When I write posts, I hope that people will take something away from them – something to help make their lives better, improve that of a family member or friend – I hope that even one sentence can help out. The point was raised that advice isn’t always so universal – oftentimes you need to tailor it to the individual in order to really give them the best advice possible. You need to ask them the right questions in order to truly understand what will help and the “correct” answer for a situation.
Obviously, I can’t do that well in the form of a blog, but I’d love to be able to help – if I can ever help give you a thorough answer to a question you might have, you can always drop me a line at:
Doomsdayblaze at livejournal dot com
And I’ll see what I can do. I know this is kind of out there, but everyone can use a helping hand, right? So just putting it out there.
But yeah – giving and getting advice. It can be the hardest of trades. You’ll run into a variety of situations, such as:
- One person won’t want to accept the advice
- The advice giver might find that they don’t feel that they’re the right person to give the advice
- Fears of a wrong advice in a particularly important situation
- Not knowing how someone will take the advice – perhaps you’ll stop being friends
- Use a calm tone – We’ve all had our parents give us advice based on the fact that they simply “know better”. I’m 27, and while I’m more inclined to listen to them than when I was 17 (and they knew better, but I was way too stubborn to accept it), their method of delivery could use some work. If you’re the parent in the advice giving, I’m not going to tell you how to parent your child. In just about any other case, you might want to consider using a tone that’s less on the shouting and condescension and more on the giving the advice-seeker the inkling that you’re there to help and hear them through. Calm, slow and steady often wins the race here.
- Be objective with a dash of subjectivity – This should be less about what you think they should do from personal bias and more about what you can factually tell them is their best option. You bring your life experiences, knowledge learned and other influences into your decision-making, but these should support the facts you give rather than determine what direction your advice is going to take before you’ve fully thought the situation through.
- Don’t be a “yes-man” – The person coming to you for advice should be told what they NEED to hear, not what they WANT to hear. A true friend will be able to give them helpful advice in such a way so that you won’t be hurting them, but helping them realize that although you’re telling them contrary from what they wish to do, there will likely be a better outcome for it.
- No, you do not know everything – Sometimes, if you just don’t know the answer to something, admit it. Don’t try to be everything to everyone – sometimes you just won’t know, and at those times you need to humble yourself and figure out another option to find a solution to the problem.
- No question is a stupid question – Let the advice seeker counter with or ask as many questions as needed to get them where they need to be. You’ll often ask questions as well – what I’m saying here is that these advice sessions should often be a dialogue rather than a one-way dictation. Who knows? You might both grow from the interaction!
- Yes there are bad ideas – unlike questions, there are bad ideas. But make sure you thoroughly explain why the idea is bad before simply bashing the person for doing something that’s against their best personal interest. Sometimes the advice seeker may not see things the way you do, but if you rationalize it out, you have a better chance of them hearing your opinions out.
- Be trustworthy – There’s no benefit in gossiping about the problems that someone is having; it should be an A and B conversation, leaving the advice seeker in control of who knows the information and how much they have to worry about. If you think that they need advice outside of your expertise, ask their permission first before proceeding.