Asking for and giving advice is a regular, every day occurrence.
- Do you ask for advice?
- Do you give advice?
- The real question, though, is do you ever take someone else’s advice?
I am intrigued by the amount of times people ask for advice, but really don’t take it. Or they ask for advice from enough people until they get the answer they wanted from the beginning. It’s an odd interaction for sure when you think about it.
Say I want to buy a product. I have something in mind or I wouldn’t even know what to ask you. But here’s how it usually goes. (say I want a ‘red car’)
- Me: I was looking at new cars, but I can’t decide between red and blue.
- You: Oh, I think you should get the blue one because the red one is too hard to clean.
- Me: But I thought the red one would be prettier.
- You: It might be, but my friend had one and she wasn’t happy with it.
- Me: Okay, thanks.
Then you know what happens. I didn’t like the answer, so I ask a few more people. Once I get to the majority of people saying red, I then start saying to people…
“I was looking at the red and the blue one, but everyone told me the red one is better.”
You can insert boyfriend / pet food / shoes / vacation for the new car. Same thing. Rarely does the person asking for advice have two things to decide between and make the decision based on advice from others.
My approach when someone asks me for advice is this… I ask them how many people they have asked before me. If they say any number higher than 2, I respond “sounds like you already know what you want to do and I’m sure you’ll make the right decision”. I’m not wasting my time thinking through the dilemma, getting vested in the outcome, and then watching the person turn around and ask the next person they see.
If the answer is 2 or less, I will listen attentively and provide my best advice and hope that I have truly helped. And if it’s shoes they are looking for, I may just tag along.
Some good posts on advice, but I’m not saying you have to read them. 🙂