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How to Handle People Who Tell You What You “Should” Be Doing

Now I am going to share with you how to handle the people who perpetually guide you in your life, so you can move forward in the most positive way.

Ultimate Guide to Self Love

Exclusive Excerpt – The Ultimate Guide to Self Love

By Barbara Rose, PhD

The Critics Who Tell You What You “Should” Be Doing

Perhaps there are people in your life who don’t truly know how to be supportive of you, accept you unconditionally, and show kindness to you. Perhaps, just as in my life years ago, there are people in your life who seem very adept at telling you what you “should” be doing. Do you know what? They are entitled to their views and opinions, and those views and opinions have absolutely nothing to do with you.

I have traveled this path in my own life. My brother, whom I do love very much, called me “a little left of center.” Okay, he’s entitled to his views; and I do not have to try to change them or prove anything to him. Additionally, my mother, whom I also love very much, told me repeatedly to “get a real job” and “work for a corporation” after my first two books were published and I had already worked with many people to help them transform their lives. This was prior to my beloved Mother’s recent passing,

Now, this book is about you, not me; but the only way I can help you is by sharing examples from my own life so you know that I have also been there.

Handling Unwanted Advice and Guidance

Now I am going to share with you how to handle the people who perpetually guide you in your life, so you can move forward in the most positive way.

First, stop sharing what you do, your ideas, plans, creative ventures, worries, fears, and business with anyone who is not fully supportive of you. Simply be kind and cordial. When they ask you what’s going on, tell them about domestic chores and that you just changed the linens on your bed. When they ask how you are doing, say, “Good! No complaints.” After a while, no matter what was happening in my life, when all I discussed was domestic chores and had no complaints, they had nothing to tell me in regard to my life direction because I was no longer feeding them personal information.

The only people I discuss my personal life with are people who love me unconditionally and are emotionally supportive of me. If someone is putting you down, telling you what to do, minding your business, or guiding you, if what they say goes against what feels true to you inside, then simply thank them for their opinion and change the topic of conversation.

You do not need anybody’s approval but your own. The people in your life who are quite adept in minding your business most likely are not living their passion, are not filled with self-love, and are not truly working in an area that they would do for free for the rest of their lives if they could. This is where your passion and life purpose come into play, and I will guide you through this as well because it has a lot to do with how you view yourself and how you feel about yourself.

What to Say and When to Say it

If you do not yet have a loving support system of positive people in your life, before you do attract those people, it is imperative that you stick to your truth regarding your personal life and stop discussing it with anyone who is not a positive, life-enhancing support system for you. When people in your life suggest how you “should” live your life, simply say, “Thank you for your opinion.” Period. Please realize that many people may think that what they are telling you is in your best interest. Rather than telling you what to do, I am guiding you now to start looking within your heart and asking yourself what truly matters to you, and what you naturally love to do. I will get into this in more detail in the next chapter.

But here I will repeat what I said before: It is so important that you know you are not in this life to win approval from anyone on earth. You are in this life to bring out your real qualities, rather than continuing to tell yourself that you are not yet whole and complete, because you really are. You may not feel it yet, but you will. Your life may look different from how you would prefer it to look, but it will be transformed from the inside out.

Your Talents, Gifts and Purpose

It all begins with getting to know and rediscover the best qualities you have within you, along with all of your natural talents and gifts, so you can align them with a purpose that comes from your heart. That purpose is called your life purpose, otherwise known as the reason you came into this life to begin with, and it all comes from the inside out, not the outside in.

Before I bring you to this place deep within your heart, it is important for you to remember that no matter what anybody says to you or about you, the only thing that matters is that you know the real you, and that you live your truth every moment of your life.

Your Experiences and Worth

The complaints you have about yourself definitely do not reflect your pure inner worth, because this worth resides in your heart. The circumstances in your life, my life, everybody’s life on earth are all transient circumstances. This means that they are temporary; not one of them lasts forever. Perhaps just as in my life years ago, the circumstances in your life may be everything other than what you truly desire.

It is important to know that your circumstances never reflect your worth. They are temporary circumstances, period. Your worth cannot be purchased or sold. Your worth has nothing to do with your appearance. Your worth has nothing to do with what you own. Nor does it hinge on a title or a position in society.

No matter what phase of life you are currently experiencing, please know and always remember that your worth is the goodness you were born with in your heart, and from this moment forward, anything that you have been viewing as the basis for your worth can instead be viewed as an experience you would like to have.

Moreover, the critics who may be in your life are actually wonderful catalysts to get you to be true to you. Not to them, to you. Additionally, your truth does not have to be publicly announced. It can remain inside of your heart while you simultaneously move your views of yourself in a more truthful direction consciously, and move your entire life in the direction that reflects the truth you prefer in your deepest heart. It is time that what you feel, think, say, and do all match, in a positive, pure, and life-enhancing manner.

Excerpt © Copyright 2010 by Barbara Rose, PhD All Rights Reserved, Exclusive Book Excerpt republished with permission from the book The Ultimate Guide to Self Love Published by The Rose Group (October 2009) ISBN-13: 978-0-9795161-5-3.


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By Barbara Rose, PhD| Bestselling Author 33 Books| Higher Self Relationship & Life Transformation Expert| SAG-AFTRA

Bestselling Author of 33 Books| Global Higher Self Relationship & Life Transformation Expert| Public Speaker| Actor SAG-AFTRA

45 replies on “How to Handle People Who Tell You What You “Should” Be Doing”

This is so interesting and useful! But I wonder how to apply this to situations with your spouse? Mine knows it all. If I don’t behave, agree with ideas or even cook just how they think I should they get angry with me and I frequently get bombarded with how I should or need to act, be and do. If I disagree I get told I refuse to learn and it’s my ego getting in the way. It’s exhausting.


Dear Perrenial,

I’m so sorry to see this, what he is doing and saying to you is abusive and controlling. Honestly if he doesn’t like the way you cook then he can cook for himself. Let him know in a loving way that he is your partner not your boss. His low self esteem is what is causing his abusive controlling ways. Just let him know in a loving way by saying, “I’m not going to allow you to boss me around. It’s unkind, and that needs to change. More self love will help you a great deal and I support you with that process.”
In all honestly if I had a spouse that treated me this way I would exit the relationship completely. You clearly deserve better, remember that!
Sending you much love,
Barbara Rose, PhD


Hi, I got a lot out of your article, thank you. You actually specifically answered one important question I’ve had- about publicly announcing my truth. Now is not the time- I agree. I am just beginning my journey. I am bombarded with opinions and advice both directly and indirectly, some of that criticizes others’ advice. And some of it I’ve tried, but I have not been successful- there is a basket full of opinions on reasons for that. I’m sure I could come up with a list of least 100 things that I should do tomorrow. So, I find myself wanting to reject everything. Your article helped give me some perspective on that and a few other things. I appreciate it.


“Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!”


This was very much needed as I googled “why do others tell you what to do”. I appreciate that I can share personal info with those who will make me feel valued.


This is helpful information on how to deal with my dad. He constantly shames and criticizes me and my son but covers it up by calling it “advice”. He is, however, an interrogator so the linen talk may not tide him over for long. His questions are more specific than how are you doing. He will respond with loaded questions such as, “only good??” and “will this thing you’re doing actually going to help you?” I really appreciate your advice! Thank you!


Dear Kerri Michalica, I grew up with the same kind of “advice” and I learned to stop talking about whatever I was doing completely. I didn’t need their advice, or constant questioning. Just detach with loving compassion, they are unfulfilled and just don’t know a better way to relate. I send you lots of loving support. Keep being the best Mom that you can – that means the most. I wish you every blessing.

Barbara Rose, PhD


i have a friend that constantly criticizes me on EVERYTHING. he is very successful, but i dont like his tone when he talks to me. same with my aunt, she is successful also but she gives advice in a very rude tone. i dont talk to my friend anymore and dont talk to my aunt as much. they are both very rude, i feel so much better not talking to them.


Is it rude for my tennis partner to always ask about my job? I never ask about his work. Because I don’t care. I just met him in June….


Great article! I decided to cut my family off years ago! I stopped visiting them, and stopped emailing them, and blocked them from texting and phoning me, sick of them telling me off , like when l wanna do a new University course they say ” what for? ” in an angry voice. It pisses me off! Makes angry. And if it’s not that they’re telling me off about , it’s always something else.


Thank you, Barbara. This is exactly what I needed to read. Although, I love, my sister. We have been apart for years, and after getting out of a bad marriage. And on my own for years. I’m talking to someone who is kind, and compassionate. However, my sister believes he has a hidden agenda. After much yelling on her part, and being judgemental I couldn’t take it anymore and cut the conversation short. Now she’s upset. I have to distance myself again, because I cannot have this chaos.


Dear Margaret,

I’m happy for you! Just view your sister’s expression of her opinion as everyone has a right to their own opinion, but that does not mean you have to agree or even discuss it. You can always say, “Thanks for your valuable opinion.” And leave it at that.

Wishing you all my best,


What if your spouse is using heroin? Is it still wrong to tell them what they should do – to stop using it? What if your boss is making a big mistake and buying the wrong software for the company? You said “If someone is telling you what to do then simply thank them for their opinion and change the topic of conversation . . . Stop sharing what you do with anyone who is not fully supportive of you.” If you really are supportive and see that what they are doing is self-destructive, shouldn’t you tell them?

Liked by 1 person

Dear Charlie,

Thank you for your valuable feedback. We can certainly try to help those who we see are making dire mistakes, however, every time I did as you suggested with loved ones, they did what they wanted to do anyway – despite my pleading with them and explaining a better way to them. I have found that people will listen when they ask for advice first.

Sending you all my best,


just get away from someone who is not supportive. I got away from this person on the job who kept telling me what I should do in personal matters, best decision ever. Some times you have to distance yourself even if it is family


Thank you so much for posting such a nice thing which I am searching from last decade…. Each line is liketrue copy what I am feeling now a days….. Yes I have one person…. He never feel what I feel… Never think what I am thinking and after all never understand the real me…. I want to fine myself… Please help


thank you for writing and posting this. i’ve been going through something very similar to almost everything you said and explained, for years. thanks again it really helped.


I love this post! I am going to apply this to my own life. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Thank you, Thank you Thank you.

Advice Giver: How are you?
Me: Things are going good. No complaints.
AG: Anything interesting?
Me: I just washed the dishes and now their air drying. You should see these plates!
AG: Great! Well…me me me blah blah blah.
Me: Well that’s too bad OR that’s great.
AG: I know and…blah blah blah.
ME: Well it’s been fun but I really need to get going.
AG: Okay it’s been great talking to you! We should do this more often!
ME: Sure thing. Talk to you later. Bye


This is such a good advice… I hate to use that word here. My eldest sister was going on and on about me telling her my secrets. She has been very infantalizing since we have no relationship more or less. I feel a lack of connection. I feel that her saying these things were digging for gossip or for herself to feel important. I really should have thought the way you have written, but I used to be quite reserved about my problems and recently I told her something very personal and she told the rest of the family, so I have cut off from her in a dramatic way because she has not been supportive in many ways, putting the same anxieties on me that society encourages like you are going to be behind in life and I have given her my long explanations about how I don’t see life as a race, but I really should have not done that and instead really distanced myself from her since our outlooks are very different and she is just an infantalizing person who sees herself as this elder figure. I really didn’t appreciate my family’s lack of support and I didn’t know how to handle it. I feel most people were mocking me for my goals and it’s been hard engaging with people for me in general so it was hard for me to stay closed up and not discuss my issues. I have a habit of revealing too much, especially on social media, to the point that my personal life became everyone’s business. I generally find people lecturing and talking over me as if they need to teach me how to live.


Dear This,

I really know how you feel and I used to experience the exact same thing which is why I wrote about this in the book because so many people experience the same thing. Even if you have just ONE friend – that’s all you need, and remember to make YOURSELF your BEST FRIEND! Once you have your back and stay centered in your truth that will guide you always.

Sending you all my best,


I tell my closest friend problems, challenges and regular concerns. He has been a caretaker of his mother for many years and is unhappy and stuck in his own life. He constantly gives unwanted advice about my job, my family and other things. No matter that I tell him nicely, that I have some things under control, he bamboozles me with more advice. On two particular issues, he’s been very helpful. On other issues, I get annoyed with his meddling because I am not seeking help. This is a 33 year old friendship. I’m also a big complainer. He seems to see me and his other close friend as beneath him or as people who make him feel better about himself by advising.


Dear Jane,

It’s really simple, stop telling him anything that you do not want advice about. Speak of domestic chores. No drama and no complaints coming from you will STOP his unwanted advice because you are no longer telling him things of that nature. I promise you this method works! I’ve used it in my own life for the same reasons. When people I do NOT want any advice from ask me how everything is going, I simply reply saying, “Everything’s good, no complaints.”

Sending you all my best,


I have a girlfriend, telling me I should check my tires, they get low, and she wont go in the car unless I do get air in them. I should call my Mom, I should call my friend, who is having issues, and I should call my daughter to see how she is. I told her if she wants to know how they are then I would give her their phone number so she can call and find out how they are. I said they know my phone number. I feel like she is always telling me what I (Should Do..) I am 58 , she is 56. I never asked her opinion, she gives me hers, and I feel its a control thing. She told me I am to sensitive, she didn’t mean it that way, that I overreact.She says, I have a problem with the word should. She said I need to start feeling good and confident about myself , when that happens words won’t bother me so much. She says I have a problem… and she doesn’t know if she can put up with it much more. She says sometimes she thinks I am looking for a fight. She says I stomp off, when this happens. Yes, I have left and went home. I feel hurt. She says I have a problem with people ordering me around,,, she says that is not what she is doing…. that she uses the word sometimes when she speaks and that she never had no one take it so personal the way I do. She said to me, the word should, is driving me crazy,,, that its just a word. That I take it to personal and that is my problem. That the word is not a big deal for her. That she uses it sometimes,, and it doesn’t mean so much to her. She uses it more then sometimes. She has said to me she has never had issues like this. I take what she says and make it a personal thing against me. i feel when a person says YOU SHOULD DO THIS and That, and says it over and over and over in the same sentence, what is that? Please if you could give some advice I would appreciate please. Cheryl


I read this excerpt during a fit of frustration with my Mother. She means well (although I wonder sometimes) her belittling comparisons between me and whomever is doing a better job raising kids, or worse yet, she revels in telling me how according to: the NY Times (or other highbrow and credible source) I’m doing ‘it’ all WRONG.

I am a Dominican-American, middle aged widow with one (son) child. In our Latin culture it’s practically de riguer, that the elder women espouse their brand of wisdom. It is however, hurtful, insulting and since she feels free to criticize me in front of my son, it undermines my role as a parent.

Thanks to you though, I’ve realized that I AM responsible for giving my Mom the “ammo”.

After my husband died, my son and me moved in with her. Fatal mistake. Now, she’s getting older and I feel a responsibility to stay close. But really, it’s unhealthy for the two of us to live together at this stage of our lives.

I remember my grandmother ruthlessly criticized my mother as well. The thing was though, my Mother was able to snatch up my brother and me and high tail it back to our own sanctuary. That’s key. I need to DO that.

So, I thank you for giving me the clarity to realize this


Dear Lina,

I’m sooo glad this excerpt helped you! Yes, I completely agree with you. ANYONE who criticizes you is ABUSING you and it’s so important that you have a ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ABUSE of ANY kind. This will also set a respectful, loving, caring and compassionate example for your son.
I thank you for sharing as you did, it can help so many other people. Keep up the great work Dear One!!!



Read this excerpt this morning … had me in tears … made me really see a lot of things that I had been denying for a very long time … time to start my day … with a (hopefully) different outlook … first … gotta mop up my mess … ♥


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