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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

Why We Should Resist the Urge to Give Advice

Many of our relationships are fraught with tension: Husband-wife, mother-daughter, mother-in-law- daughter-in-law and friend-friend. A root cause for many relationship issues is acting the role of the royal advisor. We just love to give advice because it gives us status and a satisfying sense of self-justification. We love playing the archetypal role of the rescuer especially when we should be taking our own advice. Besides, when we feel stressed, giving someone else advice serves as a distraction from our own problems. It’s like starring in our own dramatic Reality TV show.

You might argue that a friend or family member asked for your opinion; in other words, you did not give unsolicited advice like other lesser mortal wannabe-advisors; however, you will find that you can improve all your relationships old, new and future, if you simply take my advice: Resist the urge to give advice, solicited or unsolicited. An added benefit is that you won’t feel resentful when people choose not to take your advice!

When someone asks for advice, he or she might really want: In very rare cases someone might actually want your advice. This might occur if you are a professional in the appropriate field of knowledge - in the form of free advice.

So, how do you know if your advice is really wanted? Make sure to listen attentively to both words and body language. First test the waters and ask a leading question, “What do you think?” Often after a lengthy monologue, the solicitor will say, “Gee thanks, that was very helpful. I know what to do.” Instead of saying, “I didn’t do anything,” simply respond, “You’re welcome.”

On the other hand, after your-what-do-you-think-lead-in, there are follow-up questions and statements because when someone wants advice, he or she will pursue it further. When you are cornered, you can present your opinion (this is what I would do kind of thing), concisely, open-ended and concluding with, “Do what your heart and mind tell you to do.”

Also, try to do what general practitioners and internists do with their patients who ask for specific advice, they whip out their referral pad and write the name and number of a specialist.
For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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Content copyright © 2013 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.

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