In several instances in the past few weeks ranging from experiences in the gym, at the grocery store, at school, on the internet, I have been presented with unsolicited advice. Now, often when we give advice to others, to help them when they are not doing something in the way we think best, we think of ourselves as being angels of mercy, helping someone out of the very greatness of our heart.
But it seems to me that particularly when the relationship between the advisor and the advisee is not a particularly intimate one and when the advice is unsolicited, it cannot help but come across as a deliverance from on high. In other words, unsolicited advice is presented as a piece of wisdom from someone who knows better and this is often going to be felt as belittling the person being advised.
To use a parallel, it seems that unsolicited advice is more akin to the vice of pity than to the virtue of sympathy, in that it underscores a difference in knowledge or wisdom or power between the two participants