Advising someone can be very tricky. There are so many things that need careful consideration before we give our two cents because we may be involved in the eventual results, be it favorable or not.
However, we may often also think and feel that we have the right things to say or advice to offer without fully understanding the other person’s point of view and other variables surrounding their situation.
Here are four questions that we need to consider before giving someone a piece of advice:
1. Are they looking for advice?
The most important consideration that we often forget is listening carefully to what the other person is saying.
We need to determine first if they are genuinely asking for our advice or simply trying to vent.
Most of us may already experience this feeling when talking to someone about our problems. We don’t want any help; we just needed someone who would listen.
On the other hand, some people will explicitly ask for our advice regarding certain things they think we are capable of or knowledgeable about.
2. What is your level of relationship?
Depending on our level of relationship, our response and advice may vary. We can’t give the honest advice that we’ll typically present to a close friend to someone we barely know.
Another critical criterion is the level of trust and respect that we have for the person asking for advice. Because without these two, we may not be the right person to give the loving or firm advice they needed at the moment.
Are we talking among peers, or between colleagues, or a mentor-mentee relationship? Our level of connection will likely dictate how our response would be.
Our shared values will also play an essential role in what kind of advice we can give.
3. What is your level of competence?
Besides our relationship, it is also essential to determine if we are competent enough to give qualified advice.
Think of it like someone without a medical license giving you health advice. It is dangerous and potentially harmful. This is also applicable to legal or investment advice.
However, there are times when competence is not determined by licenses or degrees. It can be a matter of experience that gave the personal competence, such as advice relating to relationships, businesses, or personal finance.
4. Can you give unbiased advice?
Another important consideration is how you can provide an objective point-of-view or voice of reason without taking sides. If there are multiple parties, how will you determine if you got all the facts?
But since you already established that your level of relationship is enough to warrant you to give a bit of advice, after careful consideration of the facts, you need to provide unbiased advice even if it would hurt the person you’re trying to help.
Giving advice is tricky, and often the person we advised does the total opposite of what we say. However, it is essential to understand that we can only provide informed advice based on the facts and arguments. The action will remain solely on the person.
While giving advice that is never followed continuously can sometimes be frustrating, we still need to be there for them.
We also have to give the benefit of the doubt that the other person would consider the few pieces of advice that we shared.