How to Give Good Advice

It is said that dispensing advice is easy. What is difficult is getting anyone to listen to it," says Judith Martin, author of Star-Spangled Manners. Review these pointers before piping up:

1. Keep your goal in mind. What do you hope to achieve by intervening? Is it a worthy cause?
2. Be a friend. Although meddling can end a friendship, sharing the good and the bad is all part of the package. If you're close enough to this person that she would expect you to share your opinion unsolicited, and vice versa, you should be safe.
3. Use I statements. "Statements that begin with the word I followed by your feelings are usually better received than statements that begin with you, which can seem like personal attacks," says Jane Hight McMurry.
4. Brainstorm solutions and be available to help hash out the details. Dropping a bomb then ducking for cover is not nice. Be prepared to help with the aftermath if you're asked.
5. Let it go. You can't force anyone to make changes in his or her life. At the very least, the person now knows that should he or she want to make the change, you're available to talk about it.


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