Little miss bossy boots or little miss boss bossy, that is what we used to call friends who told us what to do in high school. At first, this is not a problem but as time goes on you may start to think to yourself “why does my friend like telling me what to do?” Doesn’t she trust that I can make decisions by myself? What is wrong with her?
As you begin to mature into different stages of your life, this type of behavior is not fine by any means, whether you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s you should not be told what to do.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do when your friend tells you what to do.
How do you deal with someone telling you what to do?
Your first point of order is to address her controlling behavior, don’t be afraid to call her out in a non-confrontational way and tell your friend she needs to let you make your own decisions.
8 Things you should do when your friend tells you what to do
Address her controlling behavior
Unless you don’t mind her telling you what to do and you want your friend to make all the decisions in the friendship, your first point of call should be to call her behavior to order by addressing her controlling behavior. If her behavior makes you feel uncomfortable and you do not like it, speak up and let her know this is not on.
Pro tip: You don’t have to make a big thing out of addressing her behavior, you can speak to her at a time when she would expect it the least, for example after a girls movies date, when the two of you are sitting and discussing the movie you can approach this in a light-hearted manner so that she does not become defensive.
Stop being a people pleaser
Unfortunately being a people pleaser is something that a lot us of start doing when we are very young, it’s a coping mechanism that we do when we don’t want to upset anyone. As we grow up we learn that being a people pleaser makes our parents, teachers, and siblings happy because we are doing what they want us to do. This behavior spills into our friendships, impacts our social skills and how we interact with our friends and we ultimately attract people whose main mission in life is to be pleased.
Pro tip: You can change your people-pleasing ways at any time, recognize that you can not stop anyone from being mad at you, and once you get over your fear of people’s reactions you will stop being a people-pleaser.
Take responsibility for your own decisions
When things go wrong you are the one who will be left to deal with the consequences so why can’t you be the one who gets to do whatever she wants? If you allow your friend to tell you what to do and you do it, you are giving away your power as an individual, this is your life, you get to make your own decisions and you get to learn from the wrong decisions that you make, and that is okay.
Pro tip: Take responsibility for your actions so that if something goes wrong you are the only one to blame, if you do what your friend wants you to do when something goes wrong this will create resentment, and you might even regret taking her advice.
Talk about something else
Changing the subject is a common theme that you have probably seen throughout our website, and that is because it works like magic, you can change the subject at any time, the reason that this works is that you might not be aware of this, but people are afraid of confrontations when you abruptly change the subject, at the back of their minds they know that you have changed the subject and they won’t say anything about it, it’s one of those weird human nature behaviors that we have.
Pro tip: You don’t have to change the subject all the time, that is just strange behavior, but when she starts telling you what to do, have a question that you can ask her, or follow up on something that she said that she was going to do. You can say something like “ Hey, so tell me what happened when you went on a date with Jason?”.
Tell her to trust you
Your friend could be one of those people who are overprotective, she wants the best for you and for some reason doesn’t want you to make mistakes. She might not be aware of how irritated you are at the fact that she tells you what to do.
Pro tip: You don’t have to come from a place of anger, you can tell your friend something along the lines of “ I love and appreciate your advice, but let me make my own decisions on what to do, if I make mistakes I will let you know and you can give me your input”, do you see how lovely this approach sounds?
Agree to do what she tells you to do
Agreeing to do what she tells you to do should be at the bottom of your list, once you have exhausted all your energy, and frankly should never be done. But some people do not mind being told what to do, they love being led, so many of our readers have faced the same issue and some of them end up doing whatever they are told.
Pro tip: Unless your friend is an expert and whatever issue you are facing she should not be the one who decides your course of action.
Ignore her advice
Smile, nod, act like you are listening, and keep it moving, but seriously back in the day, I had a friend exactly like your friend she would tell everyone in the group what to do, and guess what? We never did any of it, it’s not like she was the boss of everyone. The same thing applies to you, you don’t have to do what she wants you to do, if you are afraid of confronting her you can listen to her and do what you want to do in the end.
Pro tip: If she confronts you about not doing what she wanted you to do, you can say something like “oh, I was meaning to do that, but I decided to do something else instead”, your friend is not that controlling, she won’t say anything after you tell her this.
Get a mutual friend to talk to her
Friendship groups are funny in the sense that all of you might be annoyed with your friend’s behavior but all of you might choose to keep quiet. Grab a mutual friend that you are close to and try and find out if she has noticed that this friend tells you what to do. She might have also experienced the same thing but chose to keep quiet.
Pro tip: Dont involve the entire friend group, the two of you are fine, once you have that sorted you can arrange a time when the both of you can speak to “little miss, I want you to do what I say”, too many people can make it seem like an intervention and you know how those tend to pan out.
What is it called when someone tells you what to do?
When someone tells you what to do it is called dictating (dictate), this is when someone doesn’t give you an option of whether or you want to do what they are telling you, they expect or automatically assume that you will do it.
How to get someone to stop telling you what to do?
You must confront the behavior otherwise they will not know that what they are doing is wrong, you can tell them something like “ thank you for your advice, I will take it into consideration, but I will decide what is best for me”.
How to respond to someone telling you what to do?
You can respond in many different ways, you can ask them “ are you an expert in this subject” or you can say something along the lines of “ Thank you for your advice, I will ask for it when I need it.”
To wrap it up
Remember the best life that you can live is one where you make and learn from your own mistakes. The great thing about life is that we truly live and we learn, even if your bossy friend is coming from a good place when she decides that she needs to give orders she needs to take a step back and stop telling you what to do.