DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m getting sick of my friends and colleagues giving me unwanted advice. I started my own business a little while ago, and I didn’t ask anyone for help because I didn’t want any help. Since the early phases of starting my business, I’ve received a lot of advice that I didn’t ask for. Most of the time, the people who offer their advice do not have their own business and have no experience dealing with the stuff that I work on. I know that they mean well, and I don’t want to sound rude by rejecting their advice, but for some reason, it does offend me that people think I need it in the first place. I only need advice from people who are in a better position than me. What should I say to my friends who constantly offer their two cents? -- Annoyed
DEAR ANNOYED: Rather than sharply asking them to quit it with the advice, take a more diplomatic approach. Thank them for thinking about you, and keep it moving. Believe it or not, every now and then a layperson may have a great idea, so you shouldn’t close yourself off entirely from their thoughts. But you can stay neutral. Just say thank you and change the subject if they go on too long. Ask them questions about their work, family or other interests. People love to talk about themselves, so this often will get them out of your business and back into their own. When they go on too long, you can draw the line and tell them you have listened to all that you can for now. There may come a time, too, when you have to tell them that you appreciate how much they care about you, but that their constant analysis of your business is not helpful.