For the most part, when people give others advice it’s usually coming from a good place.
They have evaluated similar situations they were in or simply felt like what they were advising was what they would do if they were in that situation.
While intentions may be good, warped advice can have the potential to cause more harm than help. After having given advice, and most recently received advice here are some things to remember when taking on that role:
If you’ve never been in the situation keep it.
It’s easy to tell a person what they should or shouldn’t do when you are on the outside looking in. In general, when giving advice you should do so from a neutral place regardless. You should help the person see the pros and cons of choices they can make so they can ultimately come up with their own advice or solution and not one you have planted or advised them to do.
If you have been in the situation, advise on what you wish you would’ve known.
Of course once you’ve come out a situation you can look back and see all the things you could’ve done differently. In any situation, you come out having new knowledge that you hadn’t had before.
Instead of advising a person on what you did, what could you tell that person to help them get through it rather than avoiding it? Some of the best lessons we learn come after we’ve gone through them and not when we had an easy way out. What are some things you can tell that person that you noticed after you came out of the situation but not while you were in it? In other words, advise them on paying attention to how they respond or what the situation may be teaching them versus ways you think they can escape it more quickly.
Remember, it’s not your place to judge.
Be open to being wrong or your advice not being taken. It’s their life and in the end, they still have free will and free choice to make their own decisions. Advise should arm people with skills to find their own way out of the situation and not present you like any type of savior or problem solver. You should always want others to feel they are in control and can handle whatever comes their way. Your advice should make you their cheerleader and not their coach.
Pray before speaking
Sometimes we go straight into giving advice without taking a moment to truly think about what we are going to say or what will help the person. I am a culprit of this myself automatically relaying what comes to mind without actually stopping and praying that I’m leading them the way God will lead them.
Keep the conversation private
Unless they have given you permission to discuss with others, don’t share the conversation. When people ask you for advice, it’s a sign they trust your judgment and care about your input. Don’t take that lightly and don’t share with others the place someone has wholeheartedly trusted you in.
A lot of times when people ask for advice they are kind of leaning on what they should do but want confirmation are afraid to admit it to themselves, you have to truly know what part they are looking for you to play and then evaluate whether it’s realistic or not. Sometimes people say they want advice and really they just need someone to help them figure out the thoughts in their head. This is where praying and understanding your role can really come in handy.
Healing not Harming
Overall, always make sure you are in the right mind space to give advice. Your advice should always come from a place where you have healed and not a place where you are still working on yourself. You want to be biased and you want people to think through their own situations with a level head and not have warped information. Be comfortable in saying you aren’t the right person to give the advice if it’s an area you are still struggling in and offer that person to find someone who may be a better help then you.