How not to give absolutely horrible advice
Giving good advice is an art, not many people are good at it. Here are some dos and don’ts of comforting and advising your friends.
Everyone is going through a lot these days, and it’s normal for your friends to turn you into their own therapist.
1. Listen and don’t talk about your own problems
First off, let your friend vent. Don’t start a one-hour story of how a similar thing happened to you or how you are going through a worse situation. Sometimes, people need a sounding board. Except they explicitly ask you to tell them what to do, just listen.
2. Don’t say, “People are going through much worse”
When you say that your friend thinks, “Yes, I know people are going through much worse, but their misfortune doesn’t bring me joy. I want to be happier and better not more miserable”
Let them feel their emotions.
3. Don’t say, “Learn to be grateful”
They asked you for advice not to be insulted. Perhaps, you think they have so much more to be happy about, that’s okay, you can point out the blessings in their life, you don’t have to call them ungrateful.
4. Don’t say, “Follow your heart”
“If I knew what my heart wanted I wouldn’t be asking you now, would I?” Obviously, they are confused and don’t know what their heart wants so they can’t follow it. If you don’t know what they should do, say you don’t know.
5. Don’t say, ‘You will be fine”
First of all, how do you know they would be fine? What if they don’t end up fine and you promised them – falsely if I might add – that they would be fine? You don’t know if they would be fine, they don’t know if they will be fine. Sometimes, silence or “I am sure this must be difficult for you” is enough.