7 Ways to Give Honest Advice
In this day and age of forced wisdom, people paint the wealth of insights to look like gold. Many use it as a way to monetize self-worth. People who struggle with accepting themselves as a good person, for the most part, see good people as one who does good and not necessarily one who is good. It’s two different things. Someone who does good does not always have the same goals as someone who acts benevolent intrinsically; the motivations are different.
Now, I’m not saying that people who do good are not acting good. All I’m saying is that all people who are good do good but people who do good are not good people all the time. It’s the difference of a facade. A celebrity can act like they’re all about their charity work just for the publicity but be totally emotionally disconnected to their cause whilst another celebrity can be lowkey about giving $100 tips to servers that service them in a three-star restaurant.
This goes the same to giving advice. Many people starve and claw for people to come at them with their problems and they want to fix it because they want people to know that they fix people, that they are good people because of it. And nine times out of ten, the advice that they give out are crap and when their client crashes and burns they blame them for not doing their advice correctly. Well here I am, ironically going to give you advice about how to give advice. And I’m not making you stay and read this, you’re reading this because you’re bored, or whatever. However, if you’d like, I’d love to share to you my insights on how to give genuine advice to someone in need.
Stop. Really hone in. Be open to their words and ponder what they’re saying. Is it a problem about them? Is it a problem with someone they know and they don’t know what to do? Is it a problem they have with you or is it something awesome they did and they want to know how to do it more often? Whatever their situation is… listen… with the utmost intent on really understanding what they need. Often times people cut people off when giving advice because they can not wait to say their pre-thought words. I don’t know how you feel when you’re cooking and you ask your buddy to get you salt, but before you can even finish the sentence they say “I gotchu,” and then pass you a fork. Listen. Don’t pre-think anything. This is one of the times where your focus has to be absolute and in the present moment.
- Feel their situation.
Empathy is a key trait of any sentient being. Empathy is the driving emotion on what connects all life on Earth together. When someone feels for another, they share an emotion which connects two or however so many realities together. That’s why global leaders try to advice on world peace. That’s why people convert from racism to inclusivity. If you don’t feel for the other person, how are you going to give your best advice? Even the attempt of understanding and respecting gives way to genuine words of care. You give advice because you care, not because of thanks. Giving advice is a thankless duty and our empathy should understand that also.
- Be honest.
The best type of advice given is when you are honest with the person and with yourself. Courage is the backbone of honesty. Why is that? Well… honesty hurts sometimes. It seems like backtracking doesn’t it? To go and hurt someone when you’re trying to make them feel better. WELL THAT’S NOT THE POINT OF GIVING ADVICE. Your advice is not some sort of aspirin they should take when they have a headache. Your words of advice are like the IV drip they give to people who chose to drink to the point of alcohol poisoning. Yes, you have to prick them with a needle but it’ll help them push through the situation. Your dishonest advice does only a disservice to them and yourself. It’s like using monopoly money to buy groceries — shit is fake. The worth of your advice comes from the honesty you put into it. The more honest your words, the more the value.
- Accept that you have a small amount responsibility in whatever actions they take.
Just like their actions have consequences, your words do too. And just like honesty, this takes courage too. Accept the fact that your words are not prophecy foretold. The advice you give can backfire (and that’s a situation YOU have to deal with). You have to accept any consequences on any action they took from your behalf. It’s hard not to be a little narcissistic with your advice because well… it’s yours and you want it to be good and you BELIEVE it to be good. But your advice can lead them to a lower point and you would have to choose whether or not to remedy that (I hope you choose the prior). And this goes both ways— if it works well, you have the awesome responsibility to feel that great moment with them. This responsibility links both parties to each other and furthers any connection either negatively or positively.
- Use yourself as an example, not as a guide book.
Let yourself be part of your words and not part of their situation. Unless you’re the one with problems, don’t act like their problems are your problems because it’s not— it’s really not. However, you can use past experiences and judgments to mold your advice to best fit them. You are human and so are they, and giving first-hand examples on a similar situation would place their situation in perspective. Maybe you had the same situation as them but you were on the other side of the story. Maybe you want to give the same advice that you gave someone else before. Whatever it is, try not to tell them what to do. Try to say “I would do this” rather than “you should do this”. Leaving them space to create their own decisions will bring out their most honest actions to deal with their situation.
- Your words do not heal.
Let go of all ego (all of it) and know that you are not a messiah. You do not have the power to magically heal them. You words were only there to spark insight in them or to motivate them to a better state. Your word is gasoline but they drive their own car. You only help them to reach their destination. When people place this self-endowed power on themselves their words tend to be misguided. You can not tell them what’s best for them, you can only tell them what you think is best for them. They should know their situation best but maybe they’re just a little confused right now; you’re there to put their situation in perspective and not fix what was not yours to fix anyways.
- Give from your mind and your heart.
This is probably the hardest thing to accomplish when giving advice. Most people are in conflict because their mind and heart are at war. You can not give your most honest advice if you do not mean what you say and say what you feel. Albeit that I too have a hard time connecting these two together. This skill only comes with a lot of soul-searching and experience. This is why the best people to go to for advice at times are your elders and for only one reason— they are older than you. With most people, as you grow older you gain more knowledge, and not just trivial data but tried and tested data that you know works because you experienced it and meditated on it. Putting your mind and your hear together when providing advice to your companion will not only prime your words to be insightful but also kind.
- Jester King
Jester King is a college student at UCLA and is studying Psychology. He loves giving insights on any social media platform, whether it’s advice or rants (lol). His career path is towards the music industry; you can find him on SoundCloud (iamAVTR).