You Don’t Know What I’ve Seen by Indu Balakrishnan

You should get a babysitter. 

You should not work when you have kids depending on you. 

You should get married. 

You are expecting too much. 

You …

You … 

Don’t you get way too much unsolicited advice? It would take all of two seconds to say, ‘mind your own business’. The truth is, they don’t know what you have seen. It’s bad enough to get advice from been-there-done-there’s. But to hear what you should have done from someone who has literally no idea what they are talking about? This is not just ridiculous and unfair, it borders into bullying on various levels. 

And as I write this blog, I realise that I am no exception either. I have been on the other side as well, playing the role of the know-it-all with people who actually know it all. 

Funny incident. My son got hurt and we were in a hotel that did not have a dettol or savlon. My brother-in-law, a doctor, suggested that we just wash the wound with the handwash. At first, I was appalled. My initial reaction was, ‘Are you sure?’. Now, he is one of the sweetest persons you’d ever meet. Very politely and kindly he replied, “I AM a doctor, you know?’. I still get embarrassed thinking about it. 

He is my brother-in-law and I realised that’s all I see him as. My best friend is a renowned specialist in the IT field but I rarely take his advice in this aspect. Why? Because I do not see him as anything other than my best friend. So, like I know my son best and I would go by my gut, same would apply to my computer too; won’t it?  

Having been on both sides of the line, I can say it is fair that we should come up with a way to handle the annoying side. 

Geet rocks the scene when she shuts him up with the line. It is the scene where he tells her that women are like an open box of treasure and they should be more careful in life. And yada yada. 

Now, what would be the best way to shut people up, and yet not totally upset or hurt them? In all fairness, they don’t quite mean any harm, do they?

Top 5 tricks to shut people up but politely (that is quite a winning title, isn’t it? 🙂 ) 

  • Agree to disagree – It’s a smooth way of closing the conversation. I heard you and I think I disagree. You do not agree with me either. So let’s move on. Smooth, isn’t it? But the trick is to say it calmly and maybe, even with a smile. Yeah, no one said it was easy. 
  • Ask questions – Try the Five Whys method. It gets them to talk and they might in the end either wear themselves out or run out of things to say, thereby effectively ending the conversation. You don’t have to say anything other than why. And then an OK at the end of it all. If needed. Else, just move on, people. 
  • Respond in non-threatening ways – You don’t have to tell them that you think they are wrong. Again. Not easy. But you can make your point with data. Tell them why you disagree. And then, if possible, stay friends afterward. Or married. Depending on who you are talking to. 
  • Thank them for the advice – Well, it is rather polite. And chances are they might feel appreciated. It’s like clapping hoping someone’s performance is done. We tried that once when the chief guest would not stop talking. And it worked. The speech stopped but our principal wasn’t pleased. Least, that’s what she told us. 
  • Take a call – It could be nature’s call. It could be a phone call from someone. The expression, ‘saved by the bell’ would apply here. And by the time you get back and change the topic, you could be saved from the conversation all-together. 

I have personally tried them all, and I’m glad to say that it works. Try it and let me know. 

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