The art of advice

I’m not sure how I would have played it had I have been given advice as a child, because it never happened. But it’s often how advice is received that makes giving advice difficult.

Not all of us will be happy to take advice and the truth is, we will all interpret advice very differently. Some of us will be genuinely happy to take advice because we know the advice given will help, others may not particularly if they have their own opinions, or feel there is an element of criticism attached to the advice they’re about to be given.

Is there ever a good time to give advice?

Probably when the person you’re trying to help reaches out and you know they’re ready to take advice. That’s not easy of course, particularly when you think or know that person is struggling. When a person’s not in a position to take advice, the advice we give may not go down well at all.

The advice we give could be seen as condescending. It’s very easy to come across as knowing it all, but that’s further from the truth. Perhaps on our part, it would be easier if we asked the person we’re trying to help if they’re okay and whether they’re looking for ideas or possible solutions.

That way they’re more likely to be open to our suggestions. In any event, when handing out advice, we must be careful how we give out that advice.


11 Jun, 2014

4 thoughts on “The art of advice

  1. I agree, giving advice can be tricky. I’m not really in a position to give much advice except for my children.

    I know already how they will perceive the advice, so I’m not so hesitant to give it to them. Personally I accept advice freely and understand that most of the time it’s not critical (not given in a mean sort of way). There are a few people that ask my advice because I’m a nurse and studying for a degree in nutrition and natural health.

    I don’t mind them asking at all, but it does put me on the spot sometimes and I have to say, ‘you need to see a doctor and ask them, I’m not a doctor.’ and my BFF and I have a mutual understanding that we can say almost anything to each other and know it’s not to hurt, but from the heart.

    There are times when it worries me to give advice, due to my thinking that it’ll be wrong. That’s when I usually tell them to seek advice from someone else, but just giving advice to people isn’t something that comes natural to me.

    I can think of a lot of things to tell people, but I usually keep my mouth shut and advice to myself.

    1. Thanks Lisa. It’s great that you have someone you can take advice from and she can be the same with you. That’s what relationships should be about. I agree it’s never easy taking, receiving or giving advice.

      From what you say, I’m sure that given time you’ll probably find the more you know, the more confident you will be about giving advice without other people having to seek advice elsewhere.

      I believe it gets easier with more experience and more confidence.

  2. I can honestly say I don’t remember ever receiving any advice from my parents.

    I am being generous here rather than saying I never received any, I am saying I don’t remember receiving any. That said, it gave me the freedom to make my own decisions and learn from my mistakes so that was a good thing.

    I generally don’t give advice unless I am asked for it and even then I will try to inform the person so they can make their own decisions. I advise people all day, every day through my job and with experience I find that easy.

    I sometimes laugh to myself that it is me they are coming to for advice!

    1. When anyone comes and asks advice from us it shows they trust us. You’re doing your job right so that’s a good thing.

      As far as your parents are concerned, I think you know they gave you no advice. I am sure you would remember anyone that would give advice. In life we tend to remember the people who don’t do something rather than the people that do.

      The fact that you are able to be generous with them on this point, shows you’ve moved on. In your case and as you have so eloquently expressed, it was a good thing for you that you didn’t get your parents’ advice.

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