People love to give advice. However, unsolicited advice is often considered a faux pax in today’s society—probably to everyone’s impoverishment, but that is the subject for another reflection.
To ask for advice (especially from someone who loves to give it) allows that person to give a you a gift. The results may be: your own improvement, the advisor’s joy, and, more subliminally, an overall feeling that you are a generous person.
One risk, of course, is that the giver of advice may feel offended if you choose not to take their advice. A rejected gift makes us feel sad, disrespected, and perhaps even angry.
Another risk is that to offer unsolicited advice may imply a judgment that can be very hard on the relationship.
But what if there were no strings attached? What would that look like? How would it be if we don’t expect people to take our advice–nor feel threatened when someone offers us advice?
We recently had a going away party for one of our staff. He’s in his twenties. After lunch, he asked us to go around the room and share what we would tell our 24-year-old selves if we could go back in time.
He gave everyone in that room a gift–because people love to answer this type of question.
He also gained whatever insights that he might not have had otherwise.
Since he asked the question, he put himself in a less threatening posture to be able to hear the room. (Imagine how this would have gone if someone else had said, “Now, we’re each going to take a couple of minutes to give you some advice.”)
Solicit advice. Be savvy if you’re going to attempt to offer unsolicited advice. And when asked for advice give it generously with no strings attached.