Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
It is so obvious to me what my friend is doing to ruin her life. But it doesn’t matter what I say, nothing ever changes. It’s not like she is even resisting my comments- she agrees! But nothing ever changes. It’s as if she has some internal programming that can’t be changed.
Why can’t people DO anything about their problems even if they are told solutions? What is the point of even giving advice?
When you give advice, no matter how good that advice is, it is YOUR advice, often based on your common sense or from your own experience in handling situations. More often than not this advice doesn’t work because you are not the other person. Each person has their own set of skills and flaws. In order for advice to be helpful it must be based on the person it’s being given to, and it must consider their current skill sets and flaws.
An example: my wife was having a conflict with a board member at work. In her eyes he was impossible to deal with. My initial advice was “don’t take his actions personally; he treats everyone rotten, not just you.”
But she is a sensitive person and has difficulty disconnecting from another’s pain or joy. Upon thinking about her nature, my advice changed. I told her that rather than distancing herself from the difficult member, it might work better to choose carefully whom she paid attention to. She decided to talk to other board members who were far more positive people.
If I’d given her advice that was inappropriate to her nature it would be like telling her to be someone else.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: I concur.
I’d just like to add that sometimes, advice seems like it isn’t working because it doesn’t work overnight. But big, deep changes don’t happen that quickly. And sometimes, even people who don’t seem to be listening to advice are mulling it over in their heads, taking it in at their own pace. If you give advice, you need to learn to give it… and then let go.
If we could only all follow our own best advice…