There are some movies worth watching for a single scene. In the case of Tully, a movie about motherhood by Jason Reitman, the scene that resonated most with me was of this expectant mother having to fend off a stranger giving her unsolicited advice at a coffee shop. New mothers, as a group are probably the receivers of the most well-meaning gratuitous advice.

Despite the good intentions, most of these interactions really just annoying. The giver of advice, feeling that rebuke of irritation, often counters with, at best, “I’m just trying to help!” and at worst, judging the other for being ungrateful or close-minded to other ideas or opinions. Here’s the thing: when someone is tired, stressed, or frustrated (and new mothers are often all three) what they need is validation for what they are feeling, not the extra burden of having to validate your own experiences or view on how to go about doing things. If they wanted to know what you think, they would ask.

As a person who likes to solve problems, I am sometimes at fault of giving unsolicited advice. Thinking back, I used to think I know what I would do in someone else’s shoes a lot more often when I was younger. Experience has worn off some of that youthful arrogance. There is a huge difference between confidence and arrogance. If given the choice between sharing your expertise or your empathy, choose empathy!