Be honest

If you don’t know how someone feels, let them know that you haven’t been there before, but you’ll try to put yourself in their shoes to help as best you can.

Also, don’t be afraid to let them know you don’t have anything to say. You can still be an ear, take some time to think about it, and then share your thoughts later.

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10 Tips to Advise Wisely: How to Give Advice That Actually Helps

tinybuddha.com

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Plan a fun weekend getaway or day trip with your friend. Set the date in stone and make an unforgettable memory. People often find answers for themselves when they get away, let themselves relax, and clear their head for a while.

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The best way to be a friend is to allow them to tell the story repeatedly. Then they need to work through it and let it go. 

Tell them you’re there to listen to everything they need to say. Once they’ve gotten all out, you’d love to help them move on.

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Advise with permission

If you feel the need to offer unsolicited advice, ask them, “Do you want some ideas to improve the situation?” 

This way they have the option to say no, and they’ll likely give you more attention when they’ve agreed to take your help.

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Say it from the heart

Be there with kindness instead of words. This is a good approach if you’ve already offered advice on the problem, and realize not much you say will help.

Leave a hand-written “thinking of you” card in that person’s mailbox or mail them a package with some sweet treats and light reads.

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When someone comes to you for help, they’re trusting you to hear them out without being judgmental or condescending.

Focus on what they can do or change right now. Try something like, “It might help to consider….” 

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Even if you’ve been there before, you can’t guarantee any specific outcome. Your friend could approach her boss exactly like you did for a raise and end up being demoted—at which point she might blame you.

Keep expectations realistic by focusing on possibilities within the realm of uncertainty. Weigh the possible outcomes, both positive and negative.

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Offer long-term support

Your friend doesn’t just want tips to switch careers; she wants support in making a scary but positive change.

It doesn’t matter so much that you have all the answers. More often than not, people know what’s right for them; they just want to feel validated and supported.

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It can feel gratifying to figure out what seems like the answer and then deliver it in a sermon. 

It can come off as superiority. Instead, try, “I don’t have all the answers, but I’d love to help you figure out what’s right for you.” Whenever you’ve talked for a few minutes, bring it back to them. “What are your thoughts about that?”

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When you make the proactive decision to find answers for yourself, you feel both empowered and confident in your ability to make the right decision. 

You can help your friend feel that way by pointing him in the direction of a few books that will help him help himself. Start by saying, “I came across something that might help put things in perspective…

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This underscores the importance of starting on the right foot.  If you upset the person you’re trying to help, they’ll wall themselves off. 

It's important to use empathy, but don’t get too friendly. Take a careful balance between making someone like you and asserting your authority.

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It happens when one rushes to provide advice, which is most likely to be discarded or ignored, even if the person was asked for it.

Even with good intentions, providing advice isn’t necessarily a good idea. We normally do not welcome any advice provided to us, with a natural reflexive repulsion towards being told what is to be done by someone else.

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We can ask ourselves five questions when faced with disappointment, that will help us to cope better with it:

  1. Why am I disappointed?
  2. What could I have done to prevent it?
  3. How will I perceive this disappointment in five years?
  4. When I look back after five years, will this setback have made me worse off?
  5. What can I learn from this?

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