Best Intentions: Giving Advice to Friends

There is no perfect way to give advice to a friend. It can be challenging to want to help a friend while also being honest and sensitive to their feelings.

I am definitely guilty of speaking out of turn when trying to help a friend. I have always been told not to give unsolicited advice, and in most circumstances, I believe that to be the right thing.

The hard choice comes when you are feel the need to speak up on a potentially sensitive situation without directly being asked for your input.

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Often, even when a friend directly asks for your input, all they really  want is someone to listen.  It is important to recognize the difference and know when to speak up.

For example, a friend of yours is starting to see a guy who you do not think is good for her. Often, we are blinded by the prospect of a new love interest and cannot see his or her faults, even the big ones.

This is an situation that I would approach with caution.

I usually start with sharing my observations and trying to be as impartial as possible. Afterwards, listen to what your friend has to say in response. This will usually give you a good idea of how receptive they will be to your advice.

It is important to let your friend know that you will be there for them no matter what decision they make, even if they do not take your advice.

Always be sensitive to their feelings and make sure they know these are just your thoughts on the situation. You can only do so much to help someone, but it is up to them whether they except that help.

For more advice on giving advice:

http://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/relationships/article/5-tips-for-giving-advice-to-your-friends

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