It is my belief that advice is a tricky, complicated thing. People who ask for it for the most part only want confirmation and affirmation of what they have already decided. Anything that contradicts with what they have already decided generally is not what they want to hear.

Any advice you give that they disagree with, or that requires them to apologize, work, or give up something they want will be met with disdain and argument.  Giving advice even to friends is not always a good idea. I always start when I am asked for advice with this statement, ” you will probably won’t agree or like the advice I’m going to give you, are you positively sure you want it?” If the answer is still yes, my next question is ” Have you asked anyone else for advice on this, and if so what did they tell you?” If I agree with what they have already been advised, I simply say, ” In my opinion that’s good advice.”

If your being asked for advice, be careful how you respond, if by a friend, it can sometimes cause ill feelings, if by a colleague or superior at work, it can cause serious problems. While giving advice may seem harmless, it seldom is. If things go right it is forgotten, if they go wrong it can have seriously bad consequences.

Now as to asking for advice; again be careful here: do you really want advice, or confirmation of a decision you’ve already made? If it is a confidential matter, are you 100% sure the person you’re asking will keep your confidences? If the advice you receive is good advice, but differs from what you had decided, will you follow it? If not, why ask in the first place. You could be putting a relationship at risk, creating problems for yourself at home or work, making public things you wish kept secret, all for nothing if you REALLY don’t want the advice!!!

Advice, giving it or asking for it, requires a lot of thoughtful preparation. Remember that everything you do and say has consequences, good and bad…

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