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Sometimes, I am given unsolicited advice. I consider the advice itself (of course), but I also consider the source, as the expression goes. Usually, the advice must be written off entirely because the source is someone whose opinion/viewpoint/judgment I don't respect. Including but not limited to: someone I consider to be unintelligent, lacking in common sense, lacking in integrity, etc. (I accept that this is a two-way street and I expect that some others reject my advice because they think I am unintelligent, etc.)

I'm asking how I can politely tell someone the following: I'm rejecting your advice because I don't respect your opinion/viewpoint/judgment.

I will usually respond with something like "Why are you even bothering to give me advice? You know I don't respect your opinion" or "I hope you weren't expecting me to actually take your advice..."

If you need an example:
One of my brother's friends always asks me "Are you still single?" and when I say yes, he gives me unsolicited advice on how to find a partner. But he's a thrice-divorced alcoholic with a self-admitted gambling addiction. It's embarrassing that he thinks anyone should take his advice seriously.

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    What are you trying to do? Do you just want to reject the advice, or to let them know why you are rejecting their advice? The answer will differ greatly depending on what you want to do.
    – Vylix
    Aug 30, 2023 at 3:16
  • @Vylix I'd prefer to tell them that I don't respect their opinion/viewpoint/judgment too. Aug 30, 2023 at 3:56

2 Answers 2

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I am going to give you a few disagreements before I answer your literal question.

The first is, why should you in fact reject that advice? The fact that someone isn't able to stay in a relationship and isn't a very good partner doesn't mean they have no advice to give about finding a partner. They have probably done it more times than anyone else you know, since they lose them after they find them. Maybe they only find bad ones, but maybe not. It's possible this advice could actually be useful to you. I have had good advice from people who live lives I don't admire, and it's a good idea to be open to that possibility.

The second is, even you have no intention whatsoever of taking the advice, why should you tell the person so? Many people only speak to hear themselves speak, or to feel wise and important for a while. Let the relative speak and then say something neutral and non committal. That could be as short as "thanks!" or "hm, interesting idea." I find if I don't argue with people, they stop pushing their viewpoint. I never commit to trying something I think is not right for me, but there are many responses that are not "thanks! I'm going to do that the next chance I can, and then text you about it!"

But ok, the advice you're getting is not good, and you don't like getting it, so you want to tell the person not just that you don't intend to take that advice, but that you would rather not hear it at all. This is a difficult thing to do even when you admire the person and generally want their advice, but all the more so when you have nothing positive to say about them. What I do in that situation is talk about myself rather than them. "Thanks, but that's a tender subject for me and I'd rather not discuss it [possibly adding here, now, or any more than we have]. Or perhaps you're not willing to call the subject tender, because you don't feel bad about being single, so you could go with "over-discussed" or "timeworn" or even "boring" -- but remember to include the "for me" part since a person could argue that a topic isn't any of those things for them, but you're claiming them to be so for you, which is hard to argue with.

Notice that "don't discuss this with me" has exactly the same effect as "don't give me advice about this" plus it includes "don't ask me questions about this" so it's probably what you prefer any way. And as a nice side effect, you're not insulting your relative or doing something that another relative might later come and scold you for.

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    You can say "It's not something I want to talk about right now", and that's relatively neutral, and only the most insensitive people will keep pushing you to talk about it. If you then add the word "you" to it, such as "It's not something I want to talk to you about right now", it's practically a slap in the face.
    – Nelson
    Aug 31, 2023 at 0:41
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How to politely tell someone I don't respect their opinion/viewpoint/judgment.

It all boils down to this. Be polite, but tell them to "get lost" (to use the slightest word (pun intended)). There's no way one can achieve that. The other person will take that as an insult because you minimize and lower to the maximum their contribution and value and insult them up front. So, I'll kind of offer you a frame challenge, by saying your approach should be more of a detached stance, dodging the direct confrontation while showing assertivness and setting boundaries. Don't do anything that will make or keep the discussion open. Don't argue, as they'll always find a way to show you how wrong you are and how right they are, even if one is a thrice-divorced alcoholic with a self-admitted gambling addiction. His failures will have build the experience you lack, that's why, in his POV, that's good advice. It makes them right. They need you to argue to keep talking. By telling them anything or by counter arguing, you just feed the troll.

I had a brother-in-law who was just like that. Unsolicited advice and recommendation about almost anything, from books to movies to real-life situations and so on... He knew better than anyone (including me) what was best for me. After years and years of this (we used to see each other a few days a year, not more), I finally stopped arguing and telling. I had tried all methods like the ones described and recommended in this article. I finally got to my point when I started to ignore and deflect: acknowledge and move on, change topic.

So, my advice would be to acknowledge what they just say and let it slip away. If they come back to it (and, believe me, they will!), just mention it's not a good time for you, because you're tired, you already have a lot on your plate...etc. They come back, dodge again. And keep doing that. The one with less patience gives up first, the one with more patience wins.

I can't find the source for that reference I once read/heard decades ago, so I can't give credit for it, but it roughly says:

don't be the ball bouncing back, be the wall it's thrown at.

The wall won't need energy, it'll just stand, will just be here, and resist. The ball will waste energy anytime to be thrown at the wall. It will keep bouncing back until one is tired getting always the same result and quit throwing the ball.

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