Those who do violate our boundaries can make it difficult for us to restrain our annoyance and respond politely. Image Credit: Pexels/Keira Burton

Have you ever struggled with a challenge – trying to handle it as best you can – when out of the blue, a meddlesome friend or relative calls you up and offers unwanted, intrusive advice?

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we learn how best to deal with people who ‘meddle’.

For the most part, people who know us and care about us, are supportive without being overbearing. But those who do violate our boundaries can make it difficult for us to restrain our annoyance and respond politely. Worse yet, when you don’t follow the particular piece of advice, you’re asked to explain why, when next you meet.

According to a January 2020 report in US-based psychology news website Psychology Today, meddlers often intrude so they can assert their own expertise and power. Well-intentioned meddlers, however, may just be trying to help, and to form a closer bond with you.

According to a 2019 study by the Germany-based University of Erlangen-Nurnberg, you can take three practical steps to minimise pain in such interactions, and even improve your relationship with the other person:

1. Recognise different perspectives

Another person’s attempt to help may come across as a belittling attitude from where you’re standing. But the other person may honestly be trying to help you out of a jam. It’s worth taking a step back to assess the situation and gauge the person's intentions before reacting.

2. Identity or reputation?

Do you feel your own identity, as a competent adult, is being demeaned, when someone meddles in your affairs? Or are you worried about how you’re being seen by others? Meddling can be a threat to both, but it’s worth trying to determine what is making you feel so incensed.

3. Basis for meddling

It’s easy to become defensive when someone gives you advice. But rather than becoming annoyed, analyse the meddler’s approach with you, and the message they’re trying to impart – you might find some truth in their message that is helpful.

From this awkward, sometimes painful, interaction, you could come away with some benefit by following the above steps.

What do you think? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at