Originally Posted by WillYouStopDave
Well, that's just it. They think they have been through it. But they really haven't. They have been through their own personal version of it. Which they assume is the same for everyone (but isn't).
I don't know. It's hard for me to take a "but they mean well" approach to it when many of them have had it explained to them over and over that they're actually being rude and inconsiderate and unhelpful and exactly why they're being rude and inconsiderate and unhelpful. That someone believes they're doing the right thing does not change the impact it has on someone else when what they're doing is considered to be wrong by the person it's directed at. At some point it's just piling more **** on top of a pile of ****.
That said, I have done it myself because when you feel like you have to try to give someone advice, you have to say something or you're done so I don't know. But I pretty much back off if they make it clear they don't want it.
My soon to be former roommate is one of those people who gives unsolicited advice all the time and then is offended if you reject it. One small example of this is how she used to turn on the light when I was sitting at the kitchen table with it off. She apologized for it and explained that it was a habit she got from her parents, who always used to tell her that it was bad for her eyes. She apologized so she knew it was irritating, but that didn't stop her from continuing to do it.
(I know turning on the light isn't exactly the same as advice, but it was part of a pattern of her acting like she always knew what was right for me)
Well, I'm talking about random people you run into online or IRL, not people you interact with all the time who should know better (like a parent, roommate, therapist, etc.). There's a difference between wanting to give some kind of support to someone you hardly know and simply refusing to listen to someone when they tell you to stop doing something/giving that advice. The first is a well-intentioned mistake, the second is invalidating. I try to be patient with people in the first category.
They often do feel they've had the same kind of experience -- "I know what it's like to be depressed; I was so sad when my dog died" -- and it's definitely part of the problem. The character of an experience can change dramatically as the intensity/duration changes. Advice that's good for one person can be invalidating (or even harmful) for another even if the problem looks the same from outside.
The ultimate invalidation for me is: "you just don't want to get better". As if I haven't spent decades trying to solve my problems. If I tell someone something doesn't work for me, it's because I've already tried it extensively and not seen any improvement. I spent about 32,000 hours interacting with hordes of people during the course of my last job (selling, managing, resolving disputes, etc.) and it didn't touch my people phobia at all. I'm more anxious now than I was when I started there, despite the fact that my social skills have improved dramatically. So it's not that "I just need to get out there and talk to more people". My problem is not the kind of problem that can be solved through social interaction.