We all know those kinds of people who just can’t help themselves. They give others advice all the time, even when it’s not asked for.

This might be an aunt saying, “You’d better think about a career change before it’s too late“, or a nosy co-worker making remarks such as, “If I were you, I would probably break up with him and look for someone better“.

Such people seem to know everything and, most importantly, they know what’s best for others. Why do they do it? It turns out that this annoying habit goes beyond just demonstrating their wisdom or trying to help others.

Here are a few non-obvious reasons why some people give others advice they didn’t ask for:

1. They are controlling and anxious

The first reason why a person loves giving others advice is controlling behavior. They are indeed sure that they know better what’s best for you, so with this invasive behavior, they feel that they are trying to help you.

But do you know what the most common root of the need to control others is? Anxiety. Anxious people try to control everything and everyone, which brings them relief because they can’t stand uncertainty.

Thus, by giving you the help or advice you didn’t ask for, an anxious person creates the illusion of making things go their way, which feels good. Whether you follow their advice or not, they still feel more satisfied than before because they showed you the right way.

2. They have insecurities

Patronizing behavior may also stem from insecurity. It may sound paradoxical at first, giving that these people look knowledgeable and confident. In reality, though, it’s just a façade that is meant to cover their own insecurities and flaws.

Know-it-alls often happen to be deeply insecure, so they try a little too hard to impress others with their knowledge and insights. They give people advice just to show how perceptive and wise they are – not because they genuinely want to help.

At the same time, talking about you will also be a way to get the attention off themselves. The last thing an insecure person wants is to discuss their failures, and that’s the reason why they prefer to focus on others.

3. They are arrogant

Do you think someone’s intrusive advice was meant to help you? Most of the time, it’s quite the opposite. These individuals often lack empathy and are just condescending.

But the question is: how to tell a person who is really concerned from someone who just seeks to demonstrate their intellect by giving you advice? Overconfidence and arrogance will show in every word they say.

A know-it-all might sound too academic and use sophisticated terms when talking about simple things. They will also use generalizations, such as “All people of your age need to know that…”

And most importantly, their words will lack empathy. It won’t be a warm friendly conversation – it will sound as if you are given a memorandum about how to live your life.

4. They are narrow-minded

People who don’t understand that they cross others’ personal boundaries can also be narrow-minded. They usually believe that they are always right and their vision of things just can’t be wrong.

This kind of rigid thinking leads them to become intrusive and give others advice they didn’t ask for. Since they lack open-mindedness, they struggle to see the situation from another person’s perspective.

Their intentions can be good, but their narrow-mindedness prevents them to take other people’s feelings and opinions into account.

Therefore, your father might be genuinely sure that he is guiding you to the right path when saying that you need to study to become a doctor instead of launching a startup. But what he doesn’t realize is that you are a different kind of person than he is and won’t excel in this profession as he did.

5. They have no life

Finally, one more reason a person might love to give others advice they didn’t ask for is that their own life is too boring. Such people typically seek drama and love gossip, so taking a glance into your life and giving you a piece of personal advice makes them feel more alive.

Why? Because by focusing on others, they create for themselves the illusion of living a fuller life. Maybe they lack a sense of meaning or their daily routine is just too dull, so they amuse themselves by sticking their noses into other people’s businesses.

Do you have acquaintances or relatives who enjoy giving you the advice you didn’t ask for? How do you deal with them? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Julie Baxter

    Oddly enough, I don’t recall asking you for advice, Anna LeMind, B.A.. 🙂

    1. Anna LeMind, B.A.


  2. Diamond

    Peace and Love!

    Thanks for creating such a great virtual space. I believe it has some great information and resources.

    Although I found this article to be written in a tone of mainly negative reasons why people may give unsolicited advise/opinions. Without even considering that many may have pure intentions of helping others without being conscious that those they are attempting to help don’t feel it to be helpful at all.

    I will agree personally as someone who gives solicited as well as unsolicited advise that I have noticed that I must be mindful of why I give advise when I do. Because sometimes I realize I may have a bit of anxiety and concern that I don’t want the person/people to have to experience some level of pain or discomfort. Which is when I challenge myself to Breathe deeply and ask Spirit to allow me to accept whatever I or they may be facing and still experience peace within.

  3. Nicole

    Healthy boundaries or cut them off from my life. I live better since then.

  4. Sylvia Logotheti

    As Psychologist/Psychoanalyst I am an expert for giving advices, but I dont, because Psychotherapy is a process not just one issue! Mostly with my saying I give the client or whomever a mirror of his, her soul to see him, herself so he, she can find their own solutions

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