How to: Give advice

When giving advice it is important to feel confident that the advice you’re giving is going to help. Sometimes that thing you thing they need to hear isn’t quite the time yet, advice is all about biding your time and understanding what they need to hear and when even if they don’t want to hear it right now.

I like the quote I used for the title image, I think it’s completely true. When you give advice it is important to think about how that person is feeling, it is always a good idea, you don’t want to assume you know what they’re feeling because sometimes it makes them feel suffocated as if people are telling them who they are and how they feel instead of giving them the freedom to feel what they feel. When they tell you how they are feeling, I liked to try to feel that too by thinking about when I felt the same way, I then think about what I needed at this time and I project that into making them feel better.

It is important to understand that people don’t always want advice and that’s okay, they just want someone to listen, this means being supportive in what they’re saying and not trying to invalidate their feelings or make them seem like they’re not allowed to feel like that.

They feel like that for a reason and they’re coming to you for help, you need to try to make them feel better or just let them get some things out of their system.

But that doesn’t mean being afraid to help them because you might do something wrong. People are forgiving creatures they’re not going to hold it against you, yes they may have a momentary backlash but that is not going to stay that way. If it were to make you feel better than you could disclose the fact you’re not the best with advice but you’re going to do all you can to help, but don’t make them console you, that is always going to make that person feel worse, making yourself the focus of sympathy.

Okay, so you’ve asked them what they’re looking for in this conversation and they say advice and in your mind you have the situation in your head from when you felt like they did, what did you need? What did you want to hear? If someone could have given you advice what would you have wanted them to say? Sometimes with advice, they’re not going to want to hear what you have to say and that’s okay they will think and come around to the idea more if you give them time and a clear explanation.

Please, if they don’t take your advice, don’t hold it against them. As human’s we learn from our mistakes, yes some of us can learn from other’s mistakes but most of us learn from our own mistakes. It is important you are there to pick up the pieces, not judging them you need to support them, they are coming to you because they trust you and believe in you. Please don’t take that for granted.

Of course you can ask them for feedback but only once they are no longer sad and I don’t mean straight away, I mean maybe a day or a few later.

When you give advice, whether in person or over text, choose gentler words and avoid accusations, we have all made mistakes in the past, I’m sure you have too but don’t worry it is okay, be calm in your responses and think through what you’re saying.

If you are clueless about the advice you’re giving, especially if you’ve never felt the way they do or you can’t imagine, you can google search their issue, this is particularly good if it is a more serious, delicate topic. Sometimes, we as humans, just need to be held and to have our hair stroked, if you are available and they would prefer face to face contact, take them to a neutral place perhaps some kind of public garden where you’re in no danger of people hearing, sometimes it is too intimidating to visit someone’s house for their party.

The most important thing to do is to just be there for them, be there in the sense you’re in this moment with them not focussing on other things and being there in the sense you’re a shoulder to cry on.

Practice makes permanent.

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