Has a friend ever come to you with an issue in their life and when you try to give advice, it just doesn’t go the way you planned? Maybe it feels like your words fall flat or you don’t know how to go about sharing wisdom with them.
We can relate.
It’s SO tough when you truly want to help a friend in need, and it feels like your words aren’t helpful.
If this is an area you’d like to grow in and be able to share helpful advice, here are 3 helpful tips that we have learned from over 25 years of peer-advisory group experience:
- Ask for their permission: Many times an advice-seeker is not yet ready to hear solutions. They may need to have their feelings acknowledged first. Or they may need time to process the situation before hearing ideas and becoming proactive. Oftentimes, people ask for advice when what they really want is someone to just listen.
- Affirm their wisdom: As the experts on their own lives, advice-seekers are in the best position to arrive at the answers that are right for them. Affirming someone’s innate wisdom is a powerful gift you can give them. Rather than feeding into their belief that they need to be told what to do, you can remind them that they are knowledgeable.
- Instead of sharing your advice, share your experience: Sharing your experience does wonders for the advice-seeker. It prevents a power dynamic where you are the expert and they are the student. Instead, your openness and disclosure engender trust and make you vulnerable alongside them. The personal experience you share becomes one piece of data that the advice-seeker may consider as they navigate their situation and come to their own decisions.
We hope these tips help you the next time a friend in a difficult time comes to you for support.
We’re so glad you’re here! We’re better together.
The Advice Column Team