Experts in the area of etiquette state that the only time it's appropriate to correct another person's grammar is if said person is a child and you are his or her parent or teacher. But what about advising someone who has wildly erroneous ideas about what types of food or exercise routines will bring about better health or weight loss?
Before you answer, consider these real scenarios where I kept quiet but inside my head I was saying, "Oh honey...really?"
-Individual whines about inability to lose weight but orders the largest steak on the menu and gobbles down every last morsel along with loaded baked potato. Statement is made that it's a reward for 30 minutes on the elliptical machine earlier in the day.
-Individual has been on one unsuccessful "diet" or another for the past 13 years and just finished describing the diet cookies that Woman's Day magazine claims will help her lose weight.
-Individual states that weight gain is the result of friends' invitations to go out for meals several times per week.
-Individual beams with pride over choice to give up regular lunch of burger and fries and replace with two granola bars.
-Individual has gained weight while on an exercise routine that consists of walking on the treadmill while reading a magazine.
-Individual expresses frustration over steady weight gain while staying vigilant about diet. Is observed on several occasions using two scoops each of powdered coffee creamer and sugar in coffee and slathering copious amounts of mayonnaise on sandwiches. Note: Individual's freezer is never without at least two half gallons of full fat ice cream.
My theory is that etiquette pros would advise me to listen without comment or suggest that the individual seek the assistance of a professional.
What say you? Is it ever okay to give unsolicited advice? What about asking a leading question that could get the person to view their situation from another side?