Have you ever been in a situation, when your friend or family member complained to you and when you gave them an expert advice on the topic, it just didn’t get through to them?
As if they did not listen and maybe even did not take you seriously? Well, it happened to me more times than I can count and it always frustrates me.
However, I understood one thing. Or two.
Distinguish when people just want to vent out and when they are asking for help
When people complain, often they don’t want to get help. They just want to vent-out, release the pressure and get back into the cycle. Even if the cycle keeps them stuck where they are. It is a habit, a codependence, or any other form of an emotional addiction to the situation.
That is why giving advice in such a case is simply a waste of energy. When the person is not ready to receive the advice, they will not only listen to it, integrate it, but it can even alienate them towards you.
If you have a person that complains a lot to you, that is because they feel like they can trust you with their issues. On the other hand, you might feel like they suck the energy out of you. Appreciate their trust, but set boundaries.
I did it with my grandmother a long time ago. Anytime she starts complaining about her son, I leave or stop her politely. I told her I could give her advice on the topic, but if she does not want to follow it, then don’t come complaining to me.
This way, my energy is used in a more productive way.
There is another dynamic at play when a friend or family would not take an expert advice from you.
We all have different personalities. You can be a daughter, a mother, an athlete, and a lover. All these personalities within one person. We constantly develop new personalities and release those, we no longer need. Some people do it with better success than the other.
The dynamic that is at play here, when people close to you might not take your advice seriously is that they assume a certain personality when speaking with you. Your mother will automatically switch to her mother personality when speaking with you, which can prevent her from taking advice from you. In the end, the mother is to give advice to the child.
There is a conflict of interests that prevents them from taking the advice.
But what about friends? They are at the same level as you are. Well, when we meet someone for the first time and while we are getting to know them, we make a picture about them and put them inside a box. “He/she is such and such.” But what we forget to do, is to place the person in the correct box as the life goes on.
What’s put in a box, stays in the box.
So if a friend of yours meets you at high-school. Maybe after high school, you finished a degree in medicine, but for your friend, you are not a doctor. Your friend will always think of you as that high-school boy/girl, regardless of your credentials. No matter how much expertise or insight you have on the subject, you are not in the box named “Professional help with an excellent advice. GREAT VALUE!!!”. You are in the box “That guy I got drunk with who passed out in the middle of the room.”