How To Give Advice
I have a question for everyone… How do you respond to people that confide in you or ask for life advice?
Tell them exactly what you would do, correct?
But check this…
If you are in a position of giving advice, don’t tell them what you would want to hear. Many people give advice as if they are talking to past versions of themselves, but other people are not you. Check your ego. You don’t always know what’s best for someone else unique life experience.
Instead, try to ask open-ended questions about their experiences and thoughts that help them work through their own issues. If you don’t know what to say, then don’t say anything.
Simple solution, hard to apply. We tend to want to fix others. It’s intrinsically human. But just because it comes naturally doesn’t mean it’s helpful. The road of least resistance is always the most tempting but rarely leads to the results we want.
Saying the wrong thing is worse than not speaking at all. You could very well provide a lot of support by simply saying “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here and listening.” It validates people and makes them feel heard, even if no solution comes out of it (and that’s okay!).
One last point I want to hit home: When people talk with you about their problems or things that are upsetting them, don’t try and comfort them by telling them “it’s not that bad”, “you’ll be fine”, etc. This only diminishes and invalidates their experience. You’re saying it’s not a big deal, while they’re saying it is. This doesn’t mean you need to be sympathetic to their situation, but it does mean that you need to acknowledge their perspective and being present. Again, check your ego.
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