If you want to be the BEST friend/lover/parent EVER, then simply apply this rule:
DON’T GIVE ANYONE THE ANSWER
TO A QUESTION THEY HAVEN’T ASKED.
Now, whilst you fold your arms, shake your head and vehemently deny ever doing that, I’ll bet that you have. And probably still do..
I know I have. A lot..
Ask my daughter.
As a teenager, she often tried to share her angst about school, friends and the things teenagers generally feel angst about. Simply to vent.
And I’d listen carefully, whilst inwardly wondering what brilliant advice laden with wisdom I could share..
And as soon as I had a gap I would. Impart my wisdom, that is.
And it usually started with
You should have…
Why didn’t you..
But have you considered..
And then one of two things would happen.
She’s argue defensively.
Or she’s shut down.
And those sharing moments eventually dried up. Go figure..
Which left me feeling very unappreciated and very sorry for myself!
Why couldn’t she just listen to me? I’m only trying to help..!
Funnily, I remember BEING my daughter listening to my own mom say exactly the same thing!
Of course, now I look back with a very different understanding.
I get it. I know why we get so annoyed when people tell us what to do (teenager or not).
It’s simply this:
When we share, we do so to unburden ourselves. Sharing can help us process things.
But when we haven’t ASKED for someone’s opinion, we’re not open to it.
Think of when you were at school.
The subjects that you most enjoyed you remember. And why?
Because you were INTERESTED. CURIOUS. You WANTED TO KNOW MORE.
Yup, you ASKED THE QUESTION (verbally or not).
And vibrationally, you were open to receiving it.
You wanted it. Absorbed it. Embodied it.
Conversely, when we’re not interested, it goes right over our heads.
No matter how good the intention of the problem-solver.
Quite simply, unsolicited advice is never welcomed or appreciated.
So here’s the thing:
Be clear about your intentions. Say I need to just vent, I’m not asking for advice.
And if you’re on the receiving end of a vent, JUST LISTEN.
Believe me, they’ll ask if they want your opinion.