Not Wasting My Advice


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.  🙂

http://holyname.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/advice/

http://darylsedore.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/advice-or-is-it/

http://mairedubhtx.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/a-is-for-advice/


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14 Responses to Not Wasting My Advice

  1. I like your advice Techy! 🙂 PS–I would have gone on straight looks as far as the auto was concerned. I just like the color better…unless the blue one had a turbo engine….then that would just be a whole other story all together! 😉

  2. I love the shoes.I look awesome.

  3. Sonny Jim says:

    Sounds like good “advice”. I’ve recently given up on giving people advice altogether. For me, the decline in advising started with the employees I was training. I would tell the new person to do something one way, and when I went over to check on his progress he was doing it another, as he had asked someone else for advice. It really steamed me.

    Most recently, I’ve stopped giving my mother advice. She constantly asks, but when I give it, it goes in one ear and out the other. When I talk to her the next week, it was like I never said anything to her at all about the subject.

    Nope. No more Dear Abby-ing for me!

    • Good job Sonny Jim. When you are more vested in giving the advice than the person is of using it, it’s time to use your breath in better ways. Enjoy the conversations with your mom on other topics!

  4. I’ve learned to give advice when asked for it and not invest any emotion in whether it’s taken or not.

  5. TheIdiotSpeaketh says:

    Go with a white car…… 🙂

  6. carlaat says:

    Good points.

    Here’s some unsolicited advice – if you use the little “link” icon (looks like two links of a chain) when you create your posts, and paste the link into the box, you’ll have a hyperlink and then folks won’t have to go and paste the url in themselves. Maybe you already know this . . . anyway, I’m in lazy mode and so I’m not cutting and pasting today!;)

    • Thanks for the comment and you’ll see I fixed the links after you told me. I didn’t take it as advice…more as criticism. Just kidding! I really appreciated it because I knew how but forgot to do it. If our friends don’t tell us, who will?

      And I think it’s funny that you admit to being too lazy to cut and paste. Good for you.

  7. John Erickson says:

    I used to get that a lot at work. Somebody would need to create a report or write a program to do something, how would I do it? One guy kept seeking me out, and I felt very proud that my humble opinion meant anything. Then I found out he was using my ideas and claiming them for his own! Thankfully, I had a bit of documentation to show that he WAS “borrowing” my information. Sometimes, a simple offer of advice can become a real pain!
    On the other hand, outside of work I’ve “sold” at least 4 or 5 cars (the memory fails), plus some computers, based on my advice. Here I could’ve been a sleazy car salesman, and instead ended up helping people charge their credit cards to death (and beyond)! Talk about a rock and a hard place….. 😀

    • I’d see your advice on cars and computers as a service, not an issue. People need to make their own decisions on whether to make the purchase, you are just helping them spend it on something worthwhile.

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