Athletics Magazine

Unsolicited Stranger Advice (USA)

By Brisdon @shutuprun

Maybe it is just me, but I get a fair amount of unsolicited advice from strangers. Probably because I am always looking confused or like I don't know what I’m doing. Historically, I have found the most advice comes when:

You are pregnant. Examples:

  • You have no idea how your life will change. Let me tell you the ways.
  • You should have a natural birth. Medications hurt babies.
  • You should have drugs when you give birth. Then you can forget about the pain and enjoy the experience.
  • Are you sure you’re not having twins? You’re pretty huge.
  • My labor and delivery was so rough, I was ripped in half. It was a bloodbath. I hope yours isn’t like that.
  • You are really getting your hair highlighted (eating sushi, ingesting brie cheese, drinking coffee) while you’re pregnant? You are going to give your baby birth defects.

Unsolicited Stranger Advice (USA)

You are a parent. Examples:

  • You should breastfeed until your child is five. That way they get the best nutrients and are smarter.
  • Do you really use disposable diapers? Do you know how environmentally grotesque that is?
  • Do you really use cloth diapers? Do you know how much water it takes to wash ONE of those diapers?
  • Have you had your child tested for ADHD? He/she seems a bit out of hand.

Unsolicited Stranger Advice (USA)

You are running. Examples:

  • Running will ruin your knees!
  • Did you know running can kill you? I heard someone died at the finish line of a marathon this year.
  • Your form is wrong. Let me instruct you in the correct way to do things.
  • Next time you should run a shorter marathon.
  • Wow, you run a lot? You really don’t look like a runner. I thought they were skinny. Maybe you are doing it wrong.
  • Why do you run races if you don’t win? You should really try to win next time.

You are checking out at a store. Examples:

  • Wow, are you really buying these chips? They have a lot of fat in them, and I don’t think you need anymore of that.
  • Who are you sending that card too? It’s really sweet. I never send pre-made cards. It’s tacky. I always make my own.
  • Oh, I see it is that time of the month for you. Do you want to pick up some Hershey bars as well?
  • I’m glad to see you are using condoms as protection. I hope one of you is also on the pill because that is the most effective technique.
  • I really wish I could eat all this gluten like you do. It gives me gas and bloating. It’s really not good for you. You should consider giving it up.

You are with family members. Examples:

  • Oh, honey. You probably don’t need  second helping of mashed potatoes.
  • You run/train too much. You should enjoy life more and do other things.
  • Have you started applying for any jobs yet? I hear Wal-mart is hiring.
  • You should really have more kids before your eggs dry up. Your dad and I were like rabbits.

Unsolicited Stranger Advice (USA)

My favorite story about unsolicited advice actually didn’t happen to me – it happened to Ken. He had been swimming laps at our local rec facility and went into the changing room. A man who was about 75 years old decided he needed to give Ken some pointers on how to improve his running form. Completely naked, he got in front of Ken and demonstrated how to “glide” when you swim. All Ken recalls was a lot of flopping of this man’s private parts. He was pretty scarred from the whole incident. Unsolicited advice is one thing, but giving unsolicited advice while naked? That’s a sin.

Let’s face it. There is a time and a place for unsolicited advice. For example, if I am going on a trail run and a runner coming off the trail tells me to be careful because he saw 5 mountain lions and 3 rattlesnakes, this is very valuable advice. But, other than that, I will ask if I need/want advice.

Your turn. Tell me the best piece of unsolicited advice you ever got.


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