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Peculiar Okafor: I Don’t Want Your Advice



‘I may not necessarily take your advice’.

Now I’m sure most of us including me will cringe at this, but this write-up doesn’t address the people who just can’t take advice; rather, it addresses the need for some people to always offer advice.  As Chimamanda put it in her novel ‘the tendency of Nigerian women (actually Nigerians in general) to offer sanctimonious advice’. I believe in giving constructive feedback to people afterall, a good friend will tell you if your mouth smells and will help you avoid silly mistakes and clean up the ones you weren’t smart enough to avoid.

If giving constructive feedback (i.e, advice) is indeed a mark of being a good friend or person, how come relationships are lost based on this? ‘She stopped talking to me just because I advised her‘, ‘Bob just doesn’t know how to mind his own business so I’ve learnt to keep my own distance‘. Giving advice, therefore, sometimes feels like a Catch 22.

Here are some tips I drew up. This is more like a checklist before you offer advice – so as to keep the relationships you have while getting the people in your lives to make the desired changes.

Know your position in the advisee’s life
It is one thing for you to consider yourself a person’s friend, it is another thing for the person to consider you a friend. I can tell my best friend anything because we’ve been friends for too long for anything to destroy our friendship. However, with a more casual acquaintance, I’ll have to tread carefully. While we’re on this, don’t even think of advising your boss, unless in situations where… No, just don’t. You can offer suggestions but no advice.

Know the personality of the person
If the REAL reason for giving advice is to see a desired change, then we should understand the personality of the person being advised. Some people do not like public rebuke, if you know this, don’t rebuke publicly. Some people will argue first before agreeing with you, then let them argue. This may seem far-fetched, but some people just don’t want YOU to advice them (I have seen this happen amongst ‘friends’). If you really care, send them a book or ask someone they respect to offer that advice.

Have the Right Motive
Really sister, when you publicly call your other girl out, is it really ‘for her own good’ or does a part of you want to bring her down? When you point the flaws in your colleagues work in front of the boss, are you sure you’re just not trying to show you deserve that promotion?’ I’ve watched people ‘advise’ others with the intent to bring them down, sometimes too, it could be a psychological boost, to show they’re better in a way. After-all, if you’re offering advice, you have to be better than the advisee in a way?.

Understand That the Right to Advise is Earned
I hardly offer relationship/marital advice to friends unless specifically asked because I’m single. Yes dears, remember the bible phrase ‘Physician heal thyself’. If you haven’t really proven yourself as a success in an area, people sometimes do not want to listen to you. People also wait for you to prove that they can trust you or you really care before they listen to you. Lots of people have been hurt, you hear some stories and you wonder how people can ever trust or love again. Remember, people don’t care how much you know, untill they know how much you care.

Be Humble About Offering Advice
You do not know everything about anyone including your child neither do you really know people’s motives ( isn’t it annoying how people meet you and in 6 months believe they know everything about you?). Understand that people are intelligent in their own way and if they have been acting in a manner, there are reasons for this. So in advising others, respect whatever intelligence informed the wrong behavior in need of change before you start talking.

Walk Your Own Path
You have advised, they didn’t listen, keep quiet and mind your own business. People only change when they want to and when someone REALLY wants to change, they’ll find the means to, remember ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. But if you’re really bothered, say a prayer and ask God to handle it.

To the advisee, those of you on the receiving end of the advise, here are some tips to also keep the relationships that matter to you.

Be Thankful
For every one person who comes to advise you, there are usually 10 people talking behind your back. Okay there’s no research to back this data, but the point is you need to appreciate the people who tell you about negative behaviors that need changing.

Listen and Reflect
God gave us two ears and one mouth remember? Listen non-judgmentally to what is being said and even if you don’t agree, reflect and consider ways you can improve.

Don’t Take it Personal
An opinion was being expressed and someone just told you how they see you, it is not a personal attack on you so calm down.

To both the adviser and advisee:

Calm Down
It is not that serious. It is not by force I take your advice and it isn’t compulsory you agree with my point of view. There are more serious issues, people are dying everyday so please no need to fight over something as flimsy as you not liking the way I drink, or talk, or whatever.

Appreciate Our Differences
In life, there is your truth and my truth and none of these truths are absolute. We bring different things to the table hence we behave differently. Remember God the Master artist, made us differently cos if everyone was the same, the world would be one boring place. So appreciate the people in your life.

Have a Sense of Humour
Smile, laugh, see the joke in everything. Nothing is by force. God alone rules the world, it’s not our place to help God rule the world. It’s our job to enjoy the world.

Love Your Neighbour. See the good in everyone and seek peace
Love can make the lion and lamb live together peacefully. Think the best of everyone you meet and seek to keep the peace.

I’ll leave you with one of my father’s words to me before he died, ‘Always strive to be a perfume and not an odour’.

Happy New Year folks!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images 

Peculiar is a Marketing communications personnel, she believes that one can have a full life without being bitchy and she wants it all 'A good career, love, laughter, wealth, you name it. She blogs at Follow her on Instagram @daworkdiva and Facebook ''


  1. O

    January 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    How about someone who thinks they can advise you and wouldn’t accept your own advice on their own mistakes. It goes but ways take my advice and I will listen to yours anytime any day. Because you are also not perfect

  2. O

    January 23, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    * It goes both ways.

  3. Theresa

    January 23, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Thank you Peculiar, it’s worth remembering these tips. Iron sharpens iron, we learn everyday to be better.

    • Peculiar Okafor

      January 23, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      You’re welcome dear.

  4. sum1special

    January 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Advise could go wrong depending on the way the advise is put…it could be offensive…Above all…we should learn to mind our business till your opinion is sought after or your advice asked for…Other than that please mind your business…everyone has something to be advised on…and if we go around advising…i am pretty sure everyone will be fighting each other…With that said…the author is absolutely correct. Thumbs up

  5. Taiwo

    January 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    how about the “street Mothers” who shove their advice on how to dress, feed, hold and take care of your baby in your face. I encountered one at an event a while back. I was trying to breastfeed my baby when she came up to me and pulled me by the shoulder whilst shouting at me ” shey bayii lon sen fun omo loyan, ma pa omo yii o ( is this how to feed a baby, don’t kill this child o). Omo yii ti to ma je amala, ma fi oyan pa! ( This baby should be eating amala by now, don’t overfeed him with breast milk). I swear i don’t know her from Eve.
    All I did was give her a blank stare like i didn’t understand a word of Yoruba and she went on and on about Small girls who don’t know how to take care of babies blah blah blah! I later answered a call and spoke to the person in Yoruba, she was shocked and accosted me asking why i Ignored her. I just replied ” Iya e ma je kin doti yin ma” ( Madam, don’t let me get rude) LOOOOOOOOOL!!!

    • chi-e-z

      January 24, 2015 at 12:26 am

      Amen oh I had one such because of that woman I never wore a dress to church again. That lady made me cry for wearing short sleeve dress on my b-day weekend think I was 18/19 and after eating my b-day food that I didn’t even want to eat after she talked just walked off even now if I go to church I dey sit for back and no dey look any older lady’s face.

    • chica

      January 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      I love me some taiwo…lollol

  6. Alem

    January 23, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Nice article. I agree that you should mind who you give advice to wether warranted or not. You should especially be careful when it comes to matters of the heart. The best advice is not to give any advice but just observe and pray. This is especially so for ladies. If you advice a lady on her bf most often than not you will highly regret getting involved. So for such even if I am asked for an advice I remain very neutral.

  7. fluffycutething

    January 23, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I used to be one of those Nigerian women who had an advise on every subject; i have since learned to mind my business….. sad thing usually is when these very acquaintances of mine bungle their plans following failure to heed my suggestions aka advise they scuttle to me to clear the mess.
    In 2015 i have decided to free everyone to do their stuff….. i just agree with a nod of my head on every subject and it seems an easier way to get along with the world 😀


    January 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks Peculiar for this piece. @ Taiwo, I can relate my sister. I remember taking my son out and someone accosted me and was like ” this is not the proper outfit for the AC here”. This is a baby that was dressed in full sleeved bodysuit and wrapped in his flannel. I looked at the idiot man that said it and calmly asked ” should I put him inside oven because of the AC?” He walked away when he saw that I was offended. I was so angry when another woman queried me about exclusive when she saw me feeding my baby from his bottle and I just looked at her like she had horns on her head. People should only offer advise as friends and be wise about it, not to make the next person feel inadequate.

    • Dr. N

      January 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      My sister, once when I was pregnant a man in d bank asked if my top wasn’t too tight! Talk about nosy.

    • MC

      January 24, 2015 at 1:26 am

      OMG! This made me shed tears LOL!!!!!

  9. ogeAdiro

    January 23, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    We don’t need the author’s advice 🙂

  10. Mel

    January 23, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    these are very great point …you tackled from both angles.. learnt a lot.

  11. star reltionship

    January 24, 2015 at 7:06 am

    yes you’re right, I also give advise to people about relationship but sometimes they dont accept my advice and say that i don’t feel what they feel.
    your article is really useful for me. thanks

  12. laura

    January 24, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    like my silly friends boyfriend who started advising me just because he proposed to her last year. hey, silly, did I tell you I have relationship issues or you think your proposal makes it seem like you are living the perfect life? I wish I could land him a slap.

  13. Defiya

    January 26, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I have this collegue who is also a friend to my in law .oh jeezz! she is your typical nozy,bossy, pompous , oversabi gurl.choi! this girl can pompous n oversabi.always wanting to tell everyone what to do and telling them how wrong they are.and she is soo cunning, she will lure you with her niecey nicey attitude nad before you know it, you are pouring all your issues in her ears, she is trying to tell you to do things her way and at the same time grinding your name to the boss to make you look ridiculous! chaiii! ah tire this girl! na ihn be sey her baby dady just wake up abandon am without a word after years of co habiting… i am not trying to be mean but i can swear the guy got sick and tired of being told what to do.In as much as men want a mother figure for a partner, their boss at work is sufficient enuf for the role of boss!
    at one point she tried the ‘ enter skin n bossy you ‘ with me n my relationship…..mehn, the way she coil after ah give am treatment ehn! am not perfect, i learn everyday but i also believe in trying to split the firewood in my eye into tiny pieces before trying to critise/clean the tiny speck of dust in another’s eye!

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