Today I want to talk about advice. We all seek it, give it, or receive it at some time in our lives. Sometimes we receive advice we didn’t ask for and sometimes we chime in when we weren’t asked. Giving and receiving advice is a natural part of the life cycle, but do we really grasp and realize how very important it is and how our words can impact others?
So very often we are not listening to understand, we are listening to reply. When someone comes to you and tells you about something going on in their life, our natural reaction is to think of similar situations we have found ourselves in. Then we become consumed with our own thoughts and start formulating what we are going to say. We have to stop doing this. Stop the thought avalanche in its tracks and focus on what your friend is saying. Are they asking for advice? Phrases like “what do you think?” or “what would you do?” open the door for giving your two cents. Before you reel off all your thoughts on the situation think carefully about how you are going to present the information. Bear in mind this person has come to you because it’s obviously something that is weighing on their heart and mind. Be considerate of this and respect this person’s trust in you. Even if you think the person’s situation is a product of their own self-negligence (such as dating a fuckboy, going back to an ex…etc.) remember there is a time and place for tough love. If you have had this same conversation over and over, it might be time to be a little stern, but if not, handle this person with care. Be gentle and empathetic. Remember that we are all different and react to situations in our own way. Dispense advice about what worked well for you, but don’t get offended if they go a different direction.
Sometimes we just need someone to vent to. If a person is venting and explaining a situation but does not expressly ask for your input, RESPECT THAT. Far too often we interject our own thoughts and feelings when it wasn’t asked for and it can be ill received. If you feel that you truly do have valuable insight into a situation you should ask your friend “I see where you are coming from and been in a similar situation. Do you mind if try to give you some insight and clarity from my own experience?”
I chose this subject matter because I am at a pivotal point in my life and for some reason, people find these times of change and growth to weigh in. I myself have thrust my new found knowledge on others without asking if they even cared to know.
Sometimes it’s not even advice we are dispensing, sometimes it is just thoughts. Whatever it is I implore you to be gentle, kind, and patient with it.