Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Free Advice is Worth What You Paid For It… Nothing

Advice is Free

Free Advice is Worth What You Paid For It… Nothing.

Well, unless you do pay for advice and then it’s worth whatever you paid for it and since I don’t know, I can’t give you my advice on whether you got a good deal or not.

Seriously. I try not to give advice. However, I’m not perfect and I’ve given my fair share of advice. Most of which I’ve regretted. It’s changed relationships. Not for the better.

But, I made a choice and that choice has consequences. That’s the way life is.

Sometimes I try not and think about it because it’s just such a huge concept that it scares me. However, it’s always in the back of my mind.

Ed and I learned a lot about making choices when The Kids were in the hospital. At the end of Alexander’s life, we had to make a choice between death or death. Fortunately, even in such a dire situation, no one gave us advice.

How could any one else know what was right for us?

I understand that generally*, the person giving the advice really wants the best for the other person but there is no way for them to know what that looks like. Take my friend “Jane”. In a nutshell, her story is:

  • Her husband had an affair.
  • She didn’t like it.
  • He moved out.
  • He now wants to work on their relationship.

I don’t know if he’s genuine. If the relationship can be saved. If he and/or she can live with the consequences of their actions. Truth be told, he sounds like a real jerk but, she didn’t ask for my opinion and even if she did, how would I know if she should take him back or not.

However, I do know that her friends (who likely know her better than I), are telling her to “be strong”, “remember that he treated her like crap”, “he’s just regretful because the grass isn’t as green on the other side”. All valid statements I’m sure except that what if she wants to take him back. What if it’s the right thing for her to do right now. Maybe she’ll feel like no one is supporting her in her right to change her mind.

And it is her right. It is her life**.

Do You Give Advice?

* Unless of course the person wants you to breakup with your boyfriend so that they can date them. Trust me, it happens.

** Note that as far as I am aware, neither she nor the children are in any harm. Otherwise, all bets are off.

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38 thoughts on “Free Advice is Worth What You Paid For It… Nothing

  1. Rene

    Try not to give advice – Can I quote you on this? 😉

    Seriously though, I agree that people have to make the right decisions for them and pressuring them one way or another (rather than being a sounding board and listening) is unfair to someone you might consider a friend.

    Thanks for highlighting this to your loyal readers, who will likely always follow your advice..

    Reply
  2. Peady

    Oh dear. Sad for “Jane”. I agree though. Her life. Her choice.

    Advice can be so helpful, supportive and loving. It can also fall on deaf ears.

    I really don’t give advice – especially not unsolicited advice. Even if it comes from the purest of places, it can be perceived as meddling.

    If a friend asks, I answer. I listen. A lot. Sometimes people need less advice and more of a sounding board to bounce their own thoughts off of. (poor sentence structure, sorry, but you catch my drift, yes?)
    Peady recently posted…Saturdays are Best!My Profile

    Reply
      1. Peady

        Dear Sarah,

        I think that’s it! Reality Vs. Advice. That’s a really good way to look at it, actually.

        And yes, ultimately what they choose to believe is what will guide them. For sure, humans are really good at kidding themselves at times. (Potato chips have zero calories! Cool! 😀 )

        Yes. It’s their life. It is very difficult to watch a friend go through yucky stuff though… not fun at all… almost worse if you were right. 🙁

        I hope it works out.
        Peady recently posted…Thursday needs a kick in the pants!My Profile

        Reply
  3. sarah sar

    Who I give advice to and how/when depends on the person I’m talking to. Sometimes I don’t even bother because people just expect me to say what they want to hear!

    Reply
  4. Soozle

    I have learned it is much better to lend a shoulder to cry on and ear to listen rather than advice.. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Debbie W

    I’ve learned from experience not to give advice. People know it, suspect it, but when you confirm something, the reactions are not worth it. I always say “Don’t shoot the messenger”, but I was wounded.

    Reply
  6. Rick F

    I don’t give advice, per se. I will give someone my opinion on the matter, if they ask for it. They can then decide what to do.

    Reply
  7. Elizabeth D.

    I’m slowly learning to not give advice as I have a friend who constantly asks for advice but then never takes it. It’s very frustrating.

    Reply
  8. Tammy B

    I have given advise when asked, but I always say ” that is just my opinion” and it would be what I would do in a similar circumstance. I have gotten advise, even when I haven’t asked. I don’t usually listen to advise because in the end it is my decision, whether it be a good or bad choice,, it is my life.

    The ones I have gave advise to, that have asked (what would you do) didn’t like what I had to say, yet still does nothing to change the situation. I was a bad person for given such, and they still complain years later about the same situation.

    I have recently had close friend give me advise ( not asked for ) on how to do certain things and to me what they said was completely wrong. They did not know the entire story, this has put a strain on the relationship which at this point I could care less about. My life is my life and I will live it the best I can for myself, hubby and daughter.
    Tammy B recently posted…Easter Bunny Trail – WWMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Elva Roberts

    I try not to give advice unless I am pressed for it. Then I usually give both sides, if I can,. I’ve learned that I finish my advice by saying that ‘you must do what’s feels right to you, since it’s your life and you really have to decide what you can or cannot live with.’ It is a dicey situation and I would not interfere in any situation unless there is violence involved.

    Reply
  10. KD

    I try not to give advice, as I can’t know what’s best for someone else. I’m happy to ask them questions to get them to think about the situation, though, and come to their own conclusions. If I have been through something similar and they *want* to hear about it, I’m willing to share my own experiences too. It’s up to them what they do with it, though. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Ali P

    I try not to give advice. When people come to me asking for advice, I will give it to them, not that makes a difference anyway. I’ve found that even though when people ask for advice, they won’t take it unless it’s what they want to hear so they can feel validated.

    Reply
  12. Amy Lovell

    Thanks! Great article. I have a few friends that are constantly giving me advice . except its usually unwanteed and not the greatest advice.

    Reply

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