Monday, January 30, 2012


Just when I thought I've opined on everything, I remember I haven't shared my thoughts on giving advice.

If you have ever worked with me, chances are you've spent some time in my cubicle.. pulling up a chair and talking to me about whatever is on your mind. I've been praised for being such a good listener. (Of course, this is a curse at times and for the past six months, I've removed the chair from my cubicle so I could actually do work and not have people yammering at my desk!)

I once heard a phrase that people ask for advice because they already know what to do. They're looking for validation or permission to do what they know they should. "Should I break up with my boyfriend?" Well, if he was that great, you wouldn't consider it, would you? "Should I go back to the store now and return the money I received accidentally?" Of course you should!

This is where the listening skills come in. Let the person talk it out and sooner or later, they'll hear themselves reveal the answer and the truth of what needs to be done. 

On the other hand, sometimes people are looking for true suggestions because they don't know what else to do. "How do I handle this situation?" And, chances are that someone else has faced something similar. There's nothing new under the sun.

I remember a great quote from Mrs. Carol Brady (the ultimate listener/advice bestower): Times change, but people don't change. So let's say there's a problematic situation such as someone has posted a video on YouTube and sent the link to everyone, and you are horribly embarrassed. This is not so much a situation of retracting emails and suspending videos. It's an issue of trust and communication. The hurt one feels is the betrayal of the original poster. Therefore, the core problem is how to handle the relationship and reconcile the feelings.

I'm the eldest in my family, but I tend to be the 'big sister' to a lot of my friends. I know others in my shoes would've been stronger advisers and would direct or guide my family on their decisions. However, I take more of the backseat approach and let them know what they need to do. However, ultimately it's up to them.

Much like my parenting style where it's important to lead by example. Sometimes I think people are so consumed by emotion that they do not always hear and/or register words that are spoken to them. Yet, they can see one's actions.


Anonymous said...

If a man ever asks for an advice, he is not interested in emotional support, he is seeking an answer.

Ashini said...

Exactly! That's like "Men Are From Mars.." that men only talk to get solutions.. women just need to talk it through and are not looking for solutions. Of course, there are exceptions!

Anonymous said...

Exceptions? Perhaps those born in the wrong bodies. :)

taa's mom said...

Hi Ashini, what is your parenting style. Please throw much need gyan and lots of posts on it. thanks

Ashini said...

Ha - my style? That's hard to say. My daughter is 11 now so I've always tried to listen to her stories (not make judgments), then add my opinion about right vs wrong.. I've always tried to give her a straight answer. When she was 4 and I said I was joking about something that scared her, she said "but you never joke." Made me realize that's what she trusts me to give her. But, we have a lot of fun together too. And lead by example - kids look at you and learn from you. They yell and are rude to you when you've been yelling and are rude to them.