Close Your Mouth and Listen

November 1st, 2013 by admin in Communication, Support
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  • Do you love to give advice?
  • Are you trying to spare someone from learning things the “hard way” or impart your knowledge?
  • Do you think your way is just best?

I think most advice comes from a place of love.  However, people rarely like being told what to do.

Many of us are doing the best that we can.  So unsolicited advice can feel judgmental rather than helpful.  Even when is advice is “spot on,” un-requested advice is rarely welcomed whole-heartedly.

Your advice usually has more to say about you than it does about the other person.  Are you trying to save her from a mistake you made in the past?  Do you want to control the situation?  Do you feel judgment and want to use “advice” to make someone feel a certain way?  Are you jealous?  Are you trying to change someone?

The next time you find yourself wanting to help by way of telling someone how to live, take a breath and ask yourself what it’s really about.  Perhaps you can take a moment and practice empathy, can you get some perspective by trying to understand what they are experiencing?

If you aren’t sure that you are giving advice and really feel like you are helping, notice if you start with “You SHOULD…” or “Here’s what you do…”  Helping looks more like, “How can I help?”  or  “Is there anything I can do?”  It’s OK to to ask if there is any way you can help (that is very different than telling someone what they should do).

Or just close your mouth and listen.  If someone wants your opinion or wisdom, they will surely ask.  And they will remember how great it felt when you just sat back and listened.  Listening can go a very long way!

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