One of the hardest thing when people ask your advice is to truly find a way to help them.
When someone comes to you and wants an advice more often than not they do this because they miss some pieces of the puzzle. They lack information or realization of that information, meaning they need to clear up their mind.
They have too much chaos and need to select which kind of information is good and which is useless.
One thing I love doing is asking question. This has some nice side effects. First of all, it doesn’t put me in the condition of “I know it all, you know nothing”. Which, by the way, it’s impossible. I don’t know a thing, let alone about other’s people problems.
Secondly, it allows the person asking for help to dig a little bit on their issues.
For example, a basic starting point is “What is the problem?”, which, by the way, seems like an harmless question, but in fact it’s always unanswered.
Why? Because the answer is rarely the real answer.
If the answer is “I’m depressed”, ok, we got it. But that is a consequence. Not the problem.
A good answer is “I’m depressed because I feel like my relationship is not working out the way it should”.
This is good also because it opens up another question. “How do you expect your relationship to be?”
And so on.
Maybe the questions will lead up to a clear path where my opinion isn’t needed, or maybe I’ll get a better understanding and have some ideas on how to help.
Whichever comes first, it’s a win-win.