Often the best way to give advice to loved ones is to send them an article that gives the advice that you’d like to give, but it comes from an expert with appropriate back-up research. You simply say, “I thought you’d find this article worthwhile. I found it very interesting.”
You have to be tactful when giving forthright advice to people who have not asked for your advice. For example, if you recommend to someone who is having trouble getting pregnant that she stop eating junk food, she may be offended. She will probably view you as being judgmental and intrusive rather than loving and concerned. She may also avoid you in the future not wanting to feel judged whenever she drinks a soft drink in front of you. Moreover, she’s unlikely to take your advice seriously because you are not a nutritionist or a fertility doctor.
So instead you might send her an email with one or two articles attached — not twenty-five — and a note saying, “I thought you might find this new research about fertility helpful and interesting.” You will sound less superior and disapproving. The article will have more authority and be more likely to get her attention.
If she resists the information, it may be best to drop it. While it is loving to try to help or enlighten people, once they are informed, it is best to allow them to make their own choices.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD