I recently read an article addressing the psychology behind unsolicited advice. The article focused on a research paper titled “Advice Giving: A Subtle Pathway to Power,” which confirms what most of us have likely suspected: unsolicited advice more for the benefit of the adviser than the advisee. So how can you work with this to make unsolicited advice less irritating, and more helpful?
This morning a coworker of mine with whom I am friendly but don’t see very often bustled over to me to ask about the wedding. So I told her how I was really feeling, and I got the impression that just wasn’t what she wanted to hear. How do you handle wedding planning oversharing with coworkers and acquaintances?
“I think there can be a HUGE amount of pressure for brides to be happy 100% of the time. If they're not, they're called bridezillas. Working in mental health, this expectation that I needed to feel a certain way 100% of the time immediately ground my gears.” How do you deal when the pressure rises to always be a happy bride?
All sorts of your interests and lifestyle choices probably seem a little odd to your family, but until you’re planning a wedding, it’s easy to just sort of ignore the differences. It’s not until you have the combination of two families coming together, social anxiety, financial considerations, religious and cultural traditions that all these things are forced up into your face.
But of course aesthetic choices are just the tip of the iceberg — planning your wedding will bring all sorts of larger issues to the forefront like financial and wedding budgeting issues (how does your family approach conversations about money? What are the dynamics around gifts and loans? How do you talk about savings or wedding debt?) and social obligations (how does your family feel about dealing with abusive relatives? What about wedding invitation tit-for-tat?).
We are no strangers to family and guest drama at weddings. Hell, we’ve got whole archives for family advice, family drama, and conflict resolution. People are people and people can bring the dramaz. You’re totally on the right path by nipping it in the bud early and diplomatically addressing the issue on your wedding website. Wedding websites are the best place to explain anything you want explained: dress codes, ceremony rituals, accommodations, and of course, any specific drama rules that you’ll be putting in place. Let’s talk about how to word it.
“How should I respond when people come at me with comments like ‘Enjoy it now, it’s all over once you’re married!’ And ‘You’ll have a husband to cook for soon!’ Or ‘You’re getting married? My commiserations.'”
Here are a few of my favorite copy-n-paste responses, broken down into three separate strategies depending on your communication style…