Most of us trip into pitfalls when we’re put under the pressure of giving the right advice. But advice can be more hurtful than helpful since the people who trust you can take your life advice as gospel. But the fact is, your advice is a two-edged weapon. It could make a person’s life better or it could literally destroy their life. Yes, you read that right. I bet you know at least one person who listened and implemented the wrong advice of a friend and it turned their life upside down. So be ready for anyone seeking your advice by acknowledging and following these steps!

1- Listen.

Pretty simple, right? You might be thinking you’re already doing that right and you don’t need to continue reading. But hey! Here you are not listening and jumping into conclusions! The thing is when someone tells you a problem there is a lot of stuff they say and a lot of emotions they keep inside. So it’s not only about the words coming out of their mouth, it’s about listening carefully to what is being said and what is going on behind their eyes because their ego won’t let them say it. Don’t be so fast to give your advice without giving them the chance to let it all out, 

2- Don’t let your emotions get in the way.

Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t know how to balance our minds and hearts, and that’s normal. But, a little self-control will help with that. Sometimes we get too emotional and we don’t really think that the person asking for life advice needs someone to help them by thinking logically.  They need our help to contain their emotions rather than heightening it. They don’t need someone to encourage them to react without thinking.

3- Say the truth, the plain truth.

Say it whether it’s good or bad, whether they want to hear it or not. But hold on! Do not use this as an excuse for you to be mean. Being too open with your comments might lead them to drift away and never come knocking down your door for advice. You just need to say the truth in a clear way, in a way they would accept.  Most importantly in a way that doesn’t make them feel bad for sharing their problems with you.

4- Never, ever, take it personally.

That’s the worst thing you could ever do. Even if you experienced a similar problem, that does not mean that it is the exact same thing you experienced with the same exact same people or events. You can’t expect them to react in your very own particular way. We are all different, we are all unique, so you assuming that you can relate 100% isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact,  you’re erasing their individuality, their details, their backgrounds, and just focussing on yourself, and that’s not okay. In a nutshell, your life advice should be based on who they are, not on who you are.

5- Don’t try to convince them.

Another mistake we do is that we feel so responsible for helping the one who is asking for advice which results to us thinking that they are completely lost and they do not only need an advice, no, they need us to tell them exactly what to do and push them to do it. A big no! you have to leave some space for them to think and decide whether to apply your advice or not. At the end of the day they will be the only ones dealing with the consequences, so you don’t need to push them to do something they are not ready for.

6- Stay neutral when it comes to an issue that involves two parties.

Whether it is a relationship or a friendship issue, you can never take sides and give advice that pits one party against the other. You have to stay as neutral, rational, and most importantly fair as much you can. Because when there are two parties involved in an issue, there will definitely be two sides to the same story. And you may not know the other side of it, so don’t jump into assumptions and take a side before listening to both sides.

7- Know their capabilities.

You cannot advise someone who is suffering from a dramatic financial issue to quit their job unless you recommend another way to help them survive, right? So you have to be aware of people’s capabilities before giving advice that could be illogical to them. And if this is the only advice you could think of, or if you do not really know their capabilities, that’s okay, you can just try to elaborate your life advice and divide it into steps. Like easy baby steps so they could at some point reach the so-called ‘illogical ‘ advice of yours in time. Who knows maybe they can actually reach a better solution along the way?

8- If you don’t understand the topic, DON’T GIVE LIFE ADVICE.

Sometimes we can’t really understand the topic, or we simply do not know what we’re talking about. For example, if you never got married, you cannot advise your married friend in the same way you give advice to your other friend who suffers from boyfriend drama. You have to evaluate your knowledge about the topic you’re giving advice about first, and if you do not think you have enough knowledge to give them advice regarding the issue, you can just remain silent and let them talk. Maybe they will find the solution along the lines by themselves. Never underestimate the power of words, and most importantly, the power of good advice. May you forever stay influential and giving.