How to Be the Best at Giving Advice
Giving people advice is a slippery slope, to say the least.
Of course you want to help your friends with their problems, but you also don't want your counsel to be the cause of their catastrophic decisions.
Wondering how you can offer guidance without ruining your friends' lives? Keep scrolling for our best tips on how to give the best advice.
Actually Listen to the Problem
One unfortunate fact of human existence is that we're often much more concerned with what we think than what the people around us think. Because you always have your own opinions at the front and center of your thoughts, you might enter conversations with friends who need help with your own biases that will affect your response.
Your friends are asking for your advice because they respect your opinion, but you should also have that same respect for their unique perspective. Make sure you fully listen to their issue and take into account their side of the story before you respond. Not only will that allow you to offer better advice, it will also help you show your friends that you really care about their feelings and want to set them up for success.
(Riverdale via The CW)
Think About Them, Not About You
When giving advice to your friends, it's important to think about what's best for them above what would be best for you. Much like genuinely listening to their problem, your advice should be geared towards what they might need at the moment. If you expect all your friends to follow the same life path as you, you'll spend most of your time offering advice that doesn't actually meet their needs. Instead of thinking about what you might do in their situation, put yourself in their shoes before you offer guidance. Thinking of their unique needs first will result in much more helpful advice.
Don't Give Unsolicited Advice
When you truly care about someone, it can be really tempting to insert your opinions into every small problem they face. It's always easy to think you have the right answers from a third-party perspective, but giving unsolicited advice can actually have the opposite effect of your overall goal. Sometimes people just need to vent without hearing about all the things they should do differently. Trying to give advice to someone who doesn't want to hear it will only result in annoyance for both you and your friend, and it might even make them unwilling to seek you out for guidance in the future.
(Riverdale via The CW)
Help Them Reach Their Own Solution
Telling someone exactly what they should do to fix every problem they have is pretty useless if they don't follow your advice. At the end of the day, people will only act if they're totally committed to the behavior, so the best thing you can do when giving guidance is help your friend reach the solution themselves. Instead of outlining why they should follow your advice, ask questions and offer new points of view that will push them in the direction you think they should go. It's a little sneaky, but it will probably be more effective in the long run in truly helping them to change their situation.
Asking for help takes a certain amount of vulnerability, which should be considered when you're trying to give advice. Even if you think your friend is totally messing everything up, you must be gentle in your advice-giving. Berating your friend or harshly critiquing their decisions will only make them feel worse, and it will totally turn them off from coming to you with their problems in the future. Be honest, but be kind—and be sure to let them know that you believe they can fix things. Sometimes it's more important to make someone feel better than it is to tell them everything they've done wrong.
Sometimes you can find guidance in the most unlikely of places. Click HERE for nine cliches that actually offer valuable life advice.