I am reminded of an old adage; “There are only two types of people in this world, those that like Neil Diamond and those that don’t.” I happen to like Neil Diamond and believe Sweet Caroline is the world’s best sing along song. I don’t recall if I received any advice from friends or family on the benefits of listening to Neil, it just happened naturally. My dad played him when I was a kid but he never told me I should listen to him.
Surprisingly there are two other types of people in this world; the AskHole and the AdviceHole.
The AskHole is always reaching out for your opinion, always looking to question events in their lives. They tend to have the same persistent problems and rarely do they ever follow through on the advice you dispense. They ask a lot of questions but rarely hear the answers. They always start a sentence with a question? The question is a back door to talk about their problem, they solicit your advice solely to keep your attention on them.
I am an AdviceHole. I had a life threatening situation that resulted in a degree of knowledge about it. Had I listened to numerous people in my life prior to the surgery I might have avoided it. Regardless, I now feel empowered to share my experience with anyone that will listen. Granted, this is permission based advice. You have to tune in to hear it or you can change the channel.
Norm tells Cliff he is drinking too much.
Cliff says, What about you?
Norm responds, Mind your own damn business!
What is the best way for an AdviceHole to give advice? Carefully.
When is it appropriate to tell a loved one you are scared for their health? Do yo have to wait until a polite opening becomes available or can you dive right in and dispense your advice at will? These are tough questions. I find myself holding back my advice to friends and family but I obviously have no issue sharing it with complete strangers, via social media. Theoretically, I might help someone I have never met before my family. Odd.
Frankly, advice stinks. Especially from family and friends. It is so much easier to listen to a stranger tell us the pluses and minuses of doing something. Loved ones can drill right in to the crux of a situation. They have the benefit of watching from the sidelines. It is like time-lapse photography, they see you in a different perspective.
It is a very difficult situation when you want to help a loved one. It is delicate because you risk alienating that person. It is an uncomfortable situation discussing another person. It opens the door to being perceived as judgemental.
Always make sure the advice comes from a loving place. Don’t spend too much time digging into the how it happened or why. Concentrate on the steps moving forward. It is important to identify your agenda early on. “I want to give you some advice because I honestly love you and want to see you around for a while longer…” It is important to establish your credibility at this time. The following story is an excellent way to extend accomplish this.
Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you…
Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good,
I’d be inclined to believe the never would, so good, so good.