Last weekend I was at an airport getting back from Thanksgiving. As is tradition at airports, this meant standing around in the parking garage trying to remember where my car was parked.

I tried locking my car to listen for a beep, but didn't hear anything. However, a nearby airport employee said "I heard it beeping from over there" (then gestured in some direction).

Now, although I didn't know quite where my car was parked, I was certain it wasn't in that direction. I had no idea how to tell the employee that, though. It seemed rude to say I'd rather take my chances than trust them, but I also wasn't too keen on pretending to look over there just to be polite.

In this instance, I lucked out and remembered I was near a certain stairwell, so I said something like, "Oh really? Well I know I'm by stairwell 10, do you know where that is?" They pointed it out (in a different direction), and all was well.

However, I've been in similar situations where I don't have an out like that. Where my choices are to deliberately go against their advice right in front of them, or waste my time pretending to follow it. It's even more awkward when I've asked the person for advice.

How could I tactfully respond in situations like this?

  • 10
    Impostor! The real Lord Farquaad wouldn't be bothered by such trivialities.
    – AndreiROM
    Nov 30, 2017 at 15:28
  • 6
    @AndreiROM I'm trying to be a better person so I can win back Fiona. Nov 30, 2017 at 15:31
  • Was the airport employee tall? - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Farquaad -- After you knew that the first answer was wrong, and then establishing that, why go on to embrace the second advice without question?
    – Rob
    Dec 2, 2017 at 18:22
  • @Rob To give you a prompt reply, the first answer was the employee taking a guess as good as anybody's; the second was specific knowledge about the place they worked. Also, everyone's tall to me. Sep 7, 2018 at 21:12

2 Answers 2


I think your response could be as simple as saying:

Hmm... Really? I'm really almost certain I remember parking over here. If I can't find my car in another moment, I'll check in that direction.

This shows that you're taking value of their opinion, but you're going to trust your own gut/memory first. It also leaves the avenue open for you to return later (should you actually not find your car) and ask them to remind you of the direction they heard the noise.

The same can be applied to other situations, even when you've asked for advice.

Hm... I'm not sure that's the route I was hoping to take. I think I should try 'X' first, but if that doesn't work, I will try your suggestion.


In this case, you're looking at advice from a stranger. Most likely they are trying to help.

I think that the best thing to do is the most simple. Offer a genuine "thanks for the info, but I'd rather to do [x]" They're generally not looking for an argument or to be proved wrong; they most likely are just trying to be nice. And you can be nice in return by saying "thanks". In your case, a response of smiling and saying, "Thanks for the info! I'm going walk over just in case. Have a great day" would be an appropriate response. Remember, they're trying to help.

Jess K. has a good proposal in that answer as well that I'd echo: "I'm going to try [x] first but I'll keep your suggestion in mind in case that doesn't work. Thanks!" It shows that you listened but still have your own plan.

WRT advice that you asked for: I personally find it annoying when people ask me for advice and then argue with me. It makes me think that they want confirmation for their own action plan and not the benefit of what I might have to say. I don't see you doing that, but it looks like the scenario is to ask for advice and then do something else. In that case, it's important to first of all outline what you plan on doing and secondly be gracious when accepting the advice. I wouldn't recommend debating the answer you get, but perhaps a heartfelt "thank you" would be a good start and then a quick yet reasonable explanation why you reject the answer in favor of the action plan you already discussed. Something like "I really appreciate your saying 'I should call my mother' about this, but these conversations haven't worked out in the past" would possibly go over better than just doing your own thing.

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