More on advice giving

Just a little bit more on giving advice. I think I've done the opposite of all of these at one time or another. My usual problem is number three below: knowing when to stop.

Don’t get co-dependent
If you find yourself constantly worrying about the other person’s problems and obsessing about possible solutions, you may be taking on responsibilities which are not yours. There’s a difference between showing loving concern and co-dependently controlling and living other people’s lives for them. Sometimes it is a fine line to cross.

Do you follow your own advice?
There’s nothing worse than a person who knows exactly what to do for everyone else’s problems, but clearly can’t manage her own life effectively. Listen to yourself and work out if you’re showing yourself up.

Know when to stop
As with most things, in the case of advice, less is more. Once you see the glazed look in your friend’s eyes or her hands starting to twitch, shut your mouth. Saying the same thing five times doesn’t make it more effective. Don’t worry – she did hear you the first time!

Prayer and a hug are sometimes better.
It’s a matter of wisdom to know what’s appropriate. Just make sure you actually do pray, and follow it up later to find out what’s going on.

The bottom line
In these beautiful words from a friend: share God’s wisdom, but do it all the time knowing that you, too, need God’s mercy.

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