11/05/2012 11:32 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

eWise: Please Advise Yourself to Stop That


I'd like to know how to stop people from using the annoying "Please advise." It's used as a passive-aggressive way to drop the ball in the other person's court. Much better to come out and ask for help, or state what your real question is.
Please advise :-)
- F.H.

In terms of office passive aggression, this is right up there with “Thanks in advance!” or copying a similarly qualified colleague to answer a question rather than figuring it out yourself. If someone is regularly writing you emails that begin with a description of a catastrophe and end with “Please advise,” there may be a polite way to train him out of it. If fixing the catastrophe is not your job, you can tell him what you’d do in a similar situation and connect him with the resources he needs. “Hope that helps!” is an insincere but effective way to signal you have no more assistance to offer. And yes, it’s best to avoid commands like “Please advise” or “Let me know” when asking a favor. As you suggested, just ask the question and hope you haven’t annoyed the person beyond the point of answering it. Hope that helps!

If a friend who posts crazy conservative rants (like insulting the appearance of Democratic women) on their own Facebook page posts some sort of compliment on your wall or tags you in a well-meaning note — do you remove/untag?
— L.H., Atlanta

The technical solution would be to adjust your privacy settings, which allow you to approve wall posts and tags before they appear on your timeline. Public communications with this friend don’t need to come as a surprise.
The larger question, though, is why you are engaging with a person whose worldview sickens you and whose friendship embarrasses you. It sounds like this person is containing her inflammatory rants to her own wall, not using your profile to rail against marriage equality or campaign for Richard Mourdock. If simply being associated with this person by Facebook praise makes you cringe, you probably have no interest in reading her status updates and may want to consider unfriending, on Facebook and in life. Untagging yourself in her complimentary note could help pave the way.

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This story originally appeared in Huffington, in the iTunes App store.