If you want sound advice, beware the immediate advice-givers.
Whether you’re struggling in a relationship, at work, getting yourself out of a funk, or in any aspect of life really, there will come a time when you have one question and believe one answer will help you.
You just need advice.
We seek out advice because we believe if we find and apply already-learned knowledge to our situation, we’ll be successful in reaching our desired outcome.
And there are so many places to seek out advice, especially on the internet. The world is your advice oyster — dozens of pearls for the taking. All you have to do is open your favorite oyster — er — forum; Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Medium, whatever it may be, and ask your one question. Ask for advice.
And then wait. Because answers are coming. Advice is on its way.
You sometimes fool yourself into thinking that getting multiple perspectives will help you make the best decision.
If you get 7 responses, you’re bound to find the right one to apply to your exact position — or you can create a solution by combining a few.
But the problem is, their advice is tailored to their situation, not yours.
The advice people give out, without context, is based on what they’ve experienced and what they know about their own experience, which frankly could be vastly different from your own.
They don’t actually know if it will work or if it fits, or if you’ve already tried it, unless they ask.
If you want sound advice, don’t take it from people who don’t ask questions.
A situation requiring any kind of insightful guidance cannot be summed in one sentence. Dialogue must take place between advice-seekers and advice-givers in order to apply a solution appropriately.
Without context advice can be misguided or inappropriate, sending you in the wrong direction, which will lessen your desire to continue seeking an appropriate and productive solution.
A few examples of questions that cannot be answered without context:
How do I get my partner to help more around the house?
How do I get my kids to listen to me?
Where can I find more readers/a bigger audience?
Should I go over my boss's head about my raise?
Where do I market my business?
What kind of blog should I start?
How can I make more money?
Should I go back to school?
Should I become a real estate agent?
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Asking for input is a good start, but accepting input without dialogue and context is dangerous for any of these scenarios.
If you’re looking for sound advice, ask your question, but make sure the person offering a response asks you questions too.
Without context, advice is useless. Every situation has unique factors that should be taken into consideration when giving and receiving advice. These individual factors should be uncovered and discussed.
If someone gives you advice without asking questions, they’re likely more interested in imparting their wisdom-pearls on you than actually solving your problem. I mean sure, they probably assume their advice will work, but they haven’t put any effort into finding out if their answer actually applies or if it will send you in the wrong direction.
Sound advice comes through context and conversation. Beware the immediate advice-givers.