Why Giving Advice May Not Be Helpful As It Seems

Have you noticed human beings are socializable animals? This means that for most of us out there is constant interaction with others on a daily basis. This interaction most times can involve either our family members or friends. Most commonly in these interactions with our family and friends, problems been encountered usually make the discussion. Often in our interactions with family and friends, problems being encountered would inevitably be brought up. Inevitably too, in trying to be a friend indeed, we often react by giving advice on how to solve the problem.
However, this seemingly harmless response is generally not recommended, for the following reasons:
• We assume we know what the problem is and forget to be a listener, to find out enough details about the problem and the other person’s point of view.
• We get ‘credit’ for being the one to give the advice since the advice is likely to be something that the adviser has done or others have done that was successful. So if the listener didn’t succeed or had done it before but it was not successful, the implication is that it is not because the advice was not good, but the listener has not applied it well. This tends to make the advisee feel stupid and incompetent.
• We forget to extend empathy to the woes of the other person.
• When we give advice, we’re talking ‘down’ to the other person as we become the ‘expert.’ We’re so eager to talk and show our knowledge and ‘wisdom’ that we do not interact at an ‘equal’ level with the other person. We take on the position of ‘the expert’ and might tend to forget that the other person also has knowledge to share with us.
• We belittle the efforts that have been taken by the person. We become the evaluator of what the person has done rather than helping him/her to self-evaluate.

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