Confession: When people approach me with a problem, I often find it hard to stop myself from offering advice. And sometimes… I wonder if this is this a bad thing?
A colleague confides in me their inability to get through an endless pit of email…
I try to tell them how I attempt to do it.
A friend complains about how their child never makes their bed…
I explain how we managed to get beds made in our household.
A neighbor shares guilt and fear over not spending time with her children due to her career…
I proceed to talk about how I attempt to not let the guilt override me.
My advice-giving-justification is this: I’m trying to help.
In fact, I want desperately to help because I understand their frustrations. I try not to offer unsolicited guidance, but when a friend shares with me their struggles and wants to know how they can make things better, my 1st reaction is always to share what’s worked for me.
On the flip side, my greatest advice-giving fear is that those on the receiving side of my well-intentioned counsel don’t understand that often:
- My own email inbox is overloaded.
- Yesterday we had a household of unmade beds.
- And YES—guilt still does occasionally manage to follow me around (appearing like a shadow in the dimmer moments of my days).
What’s worked for me in the past isn’t necessarily a fool proof solution.
Additionally (and maybe most importantly), I’m not certain it’s always clear that the advice I’m offering is ME speaking from MY OWN personal experiences and not “expert” advice.
The reality is: I’m the only person I can be an expert for.
(And even that is questionable some days!)
My advice reflects my experiences—not necessarily theirs.
My solutions reflect what has work for me—not necessarily what will work for others.
Likewise, when I’m at the receiving end of the advice-giving I too should remember that more often than not people tend to speak of and ofter advice based on their own experiences. What works for them will most definitely not always (unfortunately) work for me.
Is offering (and asking for) advice a bad thing?
I say no… just as long as everyone remembers who the experiences and solutions belong to.
Leave a Comment: Do you think offering (and asking for) advice a bad thing? When was the last time you asked a friend for advice only to follow through with their solutions and find that it didn’t work for you?