Advice. We all love giving it, especially when we know that we’ve experienced a similar situation. But often what happens when you try to give advice is that your friend rejects it. She tells you all the reasons why she can’t or why it won’t work and you get frustrated. And yet we still go on trying to give advice to everyone who has something to tell us.
Most of the time it is offered with love and so the rejection can make us feel sad or hurt. But here’s why giving advice is often not needed or required when it comes to friendships.
What you most need, when it comes to working out your problems is the time and space to process it. There’s a suggestion that saying things out loud can help us to do that and that we process our thoughts in a different way when we hear them spoken. So, talking to someone can help. There’s a real feeling of relief when you ‘get things off your chest,, almost like getting them out of your head and into the world has already helped.
Often, if you want to talk to a friend or your friend wants to talk to you, it’s not advice that’s needed it’s the space to be heard, the time to get the thoughts out and the feelings acknowledged.
Acknowledging that it’s ok to be feeling the way you are feeling is often the first step in making changes but by giving advice you, straight away, dismiss those feelings. By offering suggestions of how to fix the problem you dismiss that it’s ok to be in this place right now.
Think about times when you’ve tried to express how you feel about something to someone. If they came straight back with advice on how to change it did you feel worse or better? Did you feel supported or dismissed?
We live in a world where feelings are not always welcomed or allowed. Many of my clients talk of not being allowed to feel the way they feel or not being able to express it, so they begin to use other things to suppress the feelings that they are not allowed to feel, such as food, alcohol, even facebook.
Feelings help us to truly feel connected to our lives and the people around us. It really is ok to have them and express them.
So, I ask you to consider this: the next time someone tells you how they are feeling, how would it feel if you simply acknowledged it and before you jump in with some advice perhaps ask if it’s wanted.
And if you’re struggling to be heard and drowning in a sea of advice, then feel free to send me a message or book one of my complimentary coffee and coaching sessions.