Unsolicited advice on unsolicited advice

“No unsolicited advice!” I felt confident and sure as the words came out of my mouth. The conference facilitator had asked us what ground rules we wanted for our time together, and this was my contribution. I’m sure it sounded odd to many of my peers, because what do we come to a conference for if not advice? But I was thinking about all the times I have shared my challenges with groups of strangers and been bombarded with well-meaning but useless advice from people who know little or nothing about my situation. There have been times when I have wanted to yell at a group of people, all huddled around me offering rapid-fire suggestions, “Get out of my face!” Surely, we would all have a better conference experience if we shared our stories rather than thinking up ideas for other people to do.

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