them figure out with my gentle, practically anonymous nudges.

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  43. It happens to me a lot at the gym. Probably because some guys see me, a woman, lifting heavy alone and think that I do not know what I'm doing. I am always respectful in my conversations, but I make it clear that I don't take crap from anyone. *pinning it*

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  44. Hmmm...a shorter marathon sounds pretty awesome to me!

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