Giving advice the way it can be received

Have you ever been giving advice from your heart and–to your total bafflement–upset the very person you were trying to help?

In today’s short video, I am going to tell you why you ought only to give advice if someone asks you three times.

And tell you what to do when they don’t ask for your pearls of wisdom. (instead of spontaneously combust.)

How to Giving Advice – How to Help Someone

Tweet it out! Don’t give advice unless you are asked three times. @JodiAman

Now it is your turn. What do you think about advice?

Here are what some other bloggers feel about giving advice…and getting it!

Tiffany Staropoli of Loving Cancer

I only ever want to receive unsolicited advice from my therapist. That’s it. Free advice isn’t free. It should come from a person who is paid to listen to your story and offer some insight into how you might alter your behaviors in the future. And the best therapists don’t just blurt out what you should or should not do. The best therapists seem to coax these revelations out of you.

If you are anyone else in my life (friend, husband, mentor, co-worker, acquaintance), I would prefer that you wait until I ask for your advice. Otherwise, I may not even hear you. Or I may not be ready to hear you. Or I may just get mad/angry/hurt/resentful.

Knowing this about myself, it is HILARIOUS that I find it extremely difficult to NOT give advice.

I love fixing people.

I love figuring out their problems for them and telling them how to live their lives.

Once I was talking with a friend once who was going through a divorce. She was in a lot of pain. And the pain in my opinion was being perpetuated by many of the decisions she was making. So I told her point blank what she should and should not do. It was clear as day to me.

But did she take my advice? No. Did she even hear the words I was saying that day? I have no idea.

She was not ready to hear anything at that point, only wanting someone to listen. She never once asked for my opinion, yet I gave it. And what came of this? I got annoyed and resentful and frustrated when my words were not heeded. I made it all about me.

Now when I yearn to give unsolicited advice I recognize where it comes from. It comes from a place of fear. It comes from a place of insecurity, and from my ego wanting to be the hero, the fixer, the savior.

So I have learned to very gently bite my tongue.

Tiffany, I couldn’t have said this better myself!

Such great wisdom that I hadn’t included!

Here is Life Coach David Stevens (David is all the way in Australia! We met on Twitter! @DavidLifeCoach)

Personally, I am open to advice when I feel completely stuck on something. If the walls have closed in & I have no answers then advice is welcomed.

Having said that, I don’t enjoy being told what to do. So the “advice” needs to be in the form of an introduction of fresh ideas, practical suggestions and the like. [This is the approach I use with my clients & have found it to work extremely well].

giving advice anxiety treatment

I had a situation a few months back that I simply couldn’t solve. I was confident that I had the knowledge & skill to get through this problem but kept running into a dead end. It WAS frustrating me.
I rang a trusted friend and ran the story past him. He listened carefully and made 2 simple, key observations. Voila! the doors began to open. I was on the verge of the “answer” however really just needed a fresh viewpoint to get me look at my problem a different way, it worked!. And in my opinion, that’s a very positive aspect of receiving advice, getting a fresh view of things…

David, great point! When we are open to it, advice can be just the ticket to what will help us! Advice is awesome and has a place for sure! So glad you added this perspective and let people know we are NOT saying advice is always bad! Sometimes it can save your life! 

Here is what to do instead of giving advice.

1. Listen until your loved one is all the way through telling you what they want to tell you.

2. Ask questions to clarify the content and help them know you want to listen, and that you care deeply.

3. Validate their feelings.

4. Give hugs and cuddles.

5. Notice the skills that they are putting forth and tell them that you see them.

You are probably thinking that I am not following my own advice by advising you about advice. Oops.

Now over to you. Do you like advice? Has someone with good intentions ever made you feel bad when they gave you advice? What do you think?

32 thoughts on “Giving advice the way it can be received”

  1. Wonderful video, Jodi! I love the three times “rule.” It makes so much sense to me. I sometimes jump the gun and give advice because I think I’m going to “help” someone. I really do want to help, but of course, just listening and validating someone is help. I love it when someone offers their observations to me, but I do usually like to ask for it first.
    Tina Fariss Barbour recently posted..Rain and a groundhogMy Profile

    1. I’m a culprit of this too. I constantly try to remind myself. Then, sometimes, I think my friends and clients would like more advice than I give.

  2. I only give advice before I’m asked when I consider myself really close to the person. The kind of advice I try to offer is never accompanied by a judgement. I always start saying: If I were you, I maybe would….., If I had experienced the same situation, I think I would….or did you try for example doing ….. it might help? do you think it’s worth a try…..

    The advice I hate is the one that comes out of judgement, advice that might help the situation but destruct the way I feel about myself. You should do this. You must forget. You have to…. How did you allow this to happen? I’m already feeling bad, this makes me feel worse, a failure.

      1. No the sound is still not working. I tried many times. I can only hear the clip at the beginning and the end, but it’s fine. I was following reading the transcript.

  3. Hi Jodi,

    I think you should be all ears to any kind of advice you receive, from anyone. However, what all to pick from that advice – the final decision should always be yours. Yes, some people don’t like being told or advised when not asked, and in such cases, you too should not give your advice. But some don’t mind or would seek your advice, and in such cases, be very fair and unbiased when you suggest something to someone.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. If we can control our own egos, advice-even that feels judgmental wouldn’t bother us. We’d just take it or leave it. Most of us cannot do that, unfortunately. I’m getting better at it. And work hard at it. I’m sure you’re great at that!

  4. I like #4 on your ‘Instead of” list. That is almost always good advice.
    I did a quick google search and notice when searching “never give advice unless three times” you show up as #7. Very nice.
    I agree that sometimes getting advice can be done so in such a condescending way that I would rather not hear it at all. My father would always say, “Yep been there done that” and go into the ‘right’ thing to do even though his experience may have been from 40 years ago.

    1. Thanks, Troy, I love number 4 especially, too. I’m so happy about that google search results. But I wonder how many people ARE Googling that. I hope a ton!:) It’s too bad condensation is often unintentional and unnoticed so it is hard for people to keep it in check. Thanks for stopping by again Troy!

  5. I just try to be there for people. Let them know that they are not alone. I try to be very conscious of not judging anyone, their thoughts, feelings or the place that they are in.

  6. The 3 times rule is so good – I find asking questions, deep listening and empathy are the best answers I can give. Generally, people know their own answers — they just need someone to hear them out to finding their truth.

    I have a friend who loves to give unsolicited advice and I must admit…. it drives me crazy! 🙂
    Louise Gallagher recently posted..Whistle while you work…My Profile

    1. I love your rules of thumb. I also believe people have their own answers, I’m not perfect at this but I do this work all day. So I have to keep reminding myself.

  7. Hi Jodi,

    I discovered with a lot of experience that advice should be given only when asked. Thanks for adding a number to it! People don’t really want advice, they just want an endorsement of what they think is right. If you agree, they like you…if you differ, they follow their own heart and head. So it is better not to waste your own energy! I learnt it with a pinch of salt!
    Balroop Singh recently posted..When We Attach Freedom To Our Emotions!My Profile

  8. Fabulous, Jodi. I agree with Louise Gallagher. I have been both the recipient and giver of bad listening skills and hasty advice, so thanks for this reminder that I need to pay attention more. I love your videos, btw. You’ve got quite an engaging way about you that draws you in.
    monicastangledweb recently posted..City on FireMy Profile

  9. Hmmm, I don’t think I ask for advice very often. I do appreciate it when someone gives me their ear when I need to talk, though, that’s for sure, and also when they have ideas for me, as in things to try, places to go, etc.

    I’m reading my second Brene Brown book at the moment, so am actually working on developing empathy, so that when people talk to me, I can offer genuine empathy. I’ve realized that sometimes when I thought I was being empathic, I really wasn’t, e.g., all the times I started a response with, “Well, at least…” — not empathic!
    Laura Zera recently posted..Travel: TSA Precheck in a NutshellMy Profile

    1. Yes, that can be a bit invalidating. I’m glad you are learning it because you’re a great person and I know you wanted to help. Those comments aren’t bad, just not timed well. They have to allowed to feel first.

  10. I agree with David. I don’t like being told what to do either. I tend to listen to a good friend of mine who’s a good listener. She gets it all and then will ask questions to make sure I’m clear about what she’s saying.
    totsymae1011 recently posted..The Truth and Nothing ButMy Profile

  11. —-I welcome advice when it’s given lovingly and warmly. If one judges me, I tend to close up or lash back at them…I despise being told what to do in a disrespectful way.
    Thank you for this post. I will think twice before I open my mouth from now on.
    Love! xxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted..What You Remember Saves youMy Profile

  12. Hi jodi
    Am very first time at your blog and feeling great!
    sometimes it happens that good intentions goes wrong.
    nice article.keep posting.

  13. Such fab video jodi!
    When you say you stop listening to their advice unless asked for 3 times. Makes Complete sense. I sometimes don’t myself like unsolicited advise. I mean I just want to vent out, I would ask for if I need your suggestion!!

  14. Sebastian Aiden Daniels

    Hey Jodi,

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I use to run a blog last year and interacted with your blog a bunch of times. I recently started a new blog and I look forward to interacting with you again.

    I totally get the three requests rule. You are right. Validation is so important. No one wants to feel like they aren’t being heard. Unsolicited advice is the worse. I cringe when I catch myself doing it because like you said you stop listening and it becomes about you rather than the other person.

    I look forward to reading some of your other posts I have missed this past year.

  15. Kathy @ SMART Living

    Hi Jodi! I finally got a chance to catch up on my reading and just had to comment on this post. I wish I’d read this advice when I was much younger. It’s so true…and honestly it is something that I can suggest to others when they are offering unsolicited advice to me. I know people want to be helpful, me included, but unless a person is in the right space to hear it, it is never right. And much of the time we just want to be “heard.” Thanks again for your valuable perspective! ~Kathy

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