Saturday, 19 November 2011
Maybe it's the same for everyone, but for me it's something I'm working on. Not giving advice.
Ironic, perhaps, given the name of my blog, but I'm talking about the un-asked for kind of advice.
I don't mean when people directly say to me, Victoria? What do you think I should do? Because I do get that, and I like trying to help or give my perspective, and certainly with this blog, my hope is that by sharing my story, or my advice, someone's day, week, month will get a little better, or a little easier.
What I mean is when my friends are talking to me. Or when a co-worker or family member is telling me about something and I want to tell them what I think/know/believe.
I had a friend recently talk to me about a decision she and her husband were considering. I listened, and then I went home and did some research. I researched and talked to some experts and found out that option X was the best choice in their situation. And when I saw the friend again, she was happy to let me know that she and her husband had decided to go with option Y.
And that was the moment I realized, she hadn't been asking me for advice. She hadn't even been asking for my opinion. She just wanted to talk about what they were trying to figure out.
And all she needed me to be was a sounding board; a listener.
It's hard sometimes though, when you're listening to someone and you feel like you know something that might help. Or that you feel like what they're doing might be made easier if they tried it this way or that way.
And it's hard when a friend's going through something really hard and you're on the outside looking in and it feels like you can see it more clearly than they can. It's hard in those moments not to tell them what to do.
But I'm trying to remember that it's not my place to tell them that...unless they ask.
Unless people say "give me advice", "what do you think I should do?", etc.? They're not asking for my advice. They just want someone to listen.
So I'm making the effort to do that.
To listen and not give advice, unless it's asked for.
It's hard though, and it sometimes makes me feel kind of useless.