Your Advice Sucks, Okay?

Growing up I’ve repeated things I’ve heard adults say. I never asked what most of them meant because in my mind, if adults are saying these things they must be right. As I’ve gotten older, I noticed a lot of things we repeated as children didn’t make much sense. For example, the advice they gave other people. 

A lot of things we saying while trying or “comfort” people usually contradicts each other. If you break down a lot of things you tell people don’t really make sense when you say it and as a result your whole life you’ve most likely been giving horrible advice. Yes, you. You give horrible advice. 

“It’s going to be okay. We don’t know what the future holds. Don’t worry about it.” 

If we don’t know what the future holds, how do you know it’s going to be okay? Shouldn’t I be more worried since I don’t know? 

Another example of the horrible advice you’ve been giving people is “you shouldn’t feel so bad. Someone else in the world has it worse than you do”. So should I be happy because someone else is suffering? Now let’s say in response to this I said “you shouldn’t be so happy because someone else is living much better off than you are”. My response would be a really mean thing to say to someone but most importantly it doesn’t make sense. It also doesn’t make anyone feel better. You see what I’m getting at here? 

There’s a reason why we have trained helping professionals. They know how to assess situations and give feedback that would helpful. You most likely aren’t helpful in giving advice because no one asked you for it. Think of all the times you gave someone the horrible advice listed above. Now think about how many times someone has said to you “I need your advice”. The ratio is probably 10:1 You offered services no one really wanted. 

You’re not Iyanla. No one needs you to fix their life. This isn’t Dr. Phil. There won’t be some amazing breakthrough. Believe it or not, the person who came to you came to you solely because they needed someone to be present. Oftentimes, the person just wants to get what it is they’re going through off their chest. They want to talk to someone about it. You might not have the answers and that’s okay. No one is expecting you to. Just be there for the person in need. Plus most people who ask for advice do what it is they wanted to do in the first place anyway. 

So stop giving bad advice. Being present is enough. 


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