3 responsibilities of an advice giver

Every once a while, people ask us for advice. This is a privilege. And, like all privilege, it comes with responsibilities.

1. Take a moment, and think about what you are going to say. This is not the time to improvise or ramble. If you don’t have something thoughtful to say, don’t say it. It is okay to take time to think.

2. State your biases. Every thoughtful receiver will spend thinking about what you said. And, in the process, they’ll begin to parse your biases and understand why you said what you said. Save them that trouble. Contrary to what some might think, biased perspective is actually really useful since yours is one of a few perspectives that the receiver is likely listening to. So much better to acknowledge it and move on.

3. Let this be advice to the other person, not to yourself. This is a key major reason for really dumb advice. Too often, people give advice that is really meant for themselves. They rehash their own mistakes and talk about how they might have avoided them. Or, they project their own experiences without considering the receiver’s path and personality. This is all about the receiver – let’s keep that focus.

And, I’ll end with emphasizing what I started with – advice should only be given when it is asked.

4 thoughts on “3 responsibilities of an advice giver”

  1. I always think of Baz Luhrmann’s song “Suncreen” when I think of advise…….
    “Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
    Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth”. It comes up in my life allot, I recommend listening to the song if you have not.

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