Should You Trust A Friend’s Advice? 4 Tips

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Photo by Joshua Ness

When you’re worried or confused, who can you trust to be helpful?

How can you be most helpful when someone you love is hurting?

These four tips will help you determine which of your friends to share your troubles with.

Tip 1:  Notice how your friend responds to your concerns. Here are a few typical patterns — some more helpful than others.

a. “Here’s my solution,” rather than “Here’s how to access wise guidance.”

  • A less helpful friend suggests immediate solutions that attempt to control the situation. Because he’s uneasy with your discomfort, his goal is to fix it right now. Such advice can make the situation worse rather than better.
  • A helpful friend offers ideas and tools that bring you peace of mind and intuitive guidance. He’ll remind you that a serene state of mind will result in the best actions.

b. “It’s all about me,” rather than “It’s all about you.”

  • A less helpful friend responds by sharing her own troubles. If she’s not able to focus on your concerns, then she may not be truly interested in your well being.
  • A helpful friend listens, carefully summarizes your thoughts and feelings, and asks questions to understand you. If this friend shares her own story, it’s only offered to give you hope; then she returns the focus to you. 

c. “Let’s focus on the problem,” rather than “Let’s find a place of peace.”

  • A less helpful friend wants to hear the lurid details. She commiserates about how terrible your situation is and helps you justify your pain. Such friends end up reinforcing your resentments, fears, and worries.
  • A helpful friend refuses to escalate your fears by “awfulizing” events. She might suggest that you accept the situation as it is for now, and work toward a peaceful state of mind. Finally, she reassures you that this situation will find resolution in the best way for all, and that it may take time.

d. “Here’s my solution,” rather than “Here’s how to access wise guidance.”

  • A less helpful friend suggests immediate solutions that attempt to control the situation. Because he’s uneasy with your discomfort, his goal is to fix it right now. Such actions often make the situation worse rather than better.
  • A helpful friend offers ideas and tools that bring you peace of mind and intuitive guidance. He’ll remind you that a serene state of mind will result in the best actions.

Tip 2:  Consider how you feel after talking to the person. If you feel more agitation than hope, try sharing your vulnerabilities with someone else.

Tip 3:  The most helpful people probably won’t come from your family. Your family members may unwittingly reinforce the very same patterns you’re trying to overcome. Give yourself some time to heal before you share deeply with family members.

Tip 4:  Choose an individual who holds no sexual attraction for you. If you ignore this advice, your desire for personal growth may take a backseat to the romantic imperative, with damaging results.

For more on communication, check out Eric Bowers’ blog on www.roadtocompassion.com.

Gigi Langer of Worry Less NowGigi Langer, PhD is a sought-after speaker on professional and personal growth.  She has 35 years of experience in psychology, therapy, and recovery.  Gigi has co-authored five other books and is an award-winning writer.

Her latest book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, will be released in March 2018